Going to Loren Coleman’s International Cryptozoology Museum? See my Jenny Haniver
I was very pleased recently to donate something I bought in my travels from a street fair and have had for decades. It’s a “Jenny Haniver”, which is a ray or a skate (both are a type of flat fish) which has been altered to look like a humanoid. My understanding is that they are dried, carved, and coated in varnish.
For many years, I have had it sealed in a box with “DO NOT CRUSH” written boldly on the side.
Well, I wanted to support
which is moving into a new location.
Not only have I been interested in cryptozoology since I was a kid and borrowed Gardner Soule’s The Maybe Monsters from my school library as I described here:
but Loren has been kind and generous in the few interactions we’ve had. We’ve never met, but we have had some correspondence. I started something called “Weird World” and it turned out Loren had previously used that name. He graciously said that I could use it (I wasn’t a known writer at the time), but I did change it to “Bufo’s Weird World” to avoid confusion.
It’s better that other people get to see the Jenny Haniver, and I trusted that the museum would take reasonable care of it.
So, after asking Loren if they wanted it and getting an affirmative, I took it down to my local UPS store to have it sent to the museum at Thompson’s Point in Portland, Maine.
They needed to see what they were shipping (not an unreasonable request), and I had quite a conversation with the clerk. I proudly described it as a “museum specimen”, and explained the origin and destination.
They packed it up securely and it arrived safely.
You can see it in the picture at the top of this post, which I presume was taken by Loren, and he granted me permission to share it with you.
The one which I donated is the upper Jenny, fully lit.
I was pleased with the “neighbors”: a Jackalope, a fur-bearing trout, and a poster for Albert Koch’s Hydrarchos. None of those are really cryptozoology, the way that I would use the term, but that’s an important mission of the museum: to educate the public. That’s not only about cryptozoology, but about the popular culture impact of it.
What is cryptozoology to me?
It requires that there first be reports (which includes local knowledge) of an animal apparently unknown to science, which is then investigated.
For me, the discovery of a previously unreported species (and there are many of those each year) is not cryptozoology…but it has a bearing on it by showing that there are undiscovered species (which you would think would be common sense, but…some people think we already know everything. As far back as 1812, Baron Cuvier thought there were no large animals left to be discovered).
Similarly, “creative taxidermy” has a bearing (fur-bearing, in the case of the trout) 😉 on the topic.
Here’s an enlargement of the picture above:
As you can see, it looks like it has two legs, a tail, and wings. Even though the “face” is clear, the anatomical features are not what they appear to be. I’m impressed with the art of making it, even though I would not want to encourage the production of them.
If you do get to the museum, say, “Hi!” to Jenny for me. 😉
You may not have a specimen to donate, but you may want to support the ICM in other ways. Information is available on their site, and you could set them as your non-profit (the museum is a recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit by the IRS, so donations are generally tax deductible, although you always want to confirm that for your specific situation) at https://smile.amazon.com/ (Amazon is making the donation in that case and gets the write-off). When you do that, Amazon donates half a percent of eligible purchases, at no cost to you.
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When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.