A promo published in the Lebanon Rustic newspaper on this date in 1926 stated that Red Arrow Stores was giving away a free live baby! The ad, from the Red Arrow Club, stated the baby was not an orphan, but that its parents were were unable to properly support it.

The attention-grabbing ad was followed several weeks later by a small article which explained that the baby in question was in fact a live piglet.

Turns out this misleading promo was used often, starting in the early 1900s and well into the 1950s. The live babies given away were not always pigs. The Belvidere Illinois Daily Republican reported a “live baby” giveaway where the baby proved to be a fox terrier puppy — complete with cradle!

This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.

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