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 — 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:
A pig with a human face is in the possession of D. A. Sammis of No. 64 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn. It is one of the most remarkable monsters ever produced by an aberration of nature.
The pig is dead and is preserved in a spirit jar, which enables its strangely human features to be inspected.
The pig’s head differs from a human being’s only in having the long, pointed ears belonging to normal members of its family. This gives it somewhat the appearance of a goblin or other creature of the imagination, with a partly human shape.
The head, apart from the ears, is like that of an old man. It is free from all hair except eyebrows. These are well grown and are a remarkable abnormality in a pig. The forehead is high and the skull is rounded at the top of human shape. It suggests considerable intelligence and a well-balanced character.
The whole face is oval in shape and is similar to that of an old man of dignified appearance. There is rather too little nose for a very good looking man, but still, this member is distinctly human in shape. It is small and snub, and is utterly different from the sharp snout of a the pig
The chin is heavy and well rounded. It is perhaps the most human of all the features. The eyes are much larger than those of an ordinary pig. The skin is as white and smooth as that of a delicate woman. Although it must be called a monster, on account of its strange physical abnormality, the little pig is not repulsive. On the contrary, it is quite amusing in appearance. If it were alive and well, it would be a decidedly interesting animal to have about the house.
How it came to die is a curious story. It was born on May 12 last on a rancho near Arecibo, on the island of Porto Rico, in the West Indies. The mother produced only this one animal at the time, itself a very unusual circumstance.
In spite of its grotesque appearance the little pig seemed to enjoy good physical health. But his mother had no affection for him. She was disgusted and alarmed at his unnatural features. She gave him little nourishment, and in consequence he died on May 18. The fact that he remained alive for six days in a half starved condition shows that he must have entered life with fair health.
The mother is a perfectly black sow and perhaps this fact increased her feeling of repulsion for a young one with human features and a very white skin. — New York Journal
In that same year of 1896, reports of a pig-human hybrid in Selma, Alabama appeared in newspapers both in the United States and Austria-Hungary. Two such reports follow. The first is from the front page (col. 6) of the January 24, 1896 issue of The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, published in Pascagoula, Mississippi (source)
One of the greatest wonders ever seen is now on exhibition in this city [i.e., Selma, Alabama]. A human being with many features of the hog. The freak is 21 years old, and was born near Sand Mountain, this State. The hands and feet are more like a hog’s hoof than human, and he has twenty-one ribs on each side. He has no upper jaw bone, the teeth growing from the roof of his mouth. He is unable to eat, and the old mother who has him in charge chews his food thoroughly, rolls it in small balls and places it in his mouth. He can see and hear, but has no mind what ever. You can only attract his attention by exhibiting some article. The only sound he can make is a grunt. He never nursed his mother and never cried. His only amusement is a small stick about six inches long and two small cobs tied with an ordinary string. These he continually passes from one hand to the other around his body. This kept up even while he is being fed. The mother says that before the birth of the child she was badly frightened by a ground hog. The wonder is that the mother of this wonderful freak of nature has not attached herself to some of the great museums of the country. Such a sight is rarely seen.
Jahresübersicht 1896 15. Februar 1896 A second report about the Selma pig-human hybrid appeared that same year on page 7 (col. 1) of the February 15, issue of the Austro-Hungarian newspaper Agramer Zeitung (source). However, note that in this case, though the creature is from Selma, it is described as four years old, whereas an age of 21 was given in the previous article. In English translation, it reads as follows:
A Natural Wonder. From New Orleans comes the following news: The faculty of the school of medicine there has a natural wonder under investigation that has its equal nowhere on the face of the earth. The investigation has shown that the creature has a human heart, but lungs that are not like those of a human being. Its face has no cheekbones, the mouth, 100 teeth. The knees and ankles are double jointed. The head is fully three times as long as a human being’s. The ears, which are placed far back on the neck, are those of a swine. The feet and hands are solid bone overgrown with skin, from which the hoofs protrude. The structure of the fingers, muscles and tendons was not described. This creature, which is four years old, has never spoken a word and only grunts. He only eats food that his mother has previously chewed for him, but walks upright like a man. The parents of this being are white and from the interior of the United States. If only this wonder were here for us to see, and not in the United States!
