So it turns out ‘rogue taxidermy’ is a thing. A rogue taxidermist suspended by his captain, forced to turn in his badge and gun because he refuses to play by the rules? A taxidermist who steals from the rich and stuffs for the poor? A taxidermist who only stuffs from a 90° angle behind their subject?
It’s none of those. Rogue taxidermy is:
…the creation of stuffed animals which do not have real, live counterparts…They may represent impossible hybrids such as the jackalope and the skvader, extinct species, mythical creatures such as dragons, chimeras, griffins, unicorns or mermaids, or may be entirely of the maker’s imagination.
Which still sounds like it might be cool. While in Copenhagen I caught an exhibition of curios at the Black Diamond that included a unicorn ‘skeleton’ and a mermaid that were quite fun, the zoological museum in Copenhagen also has a stuffed griffin I’ve known about for a while, and the Fiji/Feejee mermaid is fairly well known (if a bit weird). And while taxidermy can be a bit creepy they’re not all bad. This summer I visited the Natural History Museum and although many of the specimens are old they’re pretty well done so with this in mind I thought the idea of seeing a ‘real’ creature from myth or legend sounded pretty cool, right?
I want you to click on those links so you can see what I mean, but I also don’t want you to because you may never sleep again. In fairness there’s plenty of by-the-book taxidermy that’s pretty horrendous and even the well done stuff can feel creepy but… yeah. This was not what I expected.