Loading Episode...
Demons and Dames - Demons and Dames the Podcast EPISODE 1, 19th November 2019
Mary Toft: Mother of Rabbits
00:00:00 01:06:30

Mary Toft: Mother of Rabbits

“From Guildford comes a strange, but well attested piece of News. That a poor Woman who lives at Godalmin, near that Town, who has an Husband and two Children now living with her was about a Month past, deliver’d by John Howard an eminent surgeon and man-midwife living at Guildford of a creature resembling a rabbit.” - 'British Gazeteer', 10th October 1726

Meet Mary Toft, who convinced the Enlightenment medical establishment that she had given birth to rabbits. By doing so, she played to established beliefs in the power of the maternal imagination and monstrous birth - and performed a radical act of protest.

WARNING: This episode contains graphic descriptions that may be distressing to those who emotionally project onto rabbits as a species. As well as those invested in the correct pronunciation of 'Goldaming'.


Bondesen, J. (1997). A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities. I.B. Tauris.

Lynch, J.T. (2008). Deception & Detection in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Todd, D. (1995). Imagining Monsters: Miscreations of the Self in Eighteenth-Century England. University of Chicago Press.