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Mary Toft
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Oddity
    (circa 1701-January 1763)
    Name sometimes given as Mary Tofts
    Resident of Godalming, England
    Claimed to have given birth to 16 rabbits (1726)
    She was described as having a 'stupid and sullen temper.'
    The rabbit births ceased when obstetrician Sir Richard Manningham had her put under round-the-clock surveillance.
    She was caught trying to bribe a porter to bring her a rabbit.
    She confessed to having hidden rabbit bodies in a pocket in her skirt, inserting them when not being watched and then falling into 'labor.'
    She was arrested for receiving stolen goods (1740).
    She confessed partly because Manningham had threatened to conduct a very thorough - and no doubt painful - operation to examine her reproductive system.
    She successfully fooled King George's anatomist, Nathaniel St. Andre, who offered to secure a royal pension for her.
    She was featured in two engravings by William Hogarth.
    She inspired a number of bawdy songs and poems, including one by Alexander Pope.
    Collections of the poems, especially bound in rabbit skin, were sought-after collectibles.

Credit: C. Fishel


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