Chester- the piglet with one head and two bodies
One of the stranger things in the museum’s collection is Chester – a mutant piglet that was born with one head and two bodies. For years he was on display in the museum at its former location on East Euclid. Chester was one of the more sensational items in the “Medical Room,” along with the preserved specimens of tonsils, gall stones, and other medical oddities.
These were removed many years ago as was felt that they may be too disturbing to some. However, one request we would constantly hear was, “Where is that mutant pig?” We would explain it was no longer on display. This always met with great disappointment from our visitors.
In the summer of 2019, the MMAF decided to do a new temporary exhibit called “What the Freak?” showcasing some of the strange and weird artifacts in our collections. Chester made a triumphant return and was one of the favorites of the exhibition. It was during this time that we found out the story about Chester from the original donor and his grandson when they came to visit.
Chester was born on a farm near Conway, Kansas during the winter of 1980. He did not survive the birth and the farmer realizing this was an unusual event, thought to donate Chester to the museum. He put the piglet in the trunk of his car intending to make a trip to town but forgot about it for several days. Fortunately, the weather that winter was very cold, which froze Chester and kept him from decaying.
After realizing that he still had Chester in his car, the farmer made a trip into town and donated the piglet to the museum. Chester’s new home was a gallon jar filled with alcohol. Over the years the metal lid of the jar deteriorated and deposited rust turning the liquid to a brown mess. Before Chester could be put back on display he was removed from the jar, rinsed, and reinserted with fresh alcohol and a new plastic lid. Chester now awaits to be put back on permanent display for all to marvel at his uniqueness.
The McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation has an assortment of over 30,000 artifacts in collections. We will be posting some of the more diverse examples for your enjoyment. We hope to see you in the future. Until then, stay safe and well.