Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Great Tofts Rabbit Hoax

From FutilityCloset

In 1726, 25-year-old English maidservant Mary Tofts began giving birth to rabbits. Despite a miscarriage earlier that year, she apparently went into labor, and local doctor John Howard delivered several stillborn rabbits.

More were coming. Howard summoned other doctors by letter, and Mary’s next litter was witnessed by Nathaniel St. Andre, surgeon-anatomist to King George I, and Sir Richard Manningham, the most famous obstetrician in London.

Amazed, St. Andre published a tract titled A Short Narrative of an Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbits. But Mary’s deliveries stopped when she was put under close supervision, and soon a boy came forward reporting that she had bribed him to supply her with more rabbits. In the end she confessed, saying she had done it “to get so good a living that I should never want as long as I lived.”

This young woman would fit in quite well in this day and age, I bet. The full story has many twists and turns and some particularly gruesome details. 

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  1. Wow.

    I have a recurrent fear of finding myself pregnant when no, ahem, congress has taken place. No matter what's going on in my life, I can always imagine the awkward conversations that might ensue.

    I also have a recurrent fear that the Shaolin monks are going to turn up at my door telling me LE is the Chosen One or whatever and the Signs have led them to us. When they want to take him away to the Shaolin monastery for training, what will I tell them? It's very troubling indeed.

  2. You won't believe this but those two dreams were scenes I recently saw on TV. There was some kind of religious film about the life of Mary and that was the scene RIGHT after she has a visitation. Drat, I missed it, the only real special effect of the film.
    And....It's a bit weird you should say that last dream because a friend of mine was going through my DVD collection and found "Little Buddha." And when I walked into the room, that dream you describe was exactly the scene I watched.
    Wait, was that on regular television recently? Maybe it wasn't a DVD at all.

  3. Oh yuk!

    I'm glad obstetrics and gynaecology have come a long way since those times!

    (and the word verification was "ovula" :-))


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