werewolf, werewolves and lycans

Jenny Haniver

Have you ever heard of Jenny Haniver? Or more properly, have you ever heard of *a* Jenny Haniver? A Jenny Haniver is one of the earliest known gaffes. It is created by taking the desiccated and varnished body of a ray or a skate (a skate is for all intents and purposes a ray as well; we’re talking about fish here, not rays of light or roller skates or such) and altering it to resemble some mythical creature, sorta like a Feejee Mermaid. (Y’all *do* know what a Feejee Mermaid is, doncha?) Jenny Hanivers date back to at least the mid-1500s and were, in addition to people believing they were real, believed to possess magical powers. Ground-up for use in magic potions and slaves and such. How did these things come to be called “Jenny Hanivers”? The term is believed to be a corruption of the French “jeune fille d’Anvers.” But this last means the “young girl of Antwerp” or some such, and young girls from Antwerp were not, so far as I know, believed even by ignorant and superstitious French folks in the Middle Ages to be fantastical creatures. Thus I have no idea what the proposed connection is all about.

I saw a Jenny Haniver (pictured) for sale at the Oddities Market in Nashville, Tennessee recently. I exclaimed, “Oh, look, a Jenny Haniver.” To which the people with me promptly responded by asking who Jenny Haniver was, and was there more than one of them, since I referred to her as “a” Jenny Haniver. Being a little surprised that they didn’t know what one of these things was, I got to thinking. Perhaps there are others out there in the world that don’t know what they are, either. Hence this article.


The Evil Cheezman • November 1, 2019


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