Here’s an old and particularly strange form of taxidermy. These strange creatures are called Jenny Hanivers. While they might look like dried demons or monster jerky, “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 the French phrase jeune d’Anvers (‘young [person] 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 skates. 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.”

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.”

Top image from the Zymoglyphic Museum collection, bottom image and quoted text via Wikipedia.

[via TYWKIWDBI]