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Plush Dolls and Anthropomorphic Creations
Stuffe & Nonsense Handmade Plush Dolls and Anthropomorphic Creations
Stuffe & Nonsense Handmade Stuffed Animals
Stuffe & Nonsense Handmade Stuffed Animals

Stuffe & Nonsense Lore: Jackalopes

There seem to be those who question the reality of Jackalopes, but with so much evidence available, who can really remain a doubter?

Personal Jackalope Sighting Testimony: Candace Martinez

I saw my first jackalope in 1953, trying valiantly to see out of the rear seat of a 1952 Hudson Hornet (or maybe Wasp, I forget). I was not very tall and the window was pretty far up, so when the people in front exclaimed at some roadside wonder, by the time I'd hauled myself up to the window, it was long gone. But I did see a jackalope or two, no doubt about it. That was in South Dakota, not all that far from the Wall Drugstore. And you could spot 'em in Wyoming, and Montana. I don't remember any in Utah (I think we all had heatstroke by then), but they showed up again in Nevada.

Since then I've seem 'em in Texas, maybe in Oklahoma (but only the western part), and for sure in Arizona and New Mexico. Hell, one of 'em even runs a chain of curio shops! You can spot Jackalope's in Bernallilo and Santa Fe. And another one was in a group with Carlos Nakai. They play hockey in Odessa, Texas (come to think of it, that's pretty unnatural). They own a record label. There's a jackalope that has a grill in Bend, Oregon, and they're all around the eastern part of California.

Jackalopes in History and Art

Ancient Egypt - Anubis: the Jackalope-headed Guide of the Dead

Judgment scene from the Egyptian "Book of the Dead"

Although normally depicted as a black jackal or a jackal-headed man, the popular Egyptian god Anubis is also sometimes depicted with the head of a black jackalope. Anubis is of course represented as a black animal because he's the guide of the dead, and mummies turn black. Or perhaps because very early on, before Osiris became so important in Egyptian mythology, he was the lord of the fertile "Black Land". Or maybe for some other reason. The symbolic meaning of the jackalope in connection with Anubis is also obscure.

Here is a reproduction of a tomb painting with a jackalope-headed Anubis watching over the weighing of the heart and the judgment of the deceased.

Ancient Assyria - Jackalope-headed Cherub

Assyrian guardian winged bull with jackalope head

From the palace of Sargon at Dur Sharrukin comes this figure of a 20-foot tall winged bull with the fearsome head and horns of a jackalope. These huge figures represented guardian spirits at the gates of palaces and temples. The Babylonians made such sculptures, too, but they reached their height of size and artistic achievement during the neo-Assyrian period in the reigns of Sargon, Sennacherib and Assurbanipal around the 8th century BCE.

James Henry Breasted of the Oriental Institute found this monumental figure in 1929, along with many of the more common human-headed winged bulls. The traditional beard of the guardian spirit emphasizes the stately grace of the jackalope.

Ancient Crete - Jackalope dancers

Cretan bull-jackalope dancers

Many frescoes and other decorations from Minoan Crete represent the strange ritual of young dancers apparently vaulting over bulls. The veneration of the bull in Cretan religion seems to be related to the Greek story of Theseus and the Minotaur, with the simple Greeks representing the huge Minoan palaces as an evil "labyrinth".

This restored fresco from the Palace of Knossos shows the familiar bull vaulting ritual, but here the central animal seems to be a massive buck jackalope rather than a bull. The cause of the collapse of Minoan culture has long been a mystery, with some authorities proposing that over-grazing and other land use problems led to famine and economic collapse of the island. This evidence for the presence of such prodigious and aggressive browsers as jackalopes certainly supports this theory.

Renaissance Europe

Albrecht Durer young jackalope engraving, 1502

Albrecht Durer's well-known engraving of a young jackalope from 1502.

Research in Progress

We are actively researching other possible appearances of jackalopes in art. Some of the questions of current research include

For still more Jackalope Lore, consult The Jackalope Conspiracy