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  • Victorian Urban Legend: The Egg Ring March 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    Beach has recently been looking at ring stories in his quest for Victorian urban legends. Here is one that sounds simply impossible: though if any poultry experts want to contradict: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    A doctor, residing in Moringa, in Australia, writes to the Revue Sanitaire to solicit the attention of naturalists to the following extraordinary fact, which asks them to account for it if they can (says the Evening Standard). In the month of February last, the doctor relates, his wife was engaged distributing food to the hens and chickens in her farm yard. Whilst so doing, her wedding ring by some means or other slipped from her finger, and in spite of diligent searching made at once for the missing article, could not be found. The marriage ring was, therefore, deemed to be definitively lost, and was replaced by another.

    Guess how this ends.

    But some weeks subsequently, whilst the same lady was seated at her breakfast table with her husband, the lost ring reappeared again under circumstances so astounding that one is half inclined to think the noted German conjuror Professor Herrmann must have had some hand the affair. The matron’s breakfast on the day in question consisted of bread and butter with boiled eggs. She had disposed of her first egg, and was half way through the second, when her spoon encountered something hard firmly attached to the bottom of the egg shell. ‘Imagine our amazement,’ writes the worthy doctor, ‘when, after a little scraping my wife brought up in her spoon the very ring which had been lost about two months previously.’ He adds that the egg containing the ring was of unusual size, and had been laid the day before; and asks any naturalist who reads his recital to kindly explain to him how the ring had remained seven or eight weeks in the hen’s stomach, and, above all, how it had managed to lodge itself in the egg. Here is a problem for the learned in such matters solve; the uninitiated will certainly appear inexplicable, unless, as we remarked before, Professor Herrmann or some of his dexterous colleagues were privy to the phenomenon.

    Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser (1 Nov 1879), 3

    Note the hall of mirrors of sources.

    Ruth in WA, 31 Mar 2017, did some research and got in touch with the British hen welfare trust! Gaynor replied.

    Hello Ruth

    I can 100% tell you that it is impossible for a swallowed object to end up inside the egg.

    Objects that are swallowed pass through the crop/gizzard/intestine and are voided as droppings. Eggs are produced in the ovary and make their way over a 24 hour period to the vent.

    The only place the two systems meet is at the vent – the last inch. The egg at this stage is fully formed.

    What may have happened is that the hen laid a soft shell egg which got mixed up with a foreign object at the point of being voided from the body and an assumption was made that the object came from inside the egg.

    I love urban myths – they make my job very interesting.

    Many thanks


    Brian writes in, 31 Mar 2017, Here’s an account of a dime supposedly found in a chicken egg. Ivan Sanderson, “An Oological Outrage.” Pursuit, Vol. 2, No. 1 (January 1969), p. 15.

    The Weekly World News tabloid dreamed up a couple of stories on the theme of diamonds found in eggs:


    Weekly World News, 2 Feb 1988.

    Woman finds $50,000 diamond inside egg!


    Weekly World News, 1 June [cover date] or 25 May 1993 [inside date].

    Chicken farmer finds $20,000 worth of diamonds inside hens’ eggs!

    Strangely enough, a similar story appeared this month in the British tabloids:

    Daily Express [UK] | 21 March 2017

    Bride-to-be stunned as she bites into hard boiled egg and finds a DIAMOND

    A WOMAN got a shock when she bit into a hard boiled egg and a DIAMOND fell out – which experts say may have been eaten by the chicken.

    Daily Star | 21 March 2017

    Woman stunned after finding SERIOUSLY sparkly surprise in boiled egg

    The Sun | 21 March 2017

    WHAT THE CLUCK? Bride-to-be shocked to find a DIAMOND when she bit into a hard boiled egg – as experts say chicken may have swallowed the jewel

    Daily Mail | 21 March 2017

    What a cracking find! Bride-to-be baffled after biting into a hard boiled egg only ‘for a DIAMOND to fall out’