Sing, o terrestrial muse, of the jackalope (Lepus cornutus Leidy 1873). 1 Its existence, while improbable, is not impossible, but it follows that the extinction of such a creature is likewise unprovable, unverifiable, unfalsifiable. When the English first set foot upon the shores of this vast shaggy continent,2 the jackalope roamed in infinitely large herds through the deciduous forests of the East, the bunch grass prairies of the Midwest, the wrinkled edges and scrub deserts of the West. Every February 26th, shortly after the datura seeds had begun to ferment on the bough, the skies would ring out with the clash of bucks wrangling for the right to mate, the cooing that signified that a doe had chosen her partner, and the ecstatic giggling of the couple. So passionate were their comminglings that, despite the small size of the participants, their wrestling and wrangling excited the globe itself into creating geomagnetic anomalies such as the Mima Mounds, earthworks, and as-yet undiscovered tunnels and secret passages that crisscross this continent, like nodes in an electric net, coiling and roiling like a slow-motion lightning along fault lines, pulsing like heartbeats along certain barely-recognized runways across the land.3 These otherwise inexplicable phenomena are the legacy of the cornute lagomorph whose ghosts only, alas, haunt this now sadder land.
One can shoot a bison from a train, but one can kill a jackalope just by building a railroad. Lepus cornutus may be the only species wiped out by the Protestant work ethic. Without someone to admire their antlers, these fine ornaments drop away; without hunters to catch them, skin them, and convince their beloved to wear that skin, the jackalope’s kin grow infertile, impotent, become extinct. Invisible from the windows of the speeding train, the jackalope’s population dropped precipitously shortly after the machine, like some phallologocentric juggernaut, crashed through the garden gates, and not even an infinity of windbags full of purple prose can resurrect them from their common grave.4
The jackalope graveyard, when found, will doubtless make some speculator rich, but that will not make up for our common loss. The earthworks mentioned above, the environment in which the jackalope lived, and the creature itself—in short, wonder, wilderness, and whimsy, the very finest elements of the American mind—are being replaced by empty eyed tract houses, sterile and uninviting to this capricious creature, and where in the stony hearts of skyscrapers could the jackalope find a home? Only in the spaces under mobile homes, perhaps, those inadvertent Reichian orgone collectors, could these creatures find a temporary hiding place—but even those are probably not sufficient.5 This marvelous species, alas, has lost its niche.
Perhaps if the jackalope had not become extinct, we would not be dying of heart disease and cancer. Perhaps we would live with a song in our hearts and a smile on our lips. Perhaps this nation would not be governed by fat men over fifty with faces like canned ham. 6
Still, no one has ever found a jackalope body, and while I have submitted blueprints to the White House for a proposed monument, in the form of an earthwork, to be located on the Central Mall, until the administration sees fit to build it, I have created this placeholder in cyberspace. Perhaps the jackalope is not extinct.7 Let us hope not. Please take a moment to mourn its possible passing.
In celebration of this creature, I have squandered considerable time in creating pages these pages, which I like to think capture its spirit, if not its essence or physicality. Please feel free to peruse the links below, which mostly have nothing whatsoever to do with jackalopes, but which bear the creature's footprints, scent, and scratches from its antlers (perhaps).8
For more disinformation about the life of Hermester Barrington, please visit his user page at The Uncyclopedia!
I am delighted to be able to build representatum of my bookshelves at Powell's: the first a shelf of poetry, the other a shelf of prose.
A letter to Mr. Jack Chick praising him for his Lovecraftian narratives!
Relish the refreshing touch of Raindrops from Genesistrine, my page about Fortean events in popular culture!
Browse the catalog of the Malibu Lake branch of The Invisible Library.
Found Poetry by the Malibu Lake Angel
Footprints of the Satyr: An Appreciation of the Writings of Jim Brandon
My commonplace book
Account of my adventures, disguised as reviews of books and CDs
Divers and sundry links
My answer to the age-old question: "Are Marshmallow Peeps harbingers of doom for the human race?"
The Crystal Egg, or pages dedicated to my favorite hobby, the pursuit of protozoa!
The answer to your question "Why a jackalope? Why a cenotaph?" lies HERE!
Read a sample from my only work graced with an ISBN, Death Trap at La Puente!
My good friend Kurt has done me a great kindness by inviting me to write down my "Suggestions for Restoring Civility to Society In These Days of Excessive Public Cell Phone Use"; I do not know that I would have done so otherwise. Now he has posted those suggestions to his website Stan the Embryo--another indicator that Kurt may well be one of the hippest public servants around! May we all profit by his example.
I have added a link to inform those who are interested in knowing the answer to the question: "What music do you listen to while reading Thomas Burnett Swann's works?"
The reasons I no longer do business with were-candirús, or why I disassociated myself from that bookseller who stole the name of a river. Unless it is to mock him.
Member of the