by Marlow Harris
Pacific Galleries had an auction of traditional taxidermy and sideshow items such as a giant skull gaff, which is a man-made object made for a freekshow, meant to imitate a mysterious find from the natural world.
* Note: Washington State ID is required to purchase some of these items, and they must not cross state lines after purchase!
Taxidermy: “Spot”, a two-headed calf which lived for six weeks on a farm in Auburn, WA in the 1930’s:
Gary Syers’ Mystery Wonder Show was auctioned off at Pacific Galleries in Seattle, where the two-headed calf, Goliath’s skull and Peruvian Wolf Boy sat before a mystified crowd.
Sideshow Item from Gary’s collection: Counterfeit Shrunken Head in case, under a glass dome, made from monkey skin.
Rogue Taxidermy from Syers collection: Whimsy the “Great Horned Swamp Ape”, a man-made example using party of different animals to construct a mythical character. Looks like it’s made out of deer butt.
Stuffed giraffe head (uh.. and neck), shoulder mounted speciman “harvested” late 20th century. Who would buy this?
Two-headed racoon sideshow gaff.
“Tasmanian Werewolf” gaff. This piece of rogue taxidermy was likely assembled in the second quarter of the 20th century.
This was so large and impressive in real-life, it kinda makes me sad…
And here’s the poor guy’s feet!
Syers entered the sideshow business in 1996 after years of working as a musician and a cook on a tugboat. His first exhibit was something called “The Strange Thing.”
“It’s what’s known in the business as a ‘question-mark show,’ ” Syers explained. “People have to solve their curiosity, so they will pay a small amount of money to do that.”
For more of the story behind Gary Syer’s Myster Wonder Show see “Sideshow Chapter Closed” by Nicole Brodeur in the Seattle Times.
Couldn’t make the auction? Have a burning desire to own a dried turkey head, punk-rock squirrel, a boar hear under glass or Mummified Magic Mystery Hand Box? Check out Custom Creature Taxidermy.
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