Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: Marc Nocerino Shimmies Down the Rabbit Hole, and Finds It Stuffed

The Cosmicomicon is excited to welcome first time guest blogger Marc Nocerino, a writer, critic, columnist and "avid devotee of the weird and fantastical," who operates a killer blog titled The Random Musings of a Corpse-To-Be.  He also just today unleashed a fantastic review of Joseph S. Pulver's The Orphan Palace at renowned sci-fi/strange tales/horror mothership She Never Slept.
Marc has stormed through the misshapen front door of the speculative lit scene like an escaped loony with his beard on fire.  Look for more of his short fiction to start popping up in various shadowy corners very soon, as well as additional reviews, columns, and interviews published here, at She Never Slept, and across the roiling ether.  He's a talent on the serious creep...


"A Little Rant About Brits, Dead Animals, And The Creepy Bastards Who Stuff Them. The Animals, That Is."
by Marc Nocerino

I spend a *lot* of time on the Internet. Well, let’s call a spade a spade: I spend *far too much* time on the Internet. Every now and again, I find something that I just need to share. And not because I love it, but because misery loves company.

If you have too much time on your hands and want to spend some of it watching just how bizarre the British can be, check out British Pathe’s YouTube Channel. There, you can find ranting Nazis, turn of last century soft-core porn, racist-ass foreign relations, and other generally weird British shit. Oh those kooky limeys!
Hey, I bet this was created by an American
But today we venture into territory that makes my skin crawl and my entrails shudder. Today, my friends, we watch a video from the 1960s titled simply “Crazy Taxidermy Museum.” Truer words may never have been spoken. This scares me in ways that even Lovecraft never dreamed possible. I feel as if my soul was just given a handjob by a hooker wearing sandpaper gloves. If I thought that clawing out my eyeballs would make me un-see that video, I might just give it a try.
Do you, Mr. Whiskers, take Miss Kitty to be your
lawfully wedded dead puppet wife?
How are we holding these cups? We don’t have
opposable thumbs!
You think those stills are creepy??? Watch the video. My brain screamed What The FUCK?!? the first time I watched this clip, and it repeats that query (with the addition of Dear God, WHY???) every time I watch it again; which I must admit I can’t seem to stop doing. I honestly don’t know what it is about those stuffed cats and rabbits that I find so damned amusing. As abhorrent as they are, there is something cute about them too. They scare me, but they also make me want to get all cuddly. As soon as the video starts to play, its like Dr. Doolittle and Ed Gein are partying inside my brainpan.
I wonder what was in Potter’s pipe when he
decided to make this horrific shit?
--Psst, hey! What’d ya get on number 3?
--Fuck off, jack. Eyes on your own chalkboard.
So who stuffed all these dead animals, and why? The guilty party is one Mr. Walter Potter, an English taxidermist who displayed these ghastly dioramas at his personal taxidermy museum in Sussex, England. Potter picked up taxidermy as a hobby after his pet canary died, and although his first attempt didn’t turn out too well he kept at it, in a workshop loft above his father’s stables. He was inspired by the Nursery Rhyme “Who Killed Cock Robin?” after his sister read it to him. He apparently took it quite literally, and after seven years of work he unveiled this monstrosity, aptly (if not somewhat illiterately) titled: The Dead and Burial of Cock Robin, in 1861.
Fuck me sideways, but that’s some creepy shit!
By 1880, Walter Potter had stuffed so many dead animals and created so many fucking freaky dioramas that he had to build a Museum of Curiosities to hold them all. And this is only the animals he stuffed as a hobby; he was also a professional taxidermist by trade at that point.

Potter died in 1918 when a small army of woodland animals tore him limb from limb in an attempt to liberate the desecrated bodies of their ancestors and relatives … God smote him for his abominations against the gentle creatures of the Earth… The great animal zombie outbreak of ’18 tore across the British countryside and all his creations rose from their scenes and perches to devour his brains…He finally succumbed to illness brought on by a stroke he had suffered a few years before. His museum contained approximately 10,000 animals at the time of his death, all taxidermied by Walter Potter.

I just have to ask… Do you think he really just happened to stumble across 10,000 dead animals over the course of his “hobby”, or was he responsible for an animal Holocaust?

In a perfect world, Potter would have been stuffed and mounted, but alas he was simply buried - although it was in the same graveyard he used as a model for his debut diorama.


1 comment:

  1. I spend too much time on the internet too but that's the joy, you find many awesome things & people!

    That video was indeed creepy. :|