The Cockrel of the Devil!

The only issue was, it wasn’t a human who was on trial, but a cockerel.

Of course, cockerels are male birds, and thus do not lay eggs.


However, this one decided to defy all known genetic laws known in Medieval Europe and lay an egg. This was extremely shocking to the public and thus it was immediately put on trial.

Yes, the ‘cockerel’ had a public defender. The argument essentially was based on the fact that the laying of the egg was involuntary, and that it did not harm anyone in the process.

Unfortunately, the prosecutor had a strong counterargument:


The prosecutor replied that it was not a case of the devil making a compact with brutes, but that Satan actually entered into them on occasion.

But the supposed cockerel was found guilty after an unsuccessful plea. This excerpt from The Chronicles of Basel depicts the tragic event:

In the month of August, in the year 1474, a cock of this city was accused and convicted of the crime of laying eggs, and was condemned to be burnt with one of his eggs in the Kublenberg, or public square, where the ceremony took place in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators.

It was burned alive “for the heinous and unnatural crime of laying an egg.”

It is also said that the executioner cut it open and found three more eggs inside. It’s probably likely that it was actually a hen with a hormonal imbalance, causing her to appear as though she was a cockerel

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