Deep in the Louisiana wetlands, where the nights ooze darkness and dry earth is but a distant dream, nestled in the heart of Sumter National Forest, dwelt the mythical swamp booger. For millennia, no human had ever laid eyes on this fantastic creature, noble and shy, moving like a shadow through the night. But then we found them, and now they no longer grace Sumter National Forest. Now they only grace the walls of callous trophy hunters, seemingly hunted to extinction. "Seemingly" because they never really existed in the first place.
Unlike the unicorn or the griffon, you won't find these monsters in old fairy tales. That's because the swamp booger, also known as an "assquatch," is just another Island Of Dr. Moreau reject birthed by "gaff taxidermy" -- the disturbingly inventive branch of taxidermy. Creatures like the swamp boogers are simply "an outlet for a taxidermist's weird creativity," noted taxidermist Ryan Biracree told Vice. After all, if you don't get into stuffing animal carcasses to look like eldritch abominations come back to pseudo-life for the art of it, then what are you doing with your life?
So if the swamp booger / assquatch isn't made from the hide of some mythical creature, then what is it made from? As it turns out, the most common taxidermist treasure of all: surplus deer ass. Trophy hunters only tend to be interested in hanging up the front end of a deer, with their glorious antlers and dead, judging eyes. This leaves taxidermists with a lot of deer rears to fool around with. So sometimes they stretch the backside out, cut eye holes out of it, and pucker the anus up to serve as a mouth. And if you like things that look like if the Grinch got bitten by a were-skunk, the results are stunning.
Sadly, according to Biracree, making masks out of butts is becoming a dying art form. Today's assquatch makers tend to follow a rote recipe, using stock heads and recycled eyes instead of making the glorious abominations by hand. And that's not right. Assholes are like snowflakes; they should be treated like the unique wonders they are.
Cedric has lots of experience of talking through his butt, which he often does on Twitter.
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