Sanju Bhagat's stomach was once so swollen he looked nine months pregnant and could barely breathe.
Living in the city of Nagpur, India, Bhagat said he'd felt self-conscious his whole life about his big belly. But one night in June 1999, his problem erupted into something much larger than cosmetic worry.
An ambulance rushed the 36-year-old farmer to the hospital. Doctors thought he might have a giant tumor, so they decided to operate and remove the source of the bulge in his belly.
"Basically, the tumor was so big that it was pressing on his diaphragm and that's why he was very breathless," said Dr. Ajay Mehta of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. "Because of the sheer size of the tumor, it makes it difficult [to operate]. We anticipated a lot of problems."
Mehta said that he can usually spot a tumor just after he begins an operation. But while operating on Bhagat, Mehta saw something he had never encountered. As he cut deeper into Bhagat's stomach, gallons of fluid spilled out -- and then something extraordinary happened.
"To my surprise and horror, I could shake hands with somebody inside," he said. "It was a bit shocking for me."
Removing the Mutated Body
One doctor recalled that day in the operating room.
"He just put his hand inside and he said there are a lot of bones inside," she said. "First, one limb came out, then another limb came out. Then some part of genitalia, then some part of hair, some limbs, jaws, limbs, hair."
Inside Bhagat's stomach was a strange, half-formed creature that had feet and hands that were very developed. Its fingernails were quite long.
"We were horrified. We were confused and amazed," Mehta said.