Skip

Helen Duncan was the last woman to be convicted of witchcraft in Britain. This was in 1944.
July 5, 2007 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Helen Duncan was the last woman to be convicted of witchcraft in Britain. This was in 1944. British authorities "were alarmed by reports that she had disclosed - allegedly via contacts with the spirit world - the sinking of two British battleships long before they became public." Her descendants still smart from the trial and there is a campaign to pardon Mrs Duncan, who some consider a martyred medium who could regurgitate ectoplasm out of her mouth. More than a decade before her trial legendary psychic researcher Harry Price exposed Mrs Duncan as a fraud in his essay The Cheese-Cloth Worshippers. If you want to judge for yourself you can take a look at the photographs Mr Price took of a séance performed by Mrs Duncan.
posted by Kattullus (75 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Engraved cartoon re Mary Toft, the 'Guildford rabbit breeder' (1726) who deceived many medical men by concealing live rabbits in the vaginal passage.

Wait... what? No I did not just read that. No no no no no.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:27 PM on July 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Stay classy, miss lynnster.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:42 PM on July 5, 2007


Metafilter: concealing live rabbits in the vaginal passage.

There was a professional regurgitator that visited my college back in the day. He swallowed and regurgitated live gold fish, etc. But the big thing he could do was bring back specific things on command, such as swallow an "unsolved" rubicks cube, and spit out a solved one, etc. (unless there was a quick trick that he swapped one out before swallowing, or stomach acid soluable dyes).

Nothing about rabbits in vaginas thou. Hopefully they were declawed? Maybe fresh baby ones?
posted by mrzarquon at 4:45 PM on July 5, 2007


Damn it miss lynnster, how is it that, in all those links, and pages into one of them at that, you grabbed the exact same quote that I was going to remark on?!

Still, your response was probably better than mine which was going to be a less than eloquent:

WTFF?

[What The Fucking Fuck?]

Sometimes you just need that little extra.

posted by quin at 4:49 PM on July 5, 2007


There once was a lady from Toft
Whom so many laddies had boffed
Her elastical cunny
Could swallow a bunny
Like a haybale fits into a loft
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:52 PM on July 5, 2007 [47 favorites]


(unless there was a quick trick that he swapped one out before swallowing, or stomach acid soluable dyes).

Well, it's one of those options or some other slight of hand. I'm pretty sure that his stomach muscles didn't manipulate the cube into a solved position.
posted by Avenger at 4:54 PM on July 5, 2007


Y'know, I looked at all the pictures and didn't notice the caption about Mary Toft. I don't know whether that speaks well or ill of me. Probably ill :)

'vaginalrabbits' tag added
posted by Kattullus at 4:57 PM on July 5, 2007


To risk diverting attention from the extremely important subject of vaginal rabbits, I just came across text of the Witchcraft Act used to prosecute Helen Duncan. It makes for fascinating reading. What I didn't realize was that the law also punished people who "pretend[ed] to exercise or use any kind of Witchcraft, Sorcery, Inchantment, or Conjuration." Now the whole affair makes much more sense.
posted by Kattullus at 5:28 PM on July 5, 2007


I am the very picture of skepticism. I doubt, very vocally, the existence of any kind of supernatural or paranormal manifestations.

That said, I never understood the rectum clenching fear that would cause people to take some poor soul and burn them as a suspected witch. Or, heaven forbid, for pretending to be a witch.

I'm betting it's a 'consorting with the Devil' kind of thing, so I'll drop it because I don't want to derail the thread with a long anti-religious rant on my part.
posted by quin at 5:38 PM on July 5, 2007


I'm betting it's a 'consorting with the Devil' kind of thing, so I'll drop it because I don't want to derail the thread with a long anti-religious rant on my part.

