Poor Agnes Bowker--a young woman who did not want to admit what had happened to her child--claimed in 1569 that a monster (actually an ordinary feline) had emerged from her womb.
None of the six women present at the birth could say for sure what had happened. Although a silly tale, the case was investigated thoroughly, as the Tudor government had a vested interest in maintaining order. And widespread gossiping about the supernatural was decidedly disorderly.
But what's the truth of them?
We can't completely know.
We do know such stories shed light on how early modern villagers and townspeople understood the world around them, often revealing thinly disguised wrongs, moral tales, and political allegories.
Some simply targeted people different from them, such as the "wonderful old woman" who had "a pair of horns growing upon her head."
Whether anyone actually believed this servant is another question altogether.
But of course, booksellers were looking to make a penny. And that tradition has kept many a tabloid in business.
Some classics are apparently worth keeping.
Just as the seventeenth-century bookseller once warned that a "True and Wonderful serpent (or dragon)" had been lately discovered in Horsam,the National Enquirer duly informs us that the Loch Ness Monster has been found by GoogleEarth!