In 1935, the biologist Dr. W. Franklin Dove attempted to create single horned mammals. He knew that the horn buds are only attached to the skin for the first week of life, after which they affix themselves to the skull. He tried various experiments; the most well-known produced a bull with a single horn. It is recorded that this bull intimidated the others in the herd, with obvious reason -- a head butting match would likely prove lethal to the contender. The procedure was actually fairly simple, since the surgery was restricted to the layers of the skin.

Otter (now Oberon) and Morning Glory Zell of the Church of All Worlds came across this information in the late 1970s. They looked at ancient depictions of the unicorn and noted that the earliest ones had goat-like features. They decided that the unicorn did in fact exist, produced by a now-lost process and possibly used for protecting flocks. They figured it would be a powerful magical symbol, feeling that people would think: "If a unicorn exists, why then anything is possible. I can even change my own life."

The operation, involving cutting flaps in the skin and moving the horns towards the center, was performed on various breeds of white goats. The unicorns produced particularly resembled a sort depicted in medieval paintings and tapestries as sitting on the laps of young maidens. Lancelot, the most well known, came from Angora stock. These goats where then taken on tours of various Renaissance Festivals. Children could get pictures with the unicorns, and a calendar was published.

Of course, the Zell's fellow Pagans held various opinions. Many embraced the unicorns Lancelot, Bedevere, and a few others. Some felt that making the unicorn "real" destroyed all that the unicorn as myth had. Others felt it unethical to perform the minor operation on an animal.

In 1984, the Zells would sign an agreement with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. They bought four of the unicorns, paying $150,000 for them as well as three years of silence from the Zells. Unfortunately, after all of the associated debts and service personnel were paid, over two-thirds had already been spent. The circus claimed that there was a single unicorn that had appeared in Texas. Feeling that any publicity was good publicity, they spread stories involving animal abuse, causing animal rights groups including the ASPCA to protest. Of course, even when asked point-blank they refused to tell the truth about the unicorns.

Using the money, the Zells started the Ecosophical Research Association, dedicated to the study of archetypes and particularly cryptozoology. Their next adventure would, according to Margot Adler, be vastly less successful.

There are two pictures online of Lancelot, the first Living Unicorn. One is at http://www.unicorncollector.com/calendars.htm, from the calendar. Another shows him with Oberon Ravenheart-Zell at http://www.lair2000.net/Unicorn_Dreams/Unicorns_Man_Made/lancelot3.jpg. (Thanks to CzarKhan for the update on the original link and Wuukiee for the second link.)

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