EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ
The frog answered, "I do not want your clothes, your pearls and precious stones, nor your golden crown, but if you will love me and accept me as a companion and playmate, and let me sit next to you at your table and eat from your golden plate and drink from your cup and sleep in your bed, if you will promise this to me, then I'll dive down and bring your golden ball back to you."
—The Frog Prince,
This page collects reports about creatures that are, supposedly, half human and half anuran, that is, frog-human hybrids and toad-human hybrids. The best known story about a woman loving a frog is the fairy tale about the princess and the frog, which is just that, a fairy tale. But nonfictional accounts, at least accounts that purport to be nonfictional, exist as well.
For example, the following report appeared on page 9, columns 1 and 2, of the April 2, 1887, issue of the German-language newspaper Znaimer Wochenblatt, which was published in Znojmo (Znaim), a town that at the time of the report's publication lay in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but is now what in the Czech Republic:
A Horrific Monster. From Stockerau: Last Saturday in Niederfellabrunn, a 32 year-old unmarried maidservant Franziska H. gave birth to a hideous monster alive. The child was like a human being with respect to its torso, that is, its shoulders, chest and upper abdomen. But the head and the lower belly were those of a large—toad. In addition the hands on its little arms exactly resembled the feet of the animal just named. The mother, who already had one normally developed child, attributed the present monstrosity to an accident that had happened to her the previous summer while she was out picking flowers. She had received a huge shock, she said, when a toad suddenly sprang out at her. The mother was so horrified by this monstrous creature that she at once stamped it to death. The authorities were notified of the case by Dr. Jakob, who stated that the child’s face was not that of a human being, so no charges were brought. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original German.]
The town of Stockerau and the village of Niederfellabrunn lie just north of Vienna across the Danube.
The following is the most detailed report about a supposed amphibian-human hybrid that extensive search has yet revealed. It appeared on the front page, columns 5 and 6, of the June 5, 1886, issue of the St. Paul Daily Globe, a newspaper published in St. Paul, Minnesota (source). This same story appeared in many other newspapers around the U.S. that year.
The following account, which was published in many American newspapers at the time, is taken from page 3, column 1, of the March 4, 1858, issue of the Yorkville Enquirer, a newspaper published in Yorkville, South Carolina (source):
Another frog-human hopped onto page 2, column 7, of the July 8, 1879, issue of The Spirit of Democracy, a newspaper published in Woodsfield, Ohio (source):
Bellefontaine, where this birth supposedly occurred, is a town in Logan County, Ohio.
The following appeared on page 4, column 1, of the October 10, 1893, issue of The Evening Bulletin, a newspaper published in Maysville, Kentucky (source):
The next report is from page 4, column 2, of the May 17, 1902, issue of The Lancaster Ledger, a newspaper published in Lancaster, South Carolina (source):
The following appeared on page 5, column 2, of the January 4, 1903, issue of The Daily Ardmoreite, a newspaper published in Ardmore, Oklahoma (source):
A brief notice about a woman giving birth to a bullfrog appeared in column 1 of page 3 of the May 23, 1893, issue of The Progressive Farmer, a newspaper published in Winston, North Carolina (source):
This allegation of one type of animal, a human being, giving birth to another type of animal, a bullfrog, is reminiscent of other reports, quoted elsewhere on this site, in which animals of one kind supposedly gave birth to progeny of a different kind.
The following appeared on page 2, column 6, of the Feb. 5, 1880, issue of the Home Journal, a newspaper published in Perry, Georgia (source):
And then we have another report about a frog-baby that appeared on page 4, column 1, of the September 21, 1882, issue of the Weekly Expositor, a newspaper published in Brockway Centre, Michigan (source):
Minden, now Minden City, is a village in Sanilac County, Michigan.
The following notice appeared on the front page, column 1, of the March 3, 1868, issue of The Daily Phoenix, a newspaper published in Columbia, South Carolina (source).
And a much briefer notice about a frog-human hybrid exists as well. It appeared on page 3, column 4, of the November 12, 1885, issue of the Western sentinel, a newspaper published in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (source).
One birth produced an individual in which the brains were absent. Known as anencephaly, this condition seems to occur at high rates in distant hybrids. The report in question appeared on page 2, column 4, of the June 9, 1880, issue of the Juniata Sentinel and Republican, a newspaper published in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania (source).
If these strange births actually are anuran-human hybrids, the question remains how a male frog or a toad might introduce its semen into the reproductive tract of a woman. Two possibilities occur: (1) Since both frogs and toads engage in external fertilization, anuran spermatozoa abound in bodies of fresh water at certain times of year. Given such circumstances all that might be required would be for the woman to go for a swim at the right time and place; (2) In a case that supposedly occurred in 1517 in France (see illustration and accompanying information below), the woman that gave birth to the frog-faced baby was running a temperature and a friend advised her to hold a live frog in her hand to help to break her fever. This, apparently, was a folk remedy of the day. She did so and then had sex with her husband. Obviously, the frog might have urinated on her hand, and the urine of male anurans contains sperm cells. So there would have been an opportunity to introduce the frog’s sperm into her reproductive tract while she engaged in the subsequent intercourse. Also, if belief in such a remedy was widespread, it might account for other such froggy births.
An early case. The frog-faced boy depicted at right was first described by Ambroise Paré, personal physician to French kings Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. Paré is remembered as a pioneer of modern surgery, forensic pathology, and battlefield medicine. His account (Paré 1641, pp. 658-659) of this specimen reads as follows:
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
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