Awesome or Off-Putting is a weekly delve into cryptozoology, ufology, aliens, medical marvels, scientific wonders, secret societies, government conspiracies, cults, ghosts, EVPs, myths, ancient artifacts, religion, strange facts, odd sightings or just the plain unexplainable.
In the late sixties there was a strange attraction travelling on the county fair circuit. It was the remains of what looked like an incredibly hairy human frozen in a big transparent block of ice – and for 25 cents you could take a peek for yourself. The claim was it was the remains of a caveman leftover from the ice age, and that it carried both a cape and a club with all sorts of magical powers. Also it looked like it had first been sketched on a Hanna Barbera drawing table.
That last bit isn’t true – but back then there really was a supposed frozen caveman touring America.
“The Minnesota Iceman is a purported man-like creature frozen in a block of ice and displayed at state fairs or carnivals in and around Rollingstone, Minnesota, and Milwaukee on and around December 17, 1968 as a “missing link”. Obviously male in anatomy, it was human-like, 6 ft (~1.8 m) tall, hairy, with large hands and feet, very dark brown hair about 3 – 4 inches (~9 cm) long, and a flattened nose. One of its arms appeared to be broken and one of its eyes appeared to have been knocked out of its socket, allegedly by a bullet that was supposed to have entered the animal’s head from behind.”
Thoughts of this particular caveman surviving long enough to be shot by a rifle aren’t new. We reported on something similar not too long ago. What’s strange about this particular incident, obviously, is that the killed beast was put on public display.
The caveman is said to either have had a secret millionaire owner in California, or been owned directly by the man who toured with – his name was/is Frank Hansen. It’s a given that the exhibit had its detractors. After all – doubters had a lot of room to work with as Hansen apparently gave several different accounts as to how he came into his money maker.
It actually looked real enough, however, to have Canadian customs hold it up on one jaunt over the border to make sure it wasn’t an actual dead body. Further reports state even the Smithsonian made some inquires – which allegedly ended with them suggesting the FBI investigate to make sure the creature in the ice wasn’t a victim of a murder. The Bureau declined.
Believers in the ice man have more on their side than just a realistic looking body, however – at one point they actually had science, apparently. According to Unmuseum.org:
“In 1968 two cryptozoologists, