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Another Chupacabra Sighting? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

chupacowbraReader Mark Hitch sends us the following:

The dreaded Chupacowbra.  I found this specimen along the South Platte River near Sterling, CO.  I think this is the male because of the crest.  The female looked identical, but without the give-away crest.  Now, with this irrefutable evidence, will the scientific community name it after me?  Chupacowbra shamicus hitchii, perhaps.

So, we should have taken a cruise to Colorado instead... jennyhaniverOf course, we did find something a bit odd in Mexico. Is this El Chupacabra? No, this is La Jenny Haniver. Barbara "Kitty" Mervine spotted this in a small shop. The owner did not want to sell it to her, as it wasn't "appropriate for a woman to buy." A bit more money finally convinced the owner that he was making a poor decision. (BTW Kitty.. you got a GREAT deal.)

So what is this thing? A Jenny Haniver is an animal that is cut up or modified to look like another fictious animal. P.T. Barnum had a famous "Feejee Mermaid" that was actually a monkey sewn onto a fish. Other examples include the jackalope, fur-bearing trout, and the mugwump. (Can't find a mugwump of the sort I've seen online. It's the rear end of a deer with eyes on the rump and coyote teeth under the tail.)

This particular Jenny Hanniver is called a "devil fish." It's a skate or ray cut up to resemble a semi-human form, and there are drawings of them from the 15th century.

So no, no chupacabras here. We'll keep looking...

 

 

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written by MadScientist, April 24, 2009
I think it may have been the Maritime Museum in Sydney where I saw quite a few such sea creatures cut up and arranged to look like something else - demons, angels, whatever. Each creature had its own story associated with it. I got the impression that it was just one of those things that sailors did when they were bored. (The museum also had gorgeous silicate baskets formed from the skeletons of some tiny sea creatures.)
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written by Skemono, April 24, 2009
Here's an interesting post that is partly about Japanese versions of these critters: http://www.pinktentacle.com/20...-of-japan/
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Is it vaccillation or vacillation?
written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009

chupacabra or chupacowbra?
fictious or fictitious?
Jenny Haniver or Jenny Hanniver?


Jenny Haniver:
Wiki has this variously as Jenny Hanniver, Jenny Haniver, and Jenny Hanvers, the latter being a transformation of the original "jeune d'Anvers" into a personal name.

"jeune d'Anvers" means "little girl of Antwerp"
(Antwerp being the anglicised form of the French town, Anvers)

BJ
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A better picture of a Jenny Haniver
written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
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written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
...I forgot to add, that Jenny Hanivers are cuttlefish cut up to look like something else.
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written by JeffWagg, April 25, 2009
Not cuttlefish.. skates and other rays.
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Jeff...
written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
...yes I believe you are correct. Apologies.
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written by MadScientist, April 26, 2009
@BJ: Dang, Jeff beat me to it. Skates and rays, not cuttlefish. The pic you posted shows a cartilaginous skeleton (not that I can tell it's cartilage from the pic) while cuttlefish are cephalopods and don't have a cartilaginous skeleton.
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written by bosshog, April 26, 2009
Jenny Hanniver could be the poster child for cosmetic surgery - she looks just like Joan Rivers!
Oh grow up!!
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written by bosshog, April 26, 2009
I and my sister and her boyfriend were sitting in a restaurant in Tecate Mexico on Mexican Independence day 1992, 2-3 sheets to the wind, and I saw the UGLIEST deer's head mounted on the wall directly above our booth. It seemed to be staring down at me malevolently; I couldn't get over how hideous this thing was and my eye kept being drawn back to it. As I was finishing my meal it struck me: it was a billygoat's head with antlers! Ah, memories...
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written by Sus Antigoon, April 26, 2009
written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
(Antwerp being the anglicised form of the French town, Anvers)
I think the good people of Flanders, and probably Belgians in general, might object to you calling one of their cities French. smilies/wink.gif
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Aaaargh!
written by BillyJoe, April 27, 2009
Well, here I was correcting a few errors and I've gone and created a couple of my own. smilies/sad.gif
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written by Arts Myth, April 27, 2009
BillyJoe:

Do you happen to work the corrections desk at The Grauniad?
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written by knitwit, April 27, 2009
Here's the whole entry from Wikipedia: I'm very surprised that I've not heard of this phenomenon before as an anthropologist who once did a paper on "Old World Interpretations of Marine Life" or some such thing.

A Jenny Haniver is the carcass of a ray or a skate which has been modified and subsequently dried, resulting in a grotesque preserved specimen.
One suggestion for the origin of the term was "jeune d'Anvers" (French for Antwerp is Anvers), that is "young girl of Antwerp." British sailors "cockneyed" this description into the personal name "Jenny Hanvers."
For centuries, sailors sat on the Antwerp docks and carved these "mermaids" out of dried cuttlefish. They then preserved them further with a coat of varnish. They supported themselves by selling their artistic creations to working sailors as well as to tourists visiting the docks.
Jenny Hanivers have been created to look like devils, angels and dragons. Some writers have suggested the sea monk may have been a Jenny Haniver.
The earliest known picture of a Jenny Haniver appeared in Konrad Gesner's Historia Animalium vol. IV in 1558. Gesner warned that these were merely disfigured rays, and should not be believed to be miniature dragons or monsters, which was a popular misconception at the time. It is possible that Jenny Hanivers were the source of some tales of dragons during the Middle Ages, and they affirmed people's belief in dragons. Jenny Hanivers may also have started the legends of Mermaids. Poster's Note: The entry states that no sources or references are given.
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written by BillyJoe, April 27, 2009
Did you notice the word "cuttlefish" in that excerpt???
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written by Steel Rat, May 09, 2009
Of course, Wikipedia is extraordinarily accurate...
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