EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ
Some readers may find the contents of this page disturbing.
I have here made only a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the thread that ties them together.
—Michel de Montaigne
There are many newspaper reports about putative pig-human hybrids, a broad selection of which appear below. Such reports are of especial interest because the descriptions given in these many separate accounts, by individuals who would be very unlikely to know each other, concur in describing these “piglets” as having human hands and/or human faces, that is, they consistently describe the front-end of these hybrids as being human-like and the rear ends as being pig-like. How would people living at different times in so many different places — South Carolina, New York, Minnesota, Georgia and various other states around the country, as well as various foreign countries — come up with similar descriptions if they had not each seen similar creatures? Here are the reports I have located thus far:
The following is a verbatim transcript of a news story (source) about a pig with an old man’s face, which appeared on the page 2 (col. 6) of the Salt Lake Herald, published in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 31, 1896:
The following is a brief account of a pig born with a human face, which appeared on the page 3 (col. 2) of the Daily Phoenix, published in Columbia, South Carolina, on July 15, 1869 (source):
The following is an account that appeared on the front page (bottom of col. 4) of The Goldsboro Headlight (Goldsboro , North Carolina) on December 24, 1896 (source):
The following is an account of a pig born with human hands, which appeared on the front page of the Democratic Northwest and Henry County News, published in Napoleon, Ohio, on July 4, 1895 (source):
An additional account of a pig born with human hands, which appeared on page 2 column 4, of The Cambria Freeman, published in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, on March 26, 1880 (source):
. volume, , Image 2 The next report describes a creature with human head, arms and hands, but born of a sow. It appeared on page 2, column 2, of the June 8, 1883, issue of the Charlotte Home and Democrat, published in Charlotte, North Carolina (source):
A brief announcement of a piglet born with a human head appeared in the May 27, 1880, issue of Bogen des Neuigkeits Welt-Blatt, a newspaper published in Vienna, Austria:
Another German case appears in the September 8, 1837, issue of Regensburger Zeitung, a newspaper published in Regensburg, Germany:
Next, a notice about a pig with human hands; from page 6 (col. 5) of the April 2, 1915, issue of the South Bend News-Times, a newspaper published in South Bend, Indiana (source)
D. M. Hensley, the well known taxidermist in this city, is busily at work stuffing the little pig which was born on the Gephart farm some days ago, the feet of which resembled the hands of a human being. The pig is a freak and Mr. Hensley will have it on display in a few days. It will no doubt attract attention.
Later that same month, a second pig-human hybrid was reported, on page 6 (col. 6) of the April 23, 1915, issue of The Guthrie Daily Leader, a newspaper published in Guthrie, Oklahoma (source):
South Norwalk, Conn., April 23—A pig with ears, nose and mouth almost human in character, yet otherwise a perfect pig, was born here and is causing a tumult among scientists. The pig was born in the piggery of Albert Kunze, and while a sow usually gives birth to eight or ten pigs, this porcine monstrosity carried out its human resemblance by being born alone.
Next, a brief article appearing on the front page (col. 6) of the San Bernardino News, published in San Bernardino, California, on June 2, 1914, (source):
Next, another brief article appearing on the front page (col. 6) of the Crittenden Record, published in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky, on May 21, 1908, (source):
Sturgis, Ky., May 16th.—Perhaps one of the most peculiar freaks ever known is the human-faced pig now three days old, at the home of J. S. Hancock, on the E. B. Jones farm.
Mrs. Hancock feeds the pig with a spoon as she would feed a baby. The mouth, nose, eyes, forehead and chin are identical with that of a human. It is one of ten pigs having a body as perfect as any of them.
Next, a notice about a pig with one human arm and four human hands; from page 2 (col. 2) of the December 3, 1904, issue of the East Oregonian, a newspaper published in Pendleton, Oregon (source)
A freak is to be seen at the farm of Frank Gagnon, five miles south of town on the reservation. It is a well developed pig, born with a litter of several others, but differing from them in this point: For one leg and foot it has a perfectly formed arm and hand, and on the remaining three legs, instead of feet, are hands. The mother sow refuses to accept her freak offspring, and Mrs. Gagnon is raising it “on the bottle.” She has refused two offers, one of $50 and one of $100 for the animal.—Athena Press.
A brief mention of a pig born with a human hand, from page 4 (col. 3) of the St. Paul Daily Globe, published in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on Nov. 04, 1885 (source):
The next transcript is a newspaper account of a pig born with a human head in Tennessee in 1877. It appeared on page 4 (col. 3) of the Memphis Daily Appeal, published in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 31, 1877 (source) In the nineteenth century the Latin term lusus naturae (meaning “sport of nature”) was often used in reference to surprising freaks and mutations.
