Secluded in the forests of southern Brazil, the village of Cândido Godói is home to an extraordinarily high number of twins — nearly 1000 percent more per capita than the global average. What's more, atypically for Brazil, many of the twin sets are blond and blue-eyed. While few observers make much of this curious phenomenon, Argentine historian Jorge Camarasaf, author of "Mengele: The Angel of Death," claims it's the result of secret medical experiments by infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who fled to South America after World War II? Is there any truth to the notion? (Watch a National Geographic report about the Brazilian town full of twins)
Sorry, conspiracy theorists, nothing to see here: Sure, the whole thing "sounds pretty freaky," says Harmon Leon at True/Slant. But "according to baptismal records" the surge of twin births started back in 1927, "long before Mengele could meddle his Nazi hands into Brazilian fertility." Plus, the fact that the high twin birth rate continues to this day basically rules out "the Nazi doctor connection."
"Was Nazi doctor behind Brazilian twin baby boom?"
It's as good a theory as any: "No convincing scientific explanation of the phenomenon" exists, says author Jorge Camarasa in an interview with National Geographic. At this point, we are only left to choose between competing "hypotheses," and my Mengele-genetic-manipulation theory "is one of them."
"'Nazi twins' a myth: Mengele not behind Brazil boom?"
Don't forget about the cows: The evidence doesn't seem to support the "master race" explanation, says Ginger Otis in the New York Post. But consider this: In addition to working as a "doctor who gave shots to pregnant women," Mengele sometimes posed as a "vet who treated sick cows." Here's the twist — Cândido Godói's "twin phenomenon" isn't "limited to humans" —"the town's cows also give birth to a high number of fraternal twins." Coincidence?
"Village of the 'cloned'"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Ban PowerPoint!
- Why you should absolutely watch this confounding, wonderful World Series
Subscribe to the Week