Mounting Melissa

Article and photos by Oliver Noble

“My favorite thing is when I get dead animals sent to me in the mail,” Melissa Dixon confides. “Sometimes I hope that I’ll be walking home and somebody just steals the bag. Imagine, you steal somebody’s purse and then you get home and you have a dead rabbit. That alone would be more satisfying than mounting it.”

She breaks into a semi-maniacal laugh and offers me one of her homemade chocolate chip cookies. We are sitting in Melissa’s one room studio apartment in Brooklyn, which she shares with her husband Stephen, her cat Stella, and some three-dozen dead animals stuffed and mounted in various positions around us. I take a bite of the cookie before realizing she hasn’t yet eaten any herself—briefly I have a vision of my preserved corpse being auctioned off at an underground black market for human taxidermy. This is not enough to stop me from taking a second and third helping—Melissa’s baking skills are almost as finely honed as her ability to remove a creature’s face from its skull.

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