There is no limit to what people will do for those 15 minutes of fame. From Octomom (Nadya Denise Doud-Suleman Gutierrez) giving birth to a litter of children to Mark David Chapman killing John Lennon just to gain some attention, the prospect of fame, wealth, power can drive some people to do unusual things.
Here’s an example of someone who created quite the scandal in 1700s in the most unusual fashion.
It was late September 1726, as King George I was conducting his affairs when he heard the most peculiar news. A woman in the village of Godalming, near Guildford (modern-day Surrey) was giving birth to rabbits!
The woman in question, Mary Toft, aged 25 had a miscarriage a month earlier, but still appeared to be pregnant. When she went into labor, to her shock and her surprise, she gave birth to something that looked like a liver-less cat. When the town obstetrician, John Howard came over the next day, he was presented with more animal parts which her mother in law, Ann Toft swore they took out of Mary the day before. Over the next month, Howard was called in multiple times to help deliver different sorts of animal parts. In his records, he says she gave birth to a rabbit’s head, the legs of a cat, and, in a single day, nine dead baby rabbits! (WTH!)
Confounded by this medical mystery, Howard contacted England’s greatest doctors and scientists, and eventually the news reached the English Court. Being the curious man that he was, George I sent his surgeon anatomist, Nathaniel St. André and Samuel Molyneux, secretary to the Prince of Wales. They arrived in time to observe the labor of her 15th rabbit and in their presence , Mary gave birth to several more dead rabbits.
By this time, Mary Toft was turning into somewhat of a local celebrity. People were willing to pay good money to see what came out of Mary’s *You Know Where* this time. Songs were sung and poems were composed about Mary Toft birthing bunnies.
The two observers were not able to ascertain whether the whole thing was a hoax or not, so, the King was forced to call to bring Mrs. Toft to London to have her examined by his the finest midwives and doctors.
You’ll never guess what they found. Upon further examination of the ‘rabbits’, they found dung pellets containing hay, corn and straw in the rectum of a few rabbits showing clearly that these rabbits could not have developed inside Mary. When a porter caught a servant trying to sneak a little rabbit into the Mary’s room, Mary was forced to confess (under threat of pain experimental surgery) that she had manually inserted the rabbits into her *you know where* and allowed them to be removed as if she was giving birth to them.
So, why were the doctors blindly willing to believe that Mary Toft was giving birth to rabbits?
During the 1800s, there was a widespread belief in the theory of ‘Mental Impression’ that if a pregnant woman experienced something traumatic, frightening or had a longing desire, it would affect her child. For example, if a pregnant woman was frightened by a loud nose, her baby would be born deaf. This is how most physical as well mental disorders were explained. In her records, Mary Toft spoke of once having been startled by a rabbit in the woods and, how she would dream of eating rabbit before her miscarriage.
The medical profession was made a mockery of for the next few years, and most of the reputations of the doctors that were associated with the case went down the drains. What became of Mary Toft eventually? She was imprisoned for fraud, but not prosecuted. She lived and died in relative obscurity for the remainder of her lifetime.
So what would compel a woman to put rabbits at her *where the sun don’t shine* region?
For someone who lived in poverty and squalor like Mary Toft did, she wouldn’t have a chance in a million years for fame and fortune unless she stuck a few rabbits up her vagina. Monica Lewinsky slept with Bill Clinton and Justin Beiber sings like a girl for the very same reason.
So for now, as the great Bugs Bunny always says, “That’s all folks!”