A set of Canadian quintuplets became world famous after they were born — but fame had a price and took its toll on the girls in a heartbreaking and disturbing way (video below).
The Dionne Quintuplets — Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Emilie and Marie — were born on May 28, 1934 in Corbeil, Canada, says AWM. The babies were unexpected, as the doctor was under the impression that the mother was going to be giving birth to twins.
When the babies were born, there were no other cases in history where five babies were born that all lived. Because of the rare nature of the Dionne case, the parents and their newborn daughters became instantly famous. Elizire Legros and Oliva Dionne were both poor farmers, and decided to try and capitalize on their newfound fame.
The parents decided to showcase their miracle daughters at the Chicago World Fair as a way to make some money, but the idea was quickly shut down by the government. Their custody and visitation rights were taken away, and the girls were placed in the care of the doctor who was there for their births.
During this time, the girls were forced to undergo scientific studies and used as models for advertisements. The doctor became incredibly wealthy because of the quintuplets. Soon, he opened a theme park in conjunction with the government called Quintland — a place where the girls could be seen by 6,000 visitors per day.
Finally, the girls were placed back in the care of their parents after a legal battle ended in 1943. The parents were abusive, and the girls became so fed up that they left at the age of 19. Their unusual life traumatized the girls so badly that they ended up with serious issues such as alcoholism and bipolar disorder.
Emilie died of a seizure when she was only 20 years old, and Marie died of a brain clot in 1970. The only two living sisters are Annette and Cecile.
“This is such a sad story about a government takeover of personal lives, and then made millions of dollars by exploiting them,” one Newsiosity reader commented on the site’s Facebook page.
“I remember reading about these girls some 55 or 60 years ago. It talked about them being put on display for [tourists] and such, living in the hospital. It sounded sad then [and] outrageous now,” another added.
Sources: AWM, Newsiosity/Facebook / Photo credit: AWM America