2 DECEMBER 1955, Page 7

THE Sunday Pictorial is the newspaper for the young in

heart. Or so it is claimed on the front page every week. By its sensationalist approach, one might judge that its directors sometimes think of it rather as the newspaper for the weak in the head. Its latest stunt on the grand scale was to take a sober paper by a lecturer in eugenics on the remote possibility of human parthenogenesis and build it up into a front-page story under the triumphant scream of, 'IT DOESN'T ALWAYS NEED A MAN TO MAKE A BABY.' That was on November 6. On the following Sunday it was announced in a double-page spread that three women had come forward claiming that their daughters had been conceived without benefit of husbands, or any other males for that matter. Next week there was an 'AMAZING LETTER FROM A HUSBAND' which 'vividly reflects the doubts and problems which pepper the great contro- versy on Virgin Births.' This letter, reproduced in facsimile, told the sad tale of a husband who had put his wife from him for getting 'in trouble' while he was in a sanatorium, although she insisted that 'she never had "relations" with nobody while I was away.' Now, thanks to the Pictorial, he repented, and the letter was printed 'in the hope that the missing wife may come forward.' By an amazing coincidence she did. On the following Sunday there was news that 'The man's wife has written to the "Pic" from Brighton to say.: "I am the missing wife. I am so hoping that doctors may now be able to prove my story. My baby and I will then happily go back to my husband."' A touching story : but they were never parted. Husband, wife and infant are all the same person—a regrettably frivolous friend of mine. But his frivolity will have been more than justified if his hoax helps to expose the crude and objectionable way in which the Pictorial plays upon the ignorant and credulous.