Wolpertingers: Or What The Hell Is That?

Our friendly neighborhood wolpertinger, what consternation you bring! For years, visitors and people who have seen pictures of the dining room have expressed a whole range of emotions; everything from, "What the hell is that?" to "What the hell is that?" It always seems to be the same reaction. And you know what? That's the point! It's a conversation piece akin to when people put their grandmother's old Singer sewing machine in the living room. People always ask...thus - conversation piece.

In the last post which was a partial reveal of the dining room table, the wolpertinger shown prominently in the background.  Lindsay left a comment, it didn't exactly say "What the hell is that?" but I know what she was thinking!
"...I think the chair color is fabulous. Now....how about a post regarding the mounted rabbit?"
So here's the story...
Back in the late '80s when I was stationed in Germany, I and a couple guys from my battalion used to go up into the Bavarian Alps to do some camping.  One night we were camped just below the treeline, and we had a little campfire going.  Off in the distance we could hear this weird animal call, kind of a mix between a duck and a wolf...how do I write that?  AAAOOOOOOOACK!  I dunno, best I could do.  Anyway, there we were, the three of us cooking some MRE chili with beans over an open fire, listing to this AAAAOOOOOACK get closer and closer.  Mind you, we were all soldiers, and as soldiers tend to be, we were well armed, so the fear factor was minimal.  But...and you gotta picture it...we were in the Bavarian Alps...something like this:

Photo courtesy of The Red List

Yeah, that's Frank and Mrs. Frank, but that's not the point.  That scene, those woods, that's pretty much where we were!  AAAAAOOOOOOACK!  Getting closer, but not close enough to worry....just close enough to take notice was all.  So we sat around the fire, drinking Hefe Weizen, eating our beans, and talking about things soldiers talk about...mostly girls I guess.  After some time that AAAAOOOOOACK got louder and closer.  NOW we were a little scared curious.  What do soldiers do when they're in the wild, and something unknown is coming?  Why, we set up a perimeter and lay out our fields of fire of course!  So there we were, (AAAOOOOOACK!) spread out (AAAAOOOOOOACK!) lying in the bushes (AAAAOOOOOACK!) scanning our fields of fire (AAAAOOOOOACK!) when suddenly we could hear rustling in some bushes maybe 30 meters outside the perimeter.  Then silence. 
I laid there under some unknown, itchy, thorn-laden bush for maybe 10 or 15 minutes - nothing!  Suddenly, like a spooked pheasant this creature, yes at that time that was all I could call it, flew most awkwardly straight over me!  It happened so fast I couldn't even draw aim!  It was inside the perimeter.  Now I and my pals were all facing one another, in the dark, squinting and scanning before us, trying to catch any movement in the corner of our eyes.  Nothing.  Ten minutes, then 15, then 30.  Now I could hear rustling near one of our tents, but the moon had hidden behind a bank of clouds. 
AAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOACK!!  That's it!  I couldn't take the stress any longer, so I gave up my position...I turned on my flashlight, and there, not ten feet in front of me stood the most hideous creature I had ever seen.  Surely satan had created this creature from hell for the sole purpose of eating condemned souls, for this winged beast inspired nothing but fear and loathing!  When Dante warned, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," he must have been looking into the eyes of this ghastly apparition!  We stared at each other for an endless moment when, AAAAOOOOOACK! He lept at me flashing his fangs! I instinctively rolled and fired my Colt, curling into the fetal position and awaited my fate.  Just then one of my pals flashed his light and called out that all was clear.  We cautiously approached the beast and when we arrived, our eyes beheld the most evil creation ever to roam the earth!

Photo courtesy of Vovatia

HIDEOUS!  Anyway - the next morning we bagged this, this, this thing, and took him down into the town of Herrieden.  At the local Gasthof, the old proprietor became excited, took the creature from my hand and showed it around to all the guests!  He told us we had bagged the most elusive of all alpine creatures, the Wolpertinger!  He said the wolpertinger was rarely seen or heard, and that he was a devilish mix of hare, duck, deer and sometimes wolf!  Apparently the wolpertinger was the result of mutations that occurred in the dark days of the Black Plague.  As you can well guess, I had the head of this ghastly creature mounted for all to see my mighty works!
Okay, none of that happened. I was based in Germany, we did occasionally go camping, I drank a lot of Hefe Weizen, and spent a lotta time in gasthofs, other than that - it's all a lie!  On one of our trips to Germany, we actually drove the countryside to find a taxidermist who had a wolpertinger.  As I'm sure you realize by now, the wolpertinger is a Bavarian mythological creature.  Fictional Creatures website has a good article on the wolpertinger, but you see my point right?  It's a conversation piece!  Now you know!
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