To the editors of the Appeal.
FRIENDSHIP, CROCKETT CO., August 28.— Having seen a statement going the rounds of the papers that a pig with a human face was found near Dyersburg on the seventh instant [i.e., Aug. 7, 1877], we propose to make some corrections and give the case alluded to more in detail: Said pig was delivered of a fine young Berkshire sow in this village and county on the fourth instant, and was one of a litter of ten pigs. The sow had been bred to a Jersey red boar previously and, as stated, brought a litter of ten pigs on the fourth instant. The entire litter was beautifully spotted, red and black, exhibiting a genuine cross between the black and Jersey red. The pig in question was the fourth farrowed, and was dead when expelled. It was brought to our office in a few minutes afterward by Mr. Wyatt Lunceford, of this place. It was a perfect, well-developed pig, from its head back. Its head was shaped after that of a rather thin-visaged child, with a perfect, though rather narrow, human face. The nose resembled a human nose, somewhat shrunken from loss of the nasal bones. The right ear was a well-formed hog’s ear, while the left, in rather a rudimentary state, resembled a human ear. The hair on the head was uniformly red, very soft and downy, making quite a contrast with the coarser spotted hair covering the body. The face, including the forehead, which was very high and free from hair, was perfectly smooth and as tender as an infant’s. That portion of the head formed by the frontal and temporal bones was as perfect human in resemblance as could be. The eyes, when the lids were drawn apart, presented a beautiful blue color, with a freshness unusual in a dead infant. Its tongue was wide and thin, just like an infant’s tongue. It had but one tooth, and that was a perfectly formed incisor. This monster pig was put by us in alcohol, and intended to be preserved for future study, but unfortunately it began to decay in a few days, and our best efforts to preserve it were unavailing. It was visited, however, by hundreds of people (and among the number several intelligent physicians), by whom the above facts can be corroborated. If we had not felt confident that we could preserve it, we would have had its photograph taken, which we now exceedingly regret not doing. Respectfully,
The following refers to the same case as that immediately above, but is a different report from a different newspaper. The article, from the front page of the Clarksville Weekly Chronicle, published in Clarksville, Tennessee, on September 1, 1877 (source), was originally from the Dyersburg Gazette.
They had strange doings up at Friendship the other day. Mr. Adams, the blacksmith at that place, has a sow which on the 7th instant dropped a litter of pigs, one of which has a perfect human face and head, the rest of its formation being that of any other pig. It has red hair on its head; its mouth, teeth, and eyes are strangely human, while one ear is that of a hog, the other is that of a little child. This new and strange production is the wonder of the neighborhood. Dr. Duffie, the druggist at Friendship, has preserved it in alcohol and hundreds are flocking to see it daily. We got our information from Capt. Tom Jones and Mr. John McFee, both of whom we have known for years to be truthful and honorable gentlemen. Both of them have seen the pig and we are satisfied that the facts are as stated above.
The following is a report (originally appearing in the Louisville, Kentucky Journal) about a “pig” with human face, from page 4 (col. 1) of the Memphis Public Ledger, published in Memphis, Tennessee, on August 8, 1867 (source):
The next report is from page 4, column 6 of The Hickman Courier, published in Hickman, Kentucky, on November 20, 1885 (source). It was originally published in the Reading Times, Reading, Pennsylvania.
Henry Sclater, of Norristown, has a litter of seven young pigs, one of which is a monstrosity of an unusual type, combining with its porcine construction a portion of the human anatomy. The left forelimb, instead of being a leg, is like the arm of an infant. At the extremity is a hand, containing a thumb and four taper fingers, which are regular in form, even to the nails.
The following transcript is from page 2, column 6 of the May 26, 1881, issue of The Anderson Intelligencer, published in Anderson, South Carolina (source). It was a wire report originally published in the Charlotte Observer.
On the place of a gentleman named McKee in South Point Township, Gaston County [North Carolina], about 15 miles from this city [i.e., Charlotte], is a pig, born like other pigs with the exception that where one of the fore legs ought to be is in place a perfectly shaped human hand with four fingers and a thumb, with well developed nails upon them. There is another exception. On the other fore leg is a toe like those of a human being. The pig is six weeks old. It carries its hand in front and parallel with the body as if in a sling and runs on its three legs much faster, even, than the other pigs with four. The owner of this pig wants $500 for him. A gentleman of this city, Mr. C. S. Mallard, who was at the farm yesterday and examined the monstrosity offered the owner $30 for it but understood from his reply that he couldn’t “touch it with a forty-foot pole.” Dr. J. C. Bauman, a practicing physician of Gaston County, made a scientific examination of it and says the bones and ligaments are those of a perfectly formed hand. It will doubtless prove to be worth all the owner asks for it.—Charlotte Observer, May 15.
