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And then, in 1642, came the birth of the piglet.
I am going to bust out several words that could break your browser. I am going to therefore do the heavy lifting for you, and, for each, send you to a helpful and not-too-frightening site. No spooky popups or ensuing emails. Pinky swear.
- bestiality/zoophilia (lots of art depicted here, lots, lots, NFSW)
- buggery (even though this is Wikipedia, it has an artistic representation of a man buggering a goat, by Paul Avril, so NSFW, unless you have a really interesting workplace, in which case, do tell)
For buggery, that link explains the legal definition and legal history of the term. It has expanded to be a term to refer to sex with non-consenting partners: bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia, rape.
Be glad, my little chickies, that I searched for you. My search engine wears a condom, and I still yelped out loud at the top results for zoophilia. Three porn sites beat out Wikipedia. No, I will not show you where to go. Just that “animal” and “love” were featured in the urls. No, no no no.
What’s so funny in the case of George Spencer is that grown-ass men looked at Spencer, with his ugly mug and missing eye, and then looked at the new piglet, with its ugly mug (I cannot imagine piglets come out first thing sparkly and adorable, it’s not like human babies do, let’s be honest) and missing eye, and thought Spencer was its daddy.
Itt had no haire on the whole body, the skin was very tender, and of a reddish white collour like a childs; the head most straing, itt had butt one eye in the midle of the face, and thatt large and open, like some blemished eye of a man; over the eye, in the bottome of the foreheade which was like a childes, a thing of flesh grew forth and hung downe, itt was hollow, and like the mans instrument of generation. (from the original source, quoted from executedtoday.com)
Read that last part again: it looked like a dick. Poor piggy.
Anyhoo, I know genetics wasn’t explored until the 19th century, but, um, had they ever experienced this before? Buggery has been a problem, enough so that they had a ready-made punishment for it; were there really that many fatherless sheep, pigs, and goats running around, needing a farmyard Big Brothers and Big Sisters program? Use your noggins, y’all.
And what was that punishment? Well, George saw a repentant child molester being horse-whipped; he figured whipping was better than hanging, and confessed to riding the pig and fathering the pig. He was sentenced to death anyway, so he recanted. He went to trial, with the stillborn one-eyed piglet as the required witness to the crime.
Give me a moment to imagine this delicious moment of American jurisprudence. Ahhhhh.
Okay, so Spencer was hung, and the already-dead piglet was re-put to death by the sword. Way to show ’em who’s boss.
So, the first white person to be executed in America 1) died protesting his innocence, and 2) only had his retracted confession and the “words” of a dead piglet as evidence against him.
more information, in the wonderfully titled article In a Pig’s Eye
And then we have the unfortunately named Thomas Hogg, down Connecticut way. Here we go again. For Hogg, we have perhaps my favorite sentence ever written in a Wikipedia article:
his appearance offended his neighbours.
I am a good person, but I took such unbridled, nasty glee in copy-pasting that sentence that I am a little concerned for myself. Maybe some volunteer work is called-for. Yes, that’s it.
In 1647, he was already awaiting trial on charges that included indecent exposure when two piglets were born in New Haven that looked like Hogg. So the sensible, calm action, of course, was taken; Hogg was asked to prove his guilt by stimulating the sow.
Slate magazine: In early America, animals took the blame for zoophilic sex
My master’s degree is showing again, sorry about that. But trust me, this is the fun part of human behavior, and Krafft-Ebing was the trailblazer of the bedroom: Psychopathia Sexualis: The Case Histories chicka chicka boom
Puritan punishments: branding
Love, Sex, and Marriage in Colonial America 1607-1800 * Charles A. Mills
Band names from this episode:
- One-Eyed Jack