I guess I'm just jaded, but it always seems like people are hanged not for what they do, but for who they're presumed to be. Seems to me that at the time she was tried, there were laws against witchcraft like they allegedly have laws against taking a bath on your front lawn in Florida. With a law against taking a bath on your front lawn, and no compelling reason, if you decide to take a bath on your front lawn and you don't have the social capital to overturn the stupid law, you're not a martyr or a rebel, you're just asking for it.
posted by litfit at 5:55 PM on July 5, 2007


As might be expected from anything involving vaginal rabbits, the Mary Toft case is fascinating stuff. (And for anyone interested in reading about it in the broader context of the emerging science of obstetrics, I shamelessly direct you to my sister's book, Birthing the Nation.)
posted by scody at 6:27 PM on July 5, 2007


Mmmmm... Cooter bunnies...
posted by Samizdata at 6:55 PM on July 5, 2007


I knew a girl named Emma Babbit
Whose twat could conceal a whole rabbit
she would say when asked asked why
she would even first try
"I wanted to be on Dick Cavett"
posted by longsleeves at 7:54 PM on July 5, 2007


In the "many a slip 'twixt the bun and the (labial) lip" department, mr_crash_davis: the lady was named Toft.
posted by rob511 at 8:08 PM on July 5, 2007


In the hopes of securing a pension,
in parts not polite here to mention,
She'd insert objects foreign -
like a cervical warren -
Then expel them with muscular tension.
posted by Abiezer at 8:21 PM on July 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Tho' Duncan, they claimed, was a witch,
Whose sorceries sank many a ketch,
The true binder of spells
Was Miss Toft, in whom dwells
A tame coney, with nary an itch.
posted by rob511 at 8:30 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


There was a sly witch (or deceiver?),
Whose rabbits she said would not leave her:
"They love taxidermy,"
She said, a bit squirmy,
"And can't live without my stuffed beaver."
posted by cortex at 9:01 PM on July 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Yow! Funny cunny bunnies.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:06 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


She turned me into a newt.

(I got better)
posted by Webbster at 9:09 PM on July 5, 2007


Er. MeTa, apparently... fyi.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:10 PM on July 5, 2007


Wow, scody, thanks for your sister's book -- what a random way to find a great reference!

For those of you interested in short stories and vaginal rabbits, may I recommend The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits by Emma Donoghue. Hmm, looking that up on Amazon, I discover that there's a plethora of resources on this subject...
posted by obliquicity at 9:14 PM on July 5, 2007


There was a Brit slag name of Mary,
Whose womb was foredoomed to miscarry,
Caw! Her litter was phony,
Just cheap chunks of coney,
Good thing blokes back then liked it harey.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:24 PM on July 5, 2007


Madam's doctors looked ready to faint,
When they heard her peculiar complaint.
"Fine rabbits!" she said,
as she pushed out one's head,
"But some would consider them quaint."
posted by lemuria at 9:26 PM on July 5, 2007


A virgin quite down on her luck
Fell pregnant without all the muck.
She courted some rabbits,
With perverse, dirty habits:
A trend most were willing to buck.
posted by lemuria at 9:29 PM on July 5, 2007


some nerds stared at their computers
exhausted with first-person shooters
they started out tired
but then grew inspired
to write poems about bunnies and cooters
posted by brain_drain at 9:42 PM on July 5, 2007 [7 favorites]


-asked
posted by longsleeves at 9:48 PM on July 5, 2007


Mary's children's lamenting began,
When they learned they were only half-man.
"This hutch is uncool,
We get teased in school,
We don't want to be part lagomorphan."
posted by lemuria at 10:00 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]




When the libertine's privates fell ill,
To her doctor she confessed a strange thrill:
"It's long been my habit,
To insert a rabbit--
You should see what I do with my gerbil."
posted by fandango_matt at 11:38 PM on July 5, 2007


Am I the only one picturing Carl Kassell from "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me?" right now? Yikes.