The following a brief report about a “pig” with a human head, from page 2 (col. 4) of the Fisherman & Farmer, published in Edenton, North Carolina, on May 29, 1896 (source).
A curious freak of nature can be seen at the farm of R. C. Ansell, living near Blackwater, Va. It being no less than a young pig that is part human. It has a human head, also jaws, nose, eyebrows and feet — there being no eyes at all, and no hair on the body. It is quite a curiosity. Dr. W. K. Wood has it preserved in alcohol.
A case of a similar nature was found during the course of a search of Welsh newspaper archives using Welsh Newspapers Online. The following is a brief article that appeared on page 4 of the August 18, 1860, issue of The Merthyr Telegraph, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales (source).
A short time since Charles Mill, living at Crawley, near Uley, had a pig which brought forth young to the number of ten, several of which were more or less deformed, one in a most extraordinary and wonderful manner. It had the perfect form of a human face (with eyes, nose, mouth, teeth and tongue) which was perfectly upright. There were no hind legs, but two marks where legs ought to have been. There were two fore legs, on each of which were five fingers, and the hand represented a human being. The ears, which were not upright, but were situated along the side of the face, were half pig and half human in appearance. It was born alive. The face and forehead were quite bare of hair, but the hinder part was covered with hair, as of a pig. The circumstance caused much talk in the neighbourhood.
Another case is briefly mentioned on page 2, column 3, of the January 26, 1854, issue of the New Orleans Daily Crescent, a newspaper published in New Orleans, Louisiana (source). The notice says that in a hog undergoing slaughter a worker at a pork packing establishment in that city, “discovered a pig with a correctly developed human face, and its front legs growing out from the sides, with terminations to each resembling the four fingers of a child.”
An Australian case is described in the following notice from page 4, column 4, of the January 29, 1886, issue of The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, a newspaper published in Armidale, New South Wales (source)
Births of this kind are frequently reported to have a structure similar to a short elephant’s trunk, known as a frontal proboscis. Various individuals with frontal proboscises are depicted on the pig-human videos page, and on pages linked to that page.
The following is a report (originally appearing in the Sacramento, California Union) about another such creatures. This transcript was taken from the front page, column 5, of The Jeffersonian, a newspaper published in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on May 11, 1854 (source):
The next report, about a “pig” with a human face, from page 4 (col. 4) of the Warren Sheaf, published in Warren, Minnesota, on May 12, 1892 (source).
A peculiar freak of nature has been discovered at Hubbard. Warren Watkins, a farmer, on going to his pigpen, found a monstrosity in the shape of a newly-born pig. The animal had an almost human face, and was considered one of the greatest curiosities ever seen in that vicinity. The body was naturally formed and differed in no respect from the ordinary pig.
A second report about same birth mentions a proboscis. It appeared on from page 4 (col. 6) of the May 12, 1892, issue of the Courier Democrat, published in Langdon, North Dakota, on (source).
The following is a brief article that appeared on the front page of the Belmont Chronicle, St. Clairsville, Ohio, on July 23, 1891. According to the account, a “piglet” born in Wellsville, a village in eastern Ohio, had human hands and a frontal proboscis, the "elephant trunk" referred to in the story (source).
A dispatch to the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette from Martin’s Ferry, reads: "Wellsville leads in the procession of monstrosities. It has a pig eight inches in length, which has four eyes, feet like the hands of a human, distinct fingernails and large ears. The upper part of its face is like that of an elephant, and the lower part like a human. There is a trunk projecting from the middle of the head, which turns backward and lies between the ears. In the end of the trunk are two large holes through which the freak breathes, there being no holes in the nose."
A photograph of a similar individual appears at the top of the page here.
The following article appeared on page 2 (col. 7) of the Clarksville Weekly Chronicle, Clarksville, Tennessee, on Aug. 22, 1874. According to the account, a “pig with a human face” and a frontal proboscis was on display in a drugstore in Chattanooga, Tennessee (source).
The Chattanooga Times thus describes a monstrosity now on exhibition at a drug store in that city:
The curiosity in question is a pig, with the skin of a human infant, a human face in everything except a trunk with the exact conformation of the elephant’s. The skin is velvety, entirely devoid of hair. The face is a curious mixture of animal and human. The skin is all human, and so are the eyes and forehead; the eyes having well-defined brows. The forehead, chin, cheeks and nose, or trunk, make up a countenance not at all unlike one of Nast’s caricatures of Boss Tweed. The ears, body, legs, feet and tail are pig and nothing else. The trunk projects in the same place as the trunk of an elephant, and beneath it is a mouth so human in expression that it raises a doubt whether it can belong to an infant swine. The pig was born on a farm in the eleventh district and lived fifteen minutes after birth.
