— Old Books —
Les Évangiles des Quenouilles (The Distaff Gospels), a fascinating fifteenth-century collection of more than 250 popular beliefs, constitutes a kind of encyclopedia of late medieval women’s wisdom. The women’s beliefs and experiences are recounted within the narrative frame of traditional gatherings where women meet with their spindles and distaffs to spin. They share advice on such important matters as how to control errant husbands, how to predict the gender of future offspring, how to cure common diseases, and ways to deal with evil spirits, providing a rare look into the intimate lives of medieval peasant women.
Aristotle’s Masterpiece , also known as The Works of Aristotle, the Famous Philosopher, is a sex manual and a midwifery book that was popular in England from the early modern period through to the 19th century. Capitalizing on the Greek philosopher’s reputation as a sex expert in England at the time, Aristotle’s Masterpiece was first published in 1684, and it was written neither by nor about Aristotle. Despite its title, the manual has little to do with Greek philosophy. It is a sex and pregnancy manual, offering male and female anatomical descriptions, as well as information about sexual intercourse, reproduction, and childbirth. There were more editions of the Master-Piece published in the 18th century than any other medical text. It sold well on the black market due to it being banned for being considered distasteful and lewd, until 1961 when it became available legally for the first time.The Byrth of Mankynde (The Birth of Mankind) by Eucharius Rösslin was the most important English language work on midwifery in the 16th century. Offering information on conception, pregnancy, birth, and infant care. It influenced most other literary works of the period bearing on reproduction, childcare and sex.
77. Salt Test (from LES ÉVANGILES DES QUENOUILLES ) : If you wish to know whether a pregnant woman is carrying a girl or a boy, then sprinkle some salt over her head while she is sleeping, so gently that she is unaware of it. Take notice of the name she calls first once she wakes up. If she calls a man’s name then she will give birth to a boy, but if she call’s a girl’s name then she will give birth to a girl.
78. Left Foot or Right Foot (from LES ÉVANGILES DES QUENOUILLES) : When a pregnant lady walks with her right foot first, she is carrying a boy for sure. If she walks with her left foot first, it is a baby girl.
79. Milk in Water (from ARISTOTLE’S MASTER PIECE) :
80. Circle under the Eyes (from ARISTOTLE’S MASTER PIECE) :
81. Rising up from Chair (from ARISTOTLE’S MASTER PIECE) :
82. Color of Woman (from ARISTOTLE’S MASTER PIECE) :
83. Left or Right (ARISTOTLE’S MASTER PIECE #5) :
A recent study has somewhat confirmed the above gender prediction method. Through a sample of 5276 pregnant women that underwent ultrasonography from 1997 to 2007, Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail found that,
97.2% of the male fetuses had a chorionic villi/placenta location on the right side of the uterus whereas, 2.4% had a chorionic villi/placenta location to the left of the uterus. On the other hand 97.5% of female fetuses had a chorionic villi/placenta location to the left of the uterus whereas, 2.7% had their chorionic villi/placenta location to the right side of the uterus.
84. Milk on Glass (from The Byrth of Mankynde) :
In English it is “But if you be desirous to know whether the conception be man or woman: then let a drop or two of her milk be expressed on a smooth glass or a bright knife, or else on the nail of one of her fingers. If the milk flows and spreads widely upon it, by and by then is it a woman child: but if the drop continues to stand still upon that which it is milked on, then is it sign of a man child.” (Rösslin E. The Byrth of Mankynde. Book III, cap. iiii. London: T. Raynalde; 1540)