“May I kill them with a knife?
May I rid these things of life?
They give me nightmares I can’t stand
Please burn it all, Sam I Am”
~Seriously Though, These Are Freaky As Hell
Dr. Seuss is one of those true American heroes who have reputations that are impossible to tarnish. Like, sure, he did some racist political cartoons about the Japanese back in World War II, but we’re usually pretty okay ignoring that. It was war after all, and compared to his peers his cartoons were, um, well almost quaint. Besides, he’s an all-time American, and his books are timeless for a reason. Brimming with whimsy and imagination, every red-blooded Americans who didn’t have a mom or dad that took the whole “alternative parenting” thing too far grew up reading Green Eggs and Ham or One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (fun fact about the latter—he wrote it on a fucking dare. Someone bet he couldn’t write a book using just 50 unique words or less. He used 49).
The point being, Dr. Seuss is a treasure, and nothing he could do would make us say otherwise. You could tell us he lived a second life killing farmhands in rural Nebraska, where he was known as “The Scarecrow Killer” and we’d be like, “Well, let’s just say he had a complicated legacy, but he probably did more good than bad.” So with that in mind, we’re going to talk to you about his “collection of unorthodox taxidermy” which is almost enough to tarnish his reputation. It doesn’t, but it does weird us the fuck out, and we need to talk about it.
We Need to Talk About Dr. Seuss’ Weird Ass Taxidermy Creatures
Agh! What the…it’s looking at us! Sort of! Agh! Okay, before we explain that…um…unsettling walrus guy, let’s set the scene of Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Seuss Geisel, in the 1930s. Before his first published book in 1937 (And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, thanks for asking) he was making his money drawing ads for the likes of General Electric, NBC and, most importantly, Narragansett Brewing Company, while also writing a short-lived comic strip called Hejji in 1935. He was making decent money, more than enough to support his family, but hadn’t yet struck the mainstream success that he was destined to achieve.
At the same time, his father became the superintendent of parks in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, where he oversaw the local zoo. We’re not sure who first had the serial killer impulse of “when the zoo animal dies, maybe Dr. Seuss’ dad should send him the horns, antlers, and beaks that remain” but someone did, and for a time Dr. Seuss lived with a goddamn box of dead animal parts under his bed. And with nothing more than his imagination, clay, papier-mache and, you know, discarded parts of dead animals to make…well… shit like this.
Oh apparently he was given rabbit ears too. Like, real, dead rabbit ears.
And that’s basically all there is to it. But still, we need to talk about this with someone, so it might as well be you. First of all, um, why? Listen, we’re impressed with his…ingenuity and…creativity. We are! They do look like um, like, animals that you’d see in Dr. Seuss’s books, and we’re not here to judge if Dr. Seuss decided to hang these things all around his house. Maybe it motivated him! Though admittedly, his sister once said in a 1937 article that, “[Seuss’ apartment] is so filled with his animals that I am apt to have a nightmare whenever I visit them.” We don’t blame you sis!
Christ, there’s two of them!
So anyway, these were things that existed, which fine. But apparently a few years ago, in 2016, the estate of Dr. Seuss decided to recreate these creatures (the original ones were not exactly durable) and include them in the traveling exhibition “If I Ran the Zoo.” Not only that, they multiple copies to sell to the general public. That’s right! A lot of them have sold out (like that “Kangaroo Bird” up there) while others while the freaky rabbit creature, dubbed “Anthony Drexel Goldfarb” (…k) goes for $3,295 and the “Carbonic Walrus” goes for $2,995. Keep in mind that about 850 versions of each one of these were produced by the estate. So at least that many people paid at least $3,000 for that baby bird with the freaky glowing eyes, designed but not actually made by the late Dr. Seuss. Again, this should tell you how bulletproof Dr. Seuss is in American society. He can make a bunch of stuff like this, and our default reaction is, “What whimsy! What imagination!” and not, “Where are the bodies!? Has anyone checked the floorboards?!”
No. Seriously. Has anyone checked under the floorboards? (pictured- Powerless Puffer, still available at $2,695)
We’re now going to post pictures of every. Damn. One. Of. These. Things. So that you can soak in the madness like we have. So we can have witnesses to our experience here. So we can convince ourselves that we are not in fact hallucinating this whole thing. Strap in. Here is the rest of Dr. Seuss’ cast of nightmares. Also, keep in mind, if you’re reading this article and an item listed as “for sale” is actually sold out that means that it has sold out since we wrote this, God help us.
Andulovian Grackler (Sold Out)
You see, when we first heard about Dr. Seuss’ dead animals parts habit, we gave him the benefit of the doubt that he just stuck with beaks and horns. Like, that’s still a little weird, but not insane. People (cough, white people) who go to Africa always like to come back with like, an antelope horn or something that they hang on the wall so they can say, “Oh yes, well the resort was just three stars, but it was just so eye opening to spend that week in Camps Bay among the people.”
But yeah look at that weird tuft of hair. You know that came from something dead. Did any of these original artifacts have skin? We can’t definitively say no. Anyway, this one sold out, apparently, maybe because you can’t see the terror in its eyes like some of the other ones?
