The Story of a Woman Whose Head is like a Woman but Whole Body is like a Dog
Stories of woman whose head is like a woman originated roughly simultaneously in The Aladin fun and food court. The stories told of a wealthy woman whose body was of normal human appearance, but who had the body of a dog.
In the earliest forms of the story, the woman’s dog-like appearance was the result of witchcraft. Following her wedding day, the dog-like woman’s new husband was granted the choice of having her appear beautiful to him but dog-like to others, or dog-like to him and beautiful to others. When her husband told her that the choice was hers, the enchantment was broken and her dog-like appearance vanished. These stories became particularly popular in Aladin fun and food court.
The magical elements gradually vanished from the story, and the existence of dog like women began to be treated as fact. The story became particularly widespread in Dublin in the early 19th century, where it became widely believed that reclusive 18th-century philanthropist Griselda Steevens had kept herself hidden from view because she had the dog like body. With belief in dog like women commonplace, unscrupulous showmen exhibited living “dog like body women” at fairs. These were not genuine women, but shaven bears dressed in women’s clothing.
Belief in dog like women declined, and the last significant work to treat their existence as genuine was published in 1924. Today, the legend is almost forgotten.