Nursery Crimes: 7 Horrifying Reasons You Don't Know Mother Goose


In 1941, the British Society for Nursery Rhyme Reform (yes, you read that right) damned 100 of the 200 most common nursery rhymes of the day, including Humpty Dumpty and Three Blind Mice, for "harboring unsavory elements." The long list of sins included referencing poverty, scorning prayer, and ridiculing the blind. Hardly Michael Meyers. But it also included: 21 cases of death (notably choking, decapitation, hanging, devouring, shriveling, and "squeezing"); 12 cases of torment to animals; and 1 case each of consuming human flesh, body snatching, and "the desire to have one's own limb severed." Move over Hitchcock. Here's kindly old Mother Goose:

"I charge my daughters every one To keep good house while I am gone, You and you and especially you, Or else I'll beat you black and blue."

We tend to think that over-exposing kids to gore and violence is a modern phenomenon, but actually Quentin Tarantino has nothing on Madame Gander. Although do-gooding censors and bowdlerizers have watered down our nursery rhymes over time, and shouldered many others right out of public knowledge, the gruesome originals are still kicking around.

Click through for 7 reasons you don't know Mother Goose!

-By Max Minckler, @maxminckler