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 (Access original):
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 (Access original):
Laura Galloway, a colored woman who resides on Fourth and Dawson streets, in Wilmington, is the owner of a sow with a litter of six pigs. There is nothing singular in that fact, but the extraordinary part of it is that one of the pigs has the perfect ears of a child, has a human hand on the right side, and sits erect like a child. It moves backward all the time instead of forward. It also has a full set of teeth and long tusks like a grown hog. The pig’s face is also partly human and it has to be fed from a bottle.
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 (Access original):
Mr. Albert C. Knipp, who resides five miles south of Napoleon on the farm of the late Peter Knipp, reported the birth of a monstrosity on Saturday, in the shape of a pig, which instead of having natural legs and feet had three appendages which resembled the human arm upon which are three shapes like the human hand. The other leg and foot is natural.
This monstrosity is one of a litter of pigs numbering fifteen, twelve of which are living, and in all respects it is healthy with good prospects of maturing. Mr. Knipp intends to care for it and take all the necessary pains to have it live, and if he is successful will exhibit the curiosity at the Napoleon Fair this fall.
An additional account of a pig born with human hands, which appeared on page 2 (col. 4) of the The Cambria Freeman, published in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, on March 26, 1880 (Access original):
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 brief article appearing on the front page (col. 6) of the Crittenden Record, published in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky, on May 21, 1908 (Access original):
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.
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 (Access original):
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 (Access original) 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 (Access original), 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 (Access original):
The Louisville Journal of the 6th says: At the drug store of G. W. Anderson, corner of Fifteenth and Walnut streets, yesterday afternoon, we saw a most extraordinary monstrosity — shocking, enormous, and horrible. It was a pig with a clearly defined human face. The chin, mouth and eyes are particularly noticeable for their similarity to those of a man, though the nose is not so much so; it turns up very unlike a pig's, and has no nostrils. The animal was therefore necessitated to eat and breathe through the mouth at the same time. This strange creature lived about thirty hours, and during that time cried like a child, made a noise like an ape, and sometimes grunted like a pig. Its body is like a well-shaped pig, and rather larger than those animals generally are at such an age. The owner of the sow, its mother, was afraid of it and gave it to the druggist above named, who had it preserved in alcohol. The curious can see it by calling at the drug store.
The next report is from page 4, column 6 of the The Hickman Courier, published in Hickman, Kentucky, on November 20, 1885 (Access original). 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 next case, which is similar to that immediately above, occurred a few years before in North Carolina. The following transcript is from page 2, column 6 of the May 26, 1881 issue of The Anderson Intelligencer, published in Anderson, South Carolina (Access original). 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 next report, about a “pig” with a human face, from page 4 (col. 4) of the the Warren Sheaf, published in Warren, Minnesota, on May 12, 1892 (Access original).
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.
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 (Access original).
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 The Merthyr Telegraph, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales (Access original).
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.
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 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 (Access original).
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 (Access original).
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.
The next news story, about a “pig” born with a human head and frontal proboscis, appeared on page 3 (col. 1) of the Opelousas Journal, published in Opelousas, Louisiana, on Mar. 13, 1874 (Access original).
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. (Access original), 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 (Access original):
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.
Virtually all reports of pig-human hybrids involve a sow mother. However, in the following brief account the alleged mother is a woman. It 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):
We are informed that a colored woman in this county a few days since gave birth to twins, which were from general appearance half pig and half human—the head, eyes and ears of the little ones were those of a pig, while the remainder was that of a human.—Logan County Enterprise
Finally, 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 (Access original):
Lexington, Ky., Nov. 3. — William McAndrews of this city, came home from Winchester Monday night with a strange freak of nature in the shape of a pig with a human head. It has but one eye, that just above the nose. Otherwise the formation is perfect. The pig is but three days, old, and was one of a litter of eight born in a sty belonging to a colored man in Winchester.
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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