The Skvader Origins

This just in. The Meet Your Monsters Team has just received word of ground breaking revelations. Over the past week, the pentagon has released a declaration which confirms that ALIENS ARE REAL!

Yes people, if you have been living under the corona rock, in this week, the pentagon has released statements claiming three alien sightings to be real. They also have three videos identifying what they claim to be UFOs.  And we’ve been so caught up on corona that no one stopped to be like what the actual frak the government just confirmed aliens. People this is big!

Today was the first day we could go outside. Got coffee from my favourite place almost got sick I drank it so fast.

The Skvader Origins

Once upon a time in the woods far away, lived a lithe little hare. However, unlike the other bunnies who gambles merrily around the forest, this creature had an advantage. Whilst the hares dashed through the flora around them, the Skvader sored effortlessly above. You see, the Skvader is a hybrid creature, comprised of the body of a hare, with the wings and tail of a wood grouse. This little critter is native to the Swedish forest and is said to taunt hunters with its speed and agility.

The first encounter of a Skvader was recanted by one Håkan Dahlmark. Håkan was a naval inspector at Lövudden at the mouth of the Indalsälven. He was also a well renowned and famous hunter. As such, he often regaled tales of his hunting expeditions to any who would listen at the Hotel Knaust in Sundvall.

Over a dinner shared with friends at Hotel Knaust one evening, Håkan began rehashing the wonderous tale of one of his most prized hunting trips. This took place over the winter of 1874, and the animal in question was none other than the Skvader. He quickly delved into the tale of his encounter with the fiendishly fast prey. He recalled how at first, when he had laid eyes on the creature, he thought his vision deceived him.

A hare bird, rabbit falcon, what was this wonderous thing? he had to know. As soon as he had seen the Skvader he took off after it. He chased the hybrid animal as it leapt into the air and dashed like lightening upon the ground.

Eventually, he shot the magnificent creature down and claimed it as his hunting trophy.

And this is where the tale of the Skvader was born. I’m not sure how his friends didn’t hassle him to see it. I would’ve. But I’m sure the hunter had some reason for not having the carcass of such a magnificent kill.

The story of the Skvader was one Håkan held on to for all of his days. As such, his house keeper thought it would be amusing to commission a painting of his fabled beast for his birthday in 1907. She asked her nephew, Friesendahl, to do a rendition of the hare grouse hybrid, and thus the first visual representation of the Skvader was born.

As he neared his final days, shortly before his death in 1912, Håkan bequeathed his beloved painting to the local historical society in Sundsvall. Absolutely taken by the painting, the society’s newly appointed director, Carl Erik Hammarberg, jumped at the idea to bring the creature to life. In 1916, Carl met  renowned taxidermist, Rudolf Granberg, at an exhibition being hosted in Örnsköldsvik.

It wasn’t long until Carl had commissioned Rudolf to create an actual rendition of the Skvader for the society. And soon, the Skvader was finally available for viewing in its actual form.

However, with Håkan being the only witness of this fantastical beastie, it was soon passed over as nothing more than a tall hunting tale.

Or was it?

It would appear that the Skvader, or tales of a similar creature, have been around for a lot longer than we could possibly imagine.

Naturalis Historia is a collection of 37 books covering topics such as physiology, botany, agriculture, pharmacology and most importantly for our story, zoology. This work was produced by a renowned Roman author, Gaius Plinius Secundus. More commonly known as Pliny the Elder, he was a naturalist and natural philosopher.

The Naturalis Historia is one of the largest single works to survive from the Roman Empire to modern day. Just to put this in perspective, the book was first published in 78 AD.

So, why am I carrying on about an ancient encyclopaedia published 1942 years ago? Well, in this collection of works, you will be able to find reference to a creature known as the rabbit-bird. In this rendition, the animal has the head and chest of a rabbit, and the wings, feet and tail of a bird.

Doesn’t that sound strikingly similar to the creature spotted by Håkan in the Swedish forests in 1874? To me it does.

So what does abi think this beastie is?

Look I’m going to level with you. The amount of similar rabbit cryptids are quite astounding. We have the wolpertinger in Germany, which is a winged horned rabbit, and the flightless American counterpart in the form of the Jackalope. But I’m just saying, there’s a lot of bunny hybrid cryptids hopping about in history.

So, for this one I’m going to put by eggs in the good old cryptid basket and swing hard on the cryptid front. Am I saying it’s a literal cross between a hare and a bird? No. but I do definitely think a creature such as this must’ve existed. Where there’s smoke, there’s a fire. Perhaps they were hunted to near extinction in the roman empire and a few still inhabit the woods of Sweden. But let’s look at the semantics of this creature shall we?

In all honesty, the combination of a wood grouse and hare makes no sense. The hare is already faster than most of its natural predators, and the addition the wings would be more cumbersome than helpful. So, why doesn’t it just fly?

The grouse is actually a bit of a clumsy flyer. This bird is best known as a ground feeding heavy set bird that seldom takes flight.

So if the Skvader was a combination of these creatures, it would’ve definitely been easy pickings for hunters, making their extinction easy.

However, I don’t think it was that. Recently, in 1960 to be exact, there was a little animal who was officially declared to be real. This is none other than the Long Eared grey bat, native to Europe. It is considered to be a larger bat, however, nowhere near to the size of a hare. However, I think this little guy is the front runner in terms of likelihood of what the Skvader could be. If you Google pictures of this little critter, you will see its distinct, large ears look very, very similar to a rabbit’s ears.

Since this little guy was only validated in the 60’s, what’s to say it doesn’t have a larger cousin trolling the woods of Sweden? Maybe a long eared grey bat guy hooked up with a pretty little Giant Noctule and the Skvader was born? Who knows! But yes, I do think this cryptid is a bat, not a rabbit-bird.

The Skvader today

This little cryptid may be disputed by many, but it certainly has hopped its way into the hearts of Sundsvall locals. There are even road signs urging you to beware of Skvaders crossing. In 1994, a commemorative statue of the beastie was erected in a park in Sundsvall. Furthermore, the word Skvader has now been adopted as a colloquial name for a bad-compromise. Perhaps that’s tied to the bad cross hybrid between the hare and the grouse?

If you want to take a look at the OG Skvader for yourself, it’s still on permanent display at the museum at Norra Berget in Sundsvall.

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