Pig-faced Women

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

There are echoes of this legend floating around. Wikipedia claims that it’s a dead legend, but this story, with its question put to the wife, is one that I’ve found in books written a lot more recently than the 18th century.

It’s a fairly odd but straightforward little story. During the 17th and 18th centuries stories began floating around Europe regarding the existence of pig-faced women. These were women who were otherwise normal except for the presence of a pig’s head or a pig’s snout. The condition was originally caused by witchcraft, and the way the spell was broken was by asking the woman which she preferred: to be a pig to her husband but no one else, or to be a pig to everyone else but her husband. If this question was asked to her by her husband, then she was freed from the curse.

Oddly, the witchcraft element of the story was slowly removed from the story until there was at least a minor social belief in pig-faced women in Europe; at least one reclusive woman was accused of the curse. Eventually though the story lost traction and fell into obscurity.

(Like so many legends that have gone weird through the years, this is probably satire gone strange without the social context. Just imagine what they’re going to do with Jon Stewart after we’re long gone…)

Pig-faced Women


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