|Sheltopusik (Pseudopus apodus) or Scheltopusik, |
the European Legless Lizard or "Glass Snake."
I Love you like a fan girl. There is no explaining it, so I won't try.
|Arabella, zealot of the White Worm.|
illustration from Bram Stoker's
1st ed. Lair of the White Worm.
Image courtesy Wikipedia.
How can you anticipate that when you enter a room full of strange reptiles & arthropods that you will find yourself overcome by a crush that threatens to drive you to plaster pictures of someone -- a legless lizard no less -- on your dressing mirror?
"This lizard inhabits open country such as short grassland or sparsely wooded hills. The scheltopusik consumes arthropods and small mammals. Snails and slugs appear to be its favorite prey, which may explain why it is particularly active in wet weather, although it prefers a dry habitat.
Due to its size, the scheltopusik tends to respond to harassment by hissing, biting, and musking. It is less likely to drop off its tail than some other species that display caudal autotomy. However, these occasional displays of caudal autotomy are responsible for the name "glass lizard" (or "glass snake"). The released tail may break into pieces, leading to the myth that the lizard can shatter like glass and reassemble itself later..." -- Wikipedia
Who needs the rest of the exhibit, the fair, or the world, when I had you?
But perhaps there is more at work than meets the eye.
I suspect Weirdness (or Wyrdness).
|Lair of the White Worm, 1911.|
1st ed. illustration by Pamela Colman Smith
(also illustrator of the Rider-Waite Tarot)
I decided to look up a synopsis of the Stoker book & discovered that the story is based on the legend of the Lambton Worm, a tale from North East England. The story, as with all oral tradition, changes some with every telling, but the basic plot revolves around a battle with a giant worm, or dragon. Stoker's adaptation involves cult-like mesmerism, vampiric themes & brazenly discards the traditional dragon slaying for a more dramatic & explosive conclusion.
The personal Weirdness begins to develop with an unexplained reference to Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky I found in the end notes of the Wikipedia article for the Lair of the White Worm text. Now, Carroll's Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass are books I read during my childhood more times than I can count. The Jabberwocky was the one poem which I loved so dearly that I memorized it in it's entirety & would recite to family members from time to time in order to impress or entertain -- depending upon the person, of course.
Perhaps you are my Jabberwock, returned to me?
This chain of connections would me more nostalgic & less Weird/Wyrd if it weren't for the fact that -- unbeknownst to me -- on the other side of the ocean, another human organism very similar to & yet different from myself was simultaneously being drawn to the very same text, not by way of a captivating reptilian encounter, but by way of a different yet similarly campy 1980's American film.
And I can't quite wrap my brain around that.
|The glass snake as featured in early American iconography.|
"Un serpent coupe en deux. Se rejoindre or mourir" or
"Join or Die," by Benjamin Franklin
Image from this article.
"In 1989, screenwriter Anthony Shaffer wrote a film treatment for The Loathsome Lambton Worm, a direct sequel to his 1973 film The Wicker Man. The sequel would have involved the original film's protagonist, a Scottish police officer, battling the Lambton Worm. However, it was never produced."The Wicker Man. Quite possibly my favourite film of all time. Wyrd.