Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: Photographs show a bizarre-looking baby born in Nepal.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Origins: The above-displayed photographs accompanied an article published on eKantipur.com, describing the birth of a bizarre-looking baby on
The neck-less baby with its head almost totally sunk into the upper part of the body and with extraordinarily large eyeballs literally popping out of the eye-sockets, was born to Nir Bahadur Karki and Suntali Karki at the Gaurishnkar Hospital in Charikot.We've cautiously listed this item as "Undetermined" because news items from parts of the world such as Nepal are difficult to independently verify, but even though the appearance of the baby pictured here may strike many of us as freakishly unreal (and indeed, the article was dismissed as a hoax by many because it was published a few days before April Fools' Day), the child's physical appearance is consistent with that observed in documented cases of anencephaly, a birth defect described as:
The bizarre baby, however, died after half an hour of its birth, Suntali, the mother, informed. It was taken to the hospital after its death.
The news about such a baby being brought to the hospital spread like wildfire and there were hundreds gathered at the hospital to have a look. The police had to be deployed to control the crowd.
"We wouldn't have been able to save it, even if it had been brought here alive," said a nurse attending to the mother at the hospital, "This is an extremely abnormal case."
The "baby" weighed 2kg at birth and was born after the normal nine-month gestation period.
A condition in which the embryologic closure of the neural tube never completes, leaving the embryo to develop without the upper portion of its skull. These embryos sometimes continue to develop into the fetal stage and may even survive to be born alive, but with upper cranium and scalp missing and the brain open to the outer world.The web site of the University of Utah Health Sciences Center displays several photographs of similar cases of gross anencephaly:
Last updated: 6 April 2006
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