Monday, April 11, 2011

Jackalope, The Legend

I admit that I'm more familiar with myths and legends of other cultures than my own. Though periodically, I come across a snippet of North American folklore that makes me go, hmmmmm, really?

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So it was when I first heard the legend of Jackalope~ a horned rabbit known for its aggressive and prankish behavior. Some legends say that jackalopes are a crossbreed between male jackrabbits and a female antelope. Others claim it's the offspring of a pygmy deer and a killer rabbit.

No matter the origins, the critter is believed to  possess the uncanny ability to mimic human voices. They become more vocal during thunderstorms and only mate during lightning flashes.

The milk of a lactating jackalope is highly sought after for its medicinal aphrodisiac properties. Jackalopes are fast and tricky. Using ventriloquisms the creature throws hunters off its trail by vocalizing human phrases such as "He's over there" or "He went that way."

The best way of trapping a jackalope is with whiskey. Leave a bottle in an area where a jackalope is suspected to inhabit. The animal will drink the whiskey until it's drunk, making it easier to capture.

The first American jackalope was spotted in Douglas, Wyoming in 1829. Other sitings have been reported throughout the American Midwest and Southwest . It is believed that the jackalope may be a cousin to Germany's wolperdinger and Sweden's skvader.

Of course, modern scientists have weighed in on the subject of jackalopes. Their take is that the critter is a jackrabbit infected with the Shope papilloma virus which causes tumors that look like antlers to grow on or near the animal's head. Scientific treatises have documented such observations dating back to 1789.

The more I snoop, the more I wonder. What is the jackalope really?  Fact or fantasy? Check out these websites and decide for yourself.

Shope papilloma virus
Legend of Jackalope
The Jackalope Conspiracy

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Matthew Vanacore said...

Ah, what a great story! You've just turned me into a big fan of the Jackalope, which is insanely cool to pronounce!

Very informative and descriptive piece. Thanks!

And nice blog!

KC Burn said...

Love the Jackalope!

Trisha said...

This is the first time I've ever heard of a jackalope! hehe

Kelly M. Olsen said...

Well, now I'm completely fascinated. I must learn more about the Jackalope...I must have one, me thinks. I like it; I like it a lot. I cracked up laughing when I read how they throw hunters off by saying "He's over there," and "He went that way." You're hilarious, and I'm now a follower. Great blog.

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