Mary Toft And The Bunny Babies
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Basic Information

In Sept. 1726, a woman named Mary Toft, of Godalming, England, began to give birth to rabbits. All were born dead and were actually rabbit parts rather than whole rabbits. The local surgeon who helped deliver them, John Howard, wrote about the phenomenon to other scientists around the country.

King George I himself sent two savants to investigate: Nathanael St. Andre, the royal surgeon-anatomist, and Samuel Molyneux, secretary to the Prince of Wales. Mary told them that she had recently miscarried, but that during the pregnancy she had intense cravings for rabbit meat and had dreamed of rabbits in her lap. In the presence of these doctors, she gave birth to more rabbits.

On November 29, Mary was brought to London. Eventually her story began to come apart. When a famous London physician, Sir Richard Manningham, threatened to surgically examine her uterus in the name of science, she decided to come clean. She explained that she had simply inserted the dead rabbits inside her womb when no one was looking, hoping for fame and maybe a pension from the king.

She was briefly imprisoned for fraud, but never tried. It was said that about a year later she managed to give birth to a normal human child.

The doctors who were taken in by her hoax were less happy; their careers were ruined.


Game and Story Use

  • Okay, in Mary's case the rabbit babies were a hoax; but what if it wasn't? What could cause a woman to bear such unnatural children?
    • Magic, duh! - specifically a curse of some kind would be probable.
    • Or, in a cinematic technological campaign, exposure to some sort of mutagenic radiation
    • Perhaps the lapine offspring were the result of deliberate genetic engineering.
    • Then there's always divine intervention by a Rabbit God…
    • …or Harvey.
      • A six-foot tall invisible rabbit who impregnates peasant girls? Admit it; you're secretly Alan Moore, aren't you.
        • "Wake up Donnie."
    • For those amused by historical theories of foetal development, there is also the possibility of a really severe case of imprinting.
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