From Mexico, last week, came news of a multiple-birth hoax. (posted by Smerk in the forum
Thirty-two-year-old Karla Vanessa Perez of Coahuila claimed she was pregnant with nonuplets (six girls and three boys) and would give birth on May 20. This was dutifully reported by Mexico's main broadcaster Televisa as well as various newspapers. She gave welfare officials some kind of ultrasound video (not clear where she got that), so her claim wasn't entirely without evidence. But when Mexican newspapers investigated, they quickly learned she wasn't pregnant. Sounds like it was her own mother who outed her. From msnbc.com
: "Her mother, Francisca Castañeda, told El Diario de Coahuila
that Perez has three children, ages 15, 12 and 4 and after the last was born, had an operation to prevent her from getting pregnant again."
Motive is always a bit of a mystery in cases like this, because you have to wonder how the woman thought she could get away with it. Perhaps it was a welfare scam. And she probably had some psychological issues. Again from msnbc.com:
José Salvador Gallegos Mata, a member of the Mexican Society of Gynecology and Urology told the newspaper that someone who would make such false claims "needs to urgently say 'I'm here. Please look at me, I exist.'" He added, "That woman needs urgent psychological treatment."
Here's a quick refresher on some of the other multiple-birth hoaxes that have occurred over the years:
- September 1726: Mary Toft, of Godalming, England, not only claimed she gave birth to 18 rabbits, but actually gave birth to a few of them in the presence of physicians. The hoax unraveled when she was placed under constant supervision, at which point she failed to produce any more rabbits. When Sir Richard Manningham suggested that he should surgically examine her to determine where the rabbits were coming from, she confessed that she had been putting them there herself when no one was looking.
- April 1936: A French newspaper claimed that a woman in the South of France had given birth to sextuplets, and it ran a picture of the proud parents posing with their six new children. London newspapers picked up on the story and ran it as fact. It turned out to be an April Fool's Day hoax inspired by the recent birth of the Dionne Quintuplets in 1934.
- April 1938: American newspapers announced that a woman in San Salvador was giving birth to sextuplets, thereby one-upping the famous Dionne quintuplets. The next day the papers realized they had been taken in by an unknown hoaxer.
- August 1941: The Chicago Herald-American ran a headline announcing "Mother Here Expects 5 or 6 Babies." For six months it continued to promise that this local mother would give birth soon. Its source for this news was a single reporter, Hugh S. Stewart, who staunchly refused to disclose who this very pregnant woman was. As the expected delivery date neared and then passed, Stewart offered various reasons for why she hadn't given birth yet. For instance, he explained that medication had complicated her pregnancy. Finally, Stewart's editors grew impatient, and under pressure he confessed that he had made up the entire story.
- November 1952: Newspapers in Santiago, Chile ran headlines announcing that a local woman had just given birth to septuplets — seven children at once! Soon international papers also picked up on the story. But eventually the news was traced back to a group of students who had dreamed it up as a way of advertising their upcoming spring festival.
- March 2006: A Missouri couple, Sarah and Kris Everson, solicited donations after telling news organizations that Sarah had given birth to sextuplets. They supplied the Associated Press with a photo of Sarah looking very pregnant, as well as sonograms of the kids. But the hoax was discovered after local authorities became suspicious and checked with local hospitals, all of which reported they had no knowledge of the Eversons.