Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Shadow over Antwerp

The cryptozoological specimen to the right is known as a Jenny Haniver. While it may look like it washed up out of some nightmare, it's actually just a skate-fish (modified through a little creative taxidermy). Hanivers have been traced back to 16th century Antwerp, where sailors would carve up skates into little monstrosities and sell them to visitors from abroad. Some were made to look like tiny dragons and others resembled terrifying aquatic angels. Some were even billed as the preserved bodies of demons. The most common, however, looked like grotesque little people. They were all passed off as genuine creatures; strange fish from the deepest depths of the ocean.

Today, Hanivers are valued for their connection to sailing folklore and for their novelty value. Along with the Jackalope and the Fiji Mermaid, they belong to a proud tradition of creature-making.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this article about Jenny Haniver and other aquatic creatures
-Purchase your very own Jenny Haniver for a mere $75.

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