Good Schemes Gone Bad
5

What Happens After You Meet The Devil? The Life Of Mary MacLane

Mary MacLane lived the dream, as we say nowadays. At least, in the beginning, she did. In Butte, Montana, where she grew up, she was just a bright girl in high school. She wanted to go to Stanford, but her stepfather spent the money that had been set aside for her education. She made the fields her world and wrote copiously in a notebook. What emerged was a long, piercing self-examination, about her frustrations with her family, as embodied by six toothbrushes ("Never does the pitiable, barren, contemptible, damnable, narrow Nothingness of my life in this house come upon me with so intense a force as when my eyes happen [...]

17

How To Give Birth To A Rabbit

Mary Toft was 23 when she gave birth to her first rabbit. Other rabbits—six, seven, eight of them—followed. It was 1726. Toft lived in Godalming, a small rural town in Surrey; news of the births skipped its way to London, and the king's anatomist was dispatched to investigate. He was unimpressed with Mary, describing her as "of a very stupid and sullen Temper." Nevertheless, after witnessing a rabbit birth himself—the 15th!—he returned to London convinced of the extraordinary, preternatural nature of the births. (And why not, amazing things happen to stupid country people all the time: they're sold magic beans, they haul talking fish out of the water, they give [...]