Mairi Lafferty

“Monstrosities of all stripes were exhibited at fairs and freak shows, if under the respectable cover of pious and didactic rhetoric. (Monstrum, the Latin term, means something put on show.) The town gawped at a verible Gulliver’s parade of limbless midgets, giants, hunger-artists, hermaphrodites, stone-eaters – and, most bizarrely if briefly, Mary Toft, the Godalming peasant who claimed to give birth to litters of Rabbits. Talked up first by a local doctor and then by leading London medical men, Toft went on to display in 1726 in a Leicester Square bagnio, and inevitably became the subject of Hogarth’s satirical eye (illus 18).”

Roy Porter, Bodies politic : disease, death and doctors in Britain. London : Reaktion, 2001.

William Hogarth, Cunicularii, or the Wise Men of Godalming in Consultation. Engraving 1726

“Nothing about her is human except that she is not a wolf; it is as if the fur she thought she wore had melted into her skin and become part of it, although it does not exist.”

Angela Carter, Wolf-Alice, taken form The Bloody Chamber and other stories. London : Vintage, 1995.