[/NPR nerdiness]
posted by mdonley at 12:39 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Higglers not amused:
24 December 1726 Several higglers from Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and other parts, affirm, they have lost above a hundred pounds a man by the detestable Rabbet-breeding Woman; they being under contracts to take of the Warreners, weekly, a certain number, which afterwards came to bad markets, and they could not dispose of them, so that rather than she should escape punishment, they declare they would sue her for damage.
posted by pracowity at 1:09 AM on July 6, 2007


i love this thread so much that i wish to marry it.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:15 AM on July 6, 2007


*sings*

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail!
posted by taz at 1:43 AM on July 6, 2007


Careful Peter, it's slippery there.
posted by dg at 1:54 AM on July 6, 2007


Again? That trick never works.
posted by pracowity at 3:21 AM on July 6, 2007


"Ah, Mary, my dear, I'm beguiled!"
Her lover declared, as he smiled:
"Any man would admit
You've a great pair of tits
But the pubic hare's driving me wild!"
posted by Wolfdog at 3:45 AM on July 6, 2007 [11 favorites]


A woman whose surname was Toft,
Felt too many of her lovers were soft,
She developed a habit,
Of inserting a rabbit,
Till its wriggling got them aloft.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:33 AM on July 6, 2007


Giving birth to rabbits? Meh. Mary had a little lamb.
posted by No Mutant Enemy at 4:55 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, that's no ordinary rabbit! That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
posted by pyramid termite at 5:27 AM on July 6, 2007


This is either the best or worst mefi thread ever, depending on one's tolerance for puns.
posted by empath at 5:35 AM on July 6, 2007


Has someone been reading the new book by Derren Brown?

He has a section about the wonderful cheesecloth ectoplasm practitioners.
posted by asok at 5:59 AM on July 6, 2007


No Mutant Enemy:
When Mary had a little lamb the doctors were surprised, when Old MacDonald had a farm they couldn't believe their eyes.
posted by patricio at 6:11 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I go away... then I come back to find I created a monster! I do apologize to the OP for the derail, but man... the limericks are good!
posted by miss lynnster at 6:55 AM on July 6, 2007


There was a young man called Warren,
With hares all over his sporran,
With a witch he did lay,
For a night and a day,
Like rabbits they humped off and on again.
posted by longbaugh at 7:11 AM on July 6, 2007


There once was a girl in a coven,
Ejected for excessive lovin'—
"We don't mind the sex"
said the crones, with a hex,
"But it seems you've a bun in the oven."
posted by cortex at 7:44 AM on July 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Though many men wanted to jump her,
Inevitably they would dump her
It's a hell of a blow
When you're diving below
To go down and be greeted by Thumper
posted by Wolfdog at 8:44 AM on July 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


A Doctor from Toft from a dark-
ened alleyway heard a strange bark.
A red fox had attached
To Mary's bunniful snatch,
And then fled with a mouthful of snark.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:48 AM on July 6, 2007


It'd be weird if you were going down on her. Lapping away at un lapin... Bunnylingus I think it's called...
posted by longbaugh at 9:17 AM on July 6, 2007


Bunnylingus I think it's called...

A bite of the hare that dogged you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:24 AM on July 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Rabbit stew! That's a sure way to hook 'em in
I hope that you don't mind my lookin' in
The aroma's divine
But I have to opine
That's a rather strange kettle you cook 'em in
posted by Wolfdog at 9:25 AM on July 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


It is said that she never showed fear
As she made all those rabbits appear
But picture her face
When a sizeable brace
Of pheasants emerged from her rear
posted by Wolfdog at 9:38 AM on July 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


During acts that politeness prohibits
Mary's lover did vocal exhibits--
His fetish of choice?
To mimic a voice:
"Be vewwy kwiet, I'm hunting for wabbits!"
posted by fandango_matt at 10:10 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


By the way, for those of you who didn't find it, here is the illustration you are all waxing poetic about...
posted by miss lynnster at 10:31 AM on July 6, 2007


Five dollars is not too much money
To post remarks both profound and funny
I've waited all day
For the chance to say,
"Witch, you better give me my bunny!"
posted by fandango_matt at 10:33 AM on July 6, 2007 [8 favorites]


Aaah! Here's that Mary Toft again, birthing more of her bunny brood. Thanks for this, Kattullus and ms. lynn!
posted by steef at 11:49 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


A new horror movie can keep us

on the edge of our seats, and steep us

in this the tale of woe, of problems down below,

Its the spine-tingling "Night of the Lee-Puss"
posted by Megafly at 12:18 PM on July 6, 2007


