In light of both Easter and the upcoming April Fools’ Day, this odd tidbit of history seems especially appropriate.
Mary Toft, or Tofts, was a young woman who claimed that she had given birth to rabbits. She rationalized this by explaining that she and her friends had been startled by a rabbit in a field and chased it. It made Mary obsess over rabbits so much that she miscarried and delivered at least 9 rabbits with the help of her physician. This logic is based on the idea, somewhat prevalent at the time, that a pregnant woman should steer clear of pets because their proximity might physically affect her baby.
Her ruse was so effective that even her physician was played:
But eventually she was discovered and imprisoned for her deception. The physicians who believed her were ridiculed, and the Toft family received no profit from the hoax.