The Jackalope: Myth or Reality
Since the Wyoming Jackalope plays a part in Wide Open Spaces, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the differing opinions on the jackalope. There are so many things that can be said about a jackalope. Some people believe they truly exist, and some people agree that it’s nothing but a myth brought about by a hoax originating in Douglas, Wyoming. One of the first questions you might ask is: What is a jackalope?
One thing my research revealed is that like almost everything concerning a jackalope, this differs depending on who you talk to. Some say that it’s a cross between a breed of killer-rabbit and an antelope, hence the name. Others say that it’s a cross between a killer-rabbit and a now extinct breed of pygmy deer. Even the drawings and pictures you see of a jackalope feed into these two different explanations with some featuring antlers similar to an antelope, and others with varying types of deer horns. With all the information out there, there’s still no clear answer on exactly what mix a jackalope is. One thing that everyone seems to agree on, is that they are dangerous critters!
You might be asking:What hoax are you talking about?Well, back in 1939, there were a couple of brothers in Douglas, one of which was a taxidermist. It’s said, that after a day of hunting, the brothers came home and tossed a jackrabbit on the floor and it slid up to rest against a pair of antlers. Seeing what it looked like, the taxidermist decided to mount it. After seeing the results, they made more and started selling them.
Douglas, Wyoming at one point declared themselves to be the "Jackalope Capital of the World.” They keep the jackalope alive through their annual hosting of “Jackalope Day.” They even sale thousands of jackalope licenses. But be forewarned, to actually qualify for these licenses, you have to have an IQ of less than 72, and the licenses are only good between midnight and 2 a.m. each June 31st.
So, what about those who believe in the jackalope? From what I read, the first person to see a jackalope was John Colter, one of the first white men to enter what would one day be the State of Wyoming. He probably heard it singing and went to investigate. See, the jackalope is said to have an uncanny ability to mimic human voices, and cowboys in the old west claimed that when they were sitting around the campfire, singing, voices from out in the dark would join in. They also enjoy whiskey, so I’m sure the cowboys’ whiskey supplies probably ended up raided by these vicious creatures. Others that believe say that the jackalope is real, but only because of a virus called papillomatosis (or Jackalopism) that causes them to sprout horn like growths on their head.
In 2005, Wyoming legislators named the jackalope, the Mythical Creature of Wyoming. But, the question remains, is that because they are just a myth? Or is it because none of them had ever seen one? What do you think?
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WIDE OPEN SPACES
States of Love - Wyoming
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
Length: 35,659 Words
Length: 35,659 Words
Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.
No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Devon sank down on his couch as exhaustion swamped him. Most of it was from moving in, but the change in elevation didn’t help. He’d gotten used to being closer to sea level, so going back to the dry air at over six thousand feet was going to take some getting used to.
Bloody noses had become the norm while he stayed with Blake. Devon didn’t want to deal with them repeatedly and considered getting a humidifier until he managed to acclimate.
He looked around his living room. Boxes were scattered everywhere, and he should be unpacking, but he was too tired. At least he hadn’t had to carry everything in himself. Blake, Travis, and Seth were waiting for him when he pulled into the apartment complex. They shrugged off his objections and insisted they had nothing better to do. Devon appreciated it, but he wasn’t comfortable around them anymore. He managed to be a proper host, but damn, he was glad they left after a couple beers each. They made noise about getting together again soon, but Devon had used getting settled in as an excuse to keep from committing to anything.
He stood and wandered into his small kitchen. He didn’t bother opening the fridge or any of the cupboards. He knew they were empty. His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten for a while. Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.
An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.
Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?
He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.
He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.
About the Author
Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.
Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.
When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.
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