Professor Rudolph Mayer, of this town, has a pig whose head and features, with the exception of the ears and snout, are those of a human being. The ears are those of a pig. The snout is neither pig nor human, but is a genuine snout like that of an elephant, hanging from the forehead. The skull is evidently human, having apparently the front and back brain, which no ordinary pig has. The face, eyes and mouth are all alike the human. The pig is about the size of a rat, and , with seven other ordinary pigs was taken from a sow that was slaughtered for pork. It is certainly a curiosity as it is, and would have been a greater one had it been born into actual life. It might have been taught to talk. The hog that goes about with the circus, and plays cards, etc., would have been nowhere beside this human pig. The fortunate owner of the person of this talking pig with human countenance, could have made a fortune exhibiting it, far greater than that of all the Rothschilds' combined. How near he was to fortune and missed it! If he had only waited a few weeks linger, he would now be the possessor of the greatest living curiosity the world has probably ever seen. It costs nothing to see it now. Professor mayer has it in a small jar of alcohol. It is worth seeing.
Next is a news story about a “pig” born with a human head, from page 14 (col. 3) of the Perrysburg Journal, published in Perrysburg, Ohio, on July 30, 1914 (source), another case of frontal proboscis.
Hawkinsville, Ga. — Joseph Fleischman, a merchant of this town, is the owner of one of the greatest freaks of nature ever seen in this part of the south. It is a pig which has a human face in its eye and two noses, one a normal pig’s snout, and the other a diminutive elephant’s trunk, the latter growing from its forehead. It has no hair on its body. Fleischman bought the pig from a farmer living half a mile from here.
Next, a brief article about a “pig” born with a human-like face and a frontal proboscis, from page 2 (col. 4) of the Orangeburg News, published in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on Sept. 19, 1874 (source):
A pig was born recently in Columbus with a half human face and head, perfect chin and mouth, signs of a large tusk on one side of the mouth, and a perfect elephant’s trunk extended from the forehead, with ears similarly shaped to those of an elephant. It will be an interesting fact to psychologists to know that a circus had passed through Columbus some months before this pig was born, and that there was an elephant with it. The maternal sow may have seen the elephant — hence the above monstrosity.
Note: Up until the early twentieth century, it was widely believed, even by many physicians, that the physical form of an infant could be altered by the mother seeing an animal so that the infant, when born, would resemble that animal. For example, in cases quoted elsewhere on this website, physicians describe "human" infants being born with dog’s heads, and attribute the appearance of the infants to the mother’s having been frightened by dogs during the course of pregnancy.
The great majority of reports about pig-human hybrids allege a sow mother. However, in some cases the reported mother is a woman. In such cases, the reported structure of the offspring generally also seems to differ from the usual rule (human foreparts, pig hind parts). Instead, there seems to be a greater tendency for the foreparts to be pig-like and the hind parts, like those of a human.
The following story appeared on page 2 (col. 4) of The Breckenridge News, Cloverport, Kentucky, on December 18, 1878 (Access original):
A Logan County colored woman gave birth to twins, a few days ago, which are half pig and half human.
A second report about the same alleged event was originally printed in the Logan County Enterprise, published in Russellville, Kentucky. It appeared on the front page of the December 18, 1878, issue The Hartford Herald, published in Hartford, Kentucky (Access original):
Another report involving a human mother appeared in many U.S. newspapers in 1868, but the following transcript was taken from page 2, column 3, of the June 27, 1868, issue of The Hickman Courier, a newspaper published in Hickman, Kentucky (source).
A German language report about a pig-human hybrid with atypical structure and human mother appeared on page 7, column 1, of the February 15, 1896, issue of the Austro-Hungarian newspaper Agramer Zeitung (source). In English translation, it reads as follows:
Another case that may refer to a human mother. Here, however, the structure seems typical (human head, pig hind parts). But note that, although a woman was accused, the true parentage of the creature in question was never determined. The following transcript was taken from page 4, column 3, of the February 12, 1884, issue of the Semi-weekly Interior Journal, published in Stanford, Kentucky (source). The story originally appeared in the Richmond Register, another Kentucky newspaper.
There seems to be an increased rate of cyclopean births in distant hybrids, perhaps due to disruptions in the ordinary developmental pathways. A brief article appearing on the front page (col. 6) of the Daily Public Ledger, Maysville, Kentucky, on Nov. 3, 1896. It reports a cyclopean “piglet” with a human head (source):
Another such cyclops is described in the following article from page 6 (col. 4) of the Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, published in Sedalia, Missouri, on April 9, 1889 (source):
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
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On the Origins of New Forms of Life
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