29 JUNE 1956, Page 7

A Spectator's Notebook

THE Sunday Pictorial has the courage of its conviction that if stunts don't drop from heaven they can always be invented. Not in the least daunted by its previous fiasco when stunting 'virgin birth' (readers may remember the salutary hoax carried out by a friend of mine whose bogus letter, claiming that his wife had given birth parthenogenetically, was printed in fac- simile by the Pictorial without a word of inquiry), the Pictorial returned to the subject on Sunday. This time we are promised a genuine, fully authenticated case. The fullest tests, it is claimed, have been conducted by genuine doctors. What sort of tests? My own guess is that the chief one will turn out to be the grafting of skin from the mother's body on to that of the child. My medical friends assure me that this is quite valueless, and I find it hard to imagine any responsible scientific authority In Britain agreeing that successful grafting was proof of parthenogenesis. No doubt this is why the Sunday Pictorial is planning to send the mother and child to America, where 'authorities' are easier to come by. Meanwhile it might be illuminating if the mother in question were allowed to publish a little more about her life during the relevant period.