In 1883, a man went to see his doctor with a very unusual complaint – he had two belly buttons. The man, whose name was never recorded, was otherwise healthy and of average build. His extra belly button was situated just below his navel, and was about the same size as his regular one.
The man’s doctor was baffled, and had no idea what could have caused the man to grow an extra belly button. He speculated that it might be a birth defect, or perhaps the result of an injury or surgery. The man claimed that he had never had any surgery, and didn’t remember anything unusual happening during his birth.
The doctor was so intrigued by the case that he decided to write a paper about it, which was published in the medical journal The Lancet. In the paper, the doctor speculated that the extra belly button might be a “supernumerary nipple” – a condition that affects about 1 in 18,000 people, where people grow an extra nipple (usually on their chest, but sometimes on their abdomen).
Despite the doctor’s speculation, the man with two belly buttons was never seen again and his true identity remains a mystery. Was he really born with two belly buttons? Did he have a third one somewhere that we don’t know about? Or was the whole thing just a hoax? We may never know for sure.