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Online Counter Lock, Stock, and History, Repent for the end is Near! —- Mary Bateman and...
Lock, Stock, and History

Repent for the end is Near! —- Mary Bateman and The Prophet Hen of Leeds, 1806.

In 1806 a hen located in the English city of Leeds began foretelling the end of the world.  Of course the hen didn’t actually say that the end was nigh, but instead began to lay eggs engraved with the inscription “Jesus is coming”.  Alarmed by such foreboding, the people of Leeds were driven to religious frenzy to repent for their sins before the apocalypse came.  Many thousands of other people traveled to Leeds in order to witness the miracle for themselves.  The hens owner was one Miss Mary Bateman who made a living as a con artist, fortuneteller, and seller of medicinal potions.  One day she was caught administering to the bird and the “Prophet Hen” was revealed to be a fraud.  Miss Bateman wrote on the eggs with a type of corrosive ink, which etched the prophetic messages on the eggshells.  She then carefully re-inserted the eggs into the hen.  Voila! A prophetic hen laying doomsday eggs!

After the Hen Prophet hoax Mary Bateman continued her life as a quack and two bit con artist.  In 1809 she murdered a woman with poison in a scheme to steal her money.  She was convicted of the crime and executed by hanging.  Oddly enough her body was put on display for money, the proceeds going to charity.  Odder yet, pieces of her skin were removed and sold as magic charms.  Oddest of all, her skeleton currently resides at the Thackary Museum in Leeds.

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  13. odditiesoflife said: great story!
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