"Desperate" star TV's Terri Hatcher
Is currently in talks to match her
Skills to the role
of fur-lining her hole
thus, Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers
posted by Megafly at 12:22 PM on July 6, 2007


The wiccan from Guilford did bet
Every damn golfer she met
That when she splayed in the rough
A bunny'd silflay from her muff
And that her OB was also her vet
posted by Fezboy! at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2007


I also want to say that Elastical Cunny is the name of my new band.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:34 PM on July 6, 2007


There once was a witch named Toft
Whose tampon invention was scoffed
She squirmed, she wiggled
And with a mirth filled giggle
Cried "they're fucking me like rabbits ought"
posted by phoque at 12:35 PM on July 6, 2007


I read a story I thought was a crock,
To others it came as a shock.
It turns it’s true
Wikipedia knew.
So tell me what’s up doc?
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:37 PM on July 6, 2007


Wouldn't you know it... she's inspired poetry before: On the Godalming Rabbits (Anonymous, early to mid-18th century)
posted by miss lynnster at 12:39 PM on July 6, 2007


This is a bit Meta: I read about Mme. Cooter Bunny about a month ago when I picked up a copy of the book "The Museum of Hoaxes".

One of the last chapters in the same book is devoted to Internet Hoaxery, where I noted for the first time a reference to Metafilter in a book, as relating to the infamous Kaycee Nicole incident.
posted by norm at 1:23 PM on July 6, 2007


Samuel Farrow: Tofts was forced to admit on 7 December 1726 that she had manually inserted dead rabbits into her vagina and then allowed them to be removed as if she were giving birth.

215 years before the attack on Pearl Harbor...coincidence? I think not!
posted by taosbat at 2:19 PM on July 6, 2007


Can anyone say desperate cry for attention? Geez.

I'm simultaneously relieved and disturbed to know the rabbits were already dead. Though admittedly it's a moot point. Because either way, all vivid mental images of the details squeek me out to my very core OH PLEASE DEAR GOD MAKE THEM STOP! [claws at eyes / screams]
posted by miss lynnster at 2:38 PM on July 6, 2007


Round the county, folks came from miles
To see Ms. Toft's feminine wiles:
Bunnies uttered no cries,
Slipped numbly through her thighs
(But I'm sure they all died with smiles).
posted by misha at 3:54 PM on July 6, 2007


Eh... if you can't beat'em, join'em

There once was a lady from Scotland
Who, in her chamber, perched over her pot and,
Much to her surprise,
From out 'tween her thighs,
A rabbit ran. From there on it only worsened.

(Yes, I know Mary Toft was from Godalming in Surrey)
posted by Kattullus at 4:12 PM on July 6, 2007


Ok, so here's my haiku...

Ignore the doorbell.
Mary is not welcome here.
Bunnies stained the couch.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:32 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


fingers frozen on keyboard.
miss lynnster shows class -
damned sonnet!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:03 PM on July 6, 2007


At the Fête des Amis-Legerdemains,
Some conjured rare bifteck Diane,
Houdini chose toad-in-the-hole,
Mr. Norrell, a bland casserole.
Mme Toft? "Pour moi, bien sûr, du lapin!"
posted by rob511 at 6:07 PM on July 6, 2007


As Seen On Music
posted by cortex at 7:16 PM on July 6, 2007


clouds break for moonlight
heady earth smells sweet by lake
aren't you glad you're here?
posted by longsleeves at 12:50 AM on July 7, 2007


Fezboy FTW with the Watership Down reference.
posted by emelenjr at 9:49 AM on July 7, 2007


Meh. Mary had a little lamb.
Mary had a little lamb
with it she went to sleep
the sheep turned out to be a ram
Mary had a little lamb.
posted by dg at 5:29 PM on July 7, 2007


I wonder if that inspired this Perry Bible Fellowship comic.
posted by grouse at 4:19 AM on July 20, 2007


« Older Cops probing use of forensics lab for personal...   |   Steve Albini speaks Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post