From _The Book of Lists 2_ by Irving Wallace, David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace, and Sylvia

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From _The Book of Lists 2_ by Irving Wallace, David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace, and Sylvia Wallace: William Morrow & Co., 1980. Reprinted without permission. p. 260, "11 Unusual Births" 11. THE MOST UNUSUAL BIRTH OF ALL The November 7, 1874, issue of the _American Medical Weekly_ related a bizarre episode which began during the Battle of Raymond in Mississippi on May 12, 1863. According to Dr. T.G. Capers of Vicksburg, a soldier friend of his was hit in the scrotum by a bullet, which carried away his left testicle. The same bullet apparently penetrated the left side of the abdomen of a 17-year-old girl in a nearby house. Two hundred and seventy-eight days later, the young lady gave birth to a healthy 8-lb. boy "to the surprise of herself and the mortification of her parents and friends." Three weeks later Dr. Caper operated on the infant and removed a smashed miniball. He concluded that this was the same ball that had carried away the testicle of his young friend; it had then penetrated the ovary of the young lady and--with some spermatozoa upon it--impregnated her. With this conviction he approached the young man and told him the circumstances; the soldier appeared skeptical at first, but consented to visit the young mother; a friendship ensued which soon ripened into a happy marriage. The couple had three more children, none of whom resembled their father as closely as the first. [end quote] ======================================================================== Jan Harold Brunvand, _The Choking Doberman and Other "New" Urban Legends_ (1984, W.W. Norton), pp. 134-138, discusses this. Brunvand traces the chain backwards: "Dear Abby," November 6, 1982, citing _American Heritage_, December 1971, citing _The American Medical Weekly_, November 7, 1874, which does not contain any such story. Another account cites _The Lancet_ for 1875, which also allegedly gets its information from _The American Medical Weekly_, but Brunvand was unable to find the story in _The Lancet_ for 1875, either. The earliest source Brunvand found was George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle, _Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine_, first published in 1896, pp. 44-45. Gould and Pyle claim they found it in _The Lancet_, which in turn cited _The American Medical Weekly_. Brunvand points out that Gould and Pyle's account states that the young man involved in the alleged incident was "a gallant and noble young friend of the narrator"--a common sign of urban legends. Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721

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