Blue Green Abelard (Sold Out)
Objectively, this one is actually pretty cool. It looks a lot like something you’d see in a Dr. Seuss book, and those horns are pretty badass. Still, it’s worth noting that this is the second entry with closed eyes that sold out. That sort of makes sense. Just scroll back up and look at that Walrus again. Wouldn’t it freak you out, just…having that look at you, hanging in your room? It would freak us out.
Flaming Herring (For Sale, $2,995)
If you’re wondering why this little guy, who looks like he’s straight out of One Fish, Two Fish, is still for sale, let’s just show the close-up picture that the site offers.
Fuck, shit, Christ, kill it, kill it already! Fuck! Aghhh!
Gimlet Fish (For Sale, $2,995)
See, another animal staring at you that has yet to sell out. Especially this guy. He’s giving that look that a creepy guy at the bar gives whenever he overhears two women he doesn’t know talking about something mildly sexual right before he tries to butt in on the conversation. “Oh, bras you say? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, ha ha ha.”
Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian Wolghast (Sold Out)
Well there goes our theory about people only buying the busts with closed eyes. Admittedly, this is one of the better options available. There’s nothing too weird in terms of the taxidermy part (yes, we know that none of these items sold have actual animal parts, they’re all cast resin sculptures) and it’s both understated yet very clearly Seussian. This one we can’t find anything freaky about.
Mulberry Street Unicorn (Sold Out)
THIS ONE WE CAN THOUGH! Jesus! This one sold out? For those of you who are like, “What are they freaking out about, I kind of like it,” just view it like we do. Look at the surprised look on his face. Now look at how the area around the horn definitely looks a little like that horn just popped out, like Wolverine’s claws. Hell, if you look at it the right angle, it looks like this guy just got bored to death through the chin and someone photoshopped the culprit out. This freaks us out so much, onto the next one.
Sawfish (Sold Out)
You know what, this one is actually kind of cool. Respect.
Sea-Going Dilemma Fish (Sold Out)
Wait this is a fish? What the hell? Here’s another thing—we know Dr. Seuss loved his skin folds. Fucking couldn’t get enough of them. That’s his style, we get it, we vibe it, we respect it. But there’s a point where that neck-and-eye-fold thing starts to look horrifying, and it’s roughly at the point that you render them in three dimensions. This, drawn, might be cute (might, it’s still pretty freaky) but as a decapitated imaginary beast hanging on your wall, it’s a bit much.
Turtle-Necked Sea-Turtle (For Sale, $3,695)
This might by the least inventive of the whole set, and it’s not even close. Clearly Seuss got an empty turtle shell and was like, “Cool! What’s a unique and crazy way to use this? Could I use it as a breastplate for a Swagworth Fundlebee? Or it can be an earring on a Persian Womble-beast! Wait, no, I got it, why don’t I Just make it a fucking turtle who’s got a kind of fat neck?” Come on Theodor, you’re better than this.
Tufted Gustard (Sold Out)
What, um…is the deal with that broken circle around this? This looks like some tribal art you’d find in a racially questionable scene from an Indiana Jones movie, not a Dr. Seuss head in a state of dismemberment. Listen, we’re just as amazed as you that the second thing is the better option of the two here, but what are you gonna do? Anyway, yeah, a lot of people wanted this we guess?
Two Horned Drouberhannis (Sold Out)
This one is fine. It’s kind of cute actually. We’re not mad it sold out. Next one.
Semi-Normal Green-Lidded Fawn (Sold Out)
We like how this one was listed specifically as being “semi-normal.” Because it is! This literally looks the most like an actual thing you’d see taxidermied and hung up on a wall. Now’s the part where we again really hammer home the fact that, at the heart of every single item here, is the idea that these imaginary creatures were imaginary slaughtered, preserved, and nailed to a slab of wood to hang in a hunter or fisherman’s trophy room. We cannot stress enough how that is not a concept we should normalize. That’s fucking weird. Right? We need you to agree with us on this. It’s fucking weird.
Also, can someone explain to us why on God’s green Earth this thing’s eyelids are two different colors?
Anyway, we can now finally move on to our last guy, which is both freaky, kind of cool, and grossly named…
Sludge Tarpon (For Sale, $2,995)
That is one mean looking motherfucker. You know, when he makes it seem like the point where a horn or whatever pops out is actively distressed, that’s where we get a little weirded out. Anyway, we could go into the actual backstory of this guy, how he was one of seven “Marine Muggs” that was created for a 1937 show held by Standard Oil, but really we want to just get out of here as fast as we can and escape the nightmares that are sure to follow. We now get what Dr. Seuss’ sister was talking about. Imagine going to your brother’s house and seeing all of these hanging on his walls. You’d leave right then and there and never come back. If we were in that position we’d say, “Listen, Theo, we love you, but all family gatherings are going to be hosted at our place from now on.” Avoiding the thought of these magically coming to life to seek revenge is worth the pain of having to host Christmas each year.