Although the concept of virgin birth (i.e. conception without intercourse) is common in many religions, there is no conclusive evidence of actual human virgin birth in recorded history. Except in one medical article written in 1874 by a Dr Capers.
In this article, Dr Capers describes a case study of a miraculous conception during the Battle of Raymond during the US Civil War. A soldier was shot in the testicles and the musket ball carried the non-musket ball (read: testicle) into the uterus of a girl working in a nearby field. The doctor attended to the girl who was shot and treated the wound in her abdomen. The bullet was not found.
Over the following nine months, the doctor realised the girl was pregnant, although she claimed to be a virgin. After nine months, a healthy boy was born. Stranger yet, the doctor realised the boy’s scrotum was unusually swollen and upon examination, found that he was carrying the musket ball that impregnated the girl in the first place. He thus concluded that the testicle that was carried by the musket ball was lodged inside her uterus and sperm leaked out. The soldier was eventually found and was told about this bizarre story and the two were married.
This case study has become a famous story told by doctors around the world. Unfortunately, it is completely false and the doctor who wrote the article admitted to faking it to amuse himself. Ergo, there are still no recorded cases of a virgin birth in humans.
The closest to a virgin birth that was recorded is a case study of a young woman who was performing oral sex on a man. She was found by her boyfriend during the act and the boyfriend stabbed her and her lover with a knife. The knife injured her oesophagus, causing the sperm in it to track down the abdomen and down to her reproductive organs. By a stroke of luck, an egg was misplaced during ovulation, causing it to drift into the abdomen instead of the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy), and met with the sperm. The egg was then fertilised and the girl presented to the hospital three months later with excruciating abdominal pain. The ectopic fetus was removed.
Among the many gods and goddesses in Greek mythology, there is a trio of goddesses who are personifications of beauty, elegance and grace – Aglaia (brightness and splendour), Thalia (festivity and plentiful) and Euphrosyne (joyfulness). They are daughters of Zeus and Eurynome the nymph and are famous for their pure, graceful looks and representing the beauty in life. Also known as the Charities, they are often depicted in artworks as dancing merrily in a circle or tending to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sex, and her son Eros.
The Graces are known as young, virgin maidens who are often depicted as naked with clear, fair skin. They are beauty in the purest form with the absence of sexual lust (despite the nudity). Although they have no active role in mythologies, it is considered that their presence in any party or festival ensures people will have a joyous and fun time. Much like the Muses, the Three Graces are also connected to the arts, often shown with musical instruments. They are one of the most popular models in paintings and sculptures as they embody the concept of perfect beauty. This is why, like Aphrodite, they tend to be drawn with body proportions matching the Golden Ratio. Interestingly, they are almost always arranged to have two facing forwards with the middle one facing the other way.
(From top-left: Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera, Antonio Canova’s The Three Graces, Raphael’s The Three Graces, Greek sculpture of The Three Graces, Raphael’s Cupid and The Three Graces)
The unicorn is pictured as a white stallion with a single, prominent horn on its forehead. It is still loved and is one of the most well-known mythical creatures. As with any mythical beasts, there are interesting stories related to the unicorn.
The horn is the source of the unicorn’s strength – the infinite fountain of magical power that grants the unicorn unmatched strength and speed. If it meets an enemy it either sprints and disappears, or uses its large weapon to impale even the hardest armour. This makes it extremely hard to capture.
Medieval people believed the horn of the unicorn to be a highly valuable magic ingredient, with extremely potent cleansing properties that could purify even lakes and seas. But as the only way to attain the horn is to capture a unicorn, it was an extremely rare commodity. To catch a unicorn, one must know its most important (yet not well-known in the modern age) trait. Although they are wild beasts with a savage temper, they calm down like lamb in front of one group of people – virgin maidens. If it detects even the faintest scent of a virgin, it rushes towards her and places its head on her lap, soundly falling asleep. Due to this characteristic, it is often portrayed as a symbol of purity and chastity, and also Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. According to notes written by Leonardo Da Vinci himself, hunters used this trick to capture unicorns that would fall asleep on a virgin’s lap (whom they brought with them to aide in the hunt). Even a mighty beast has a weakness that can be exploited.
On a side note, it is also written that if the unicorn senses that the maiden is not a virgin, it would instantly use its large weapon to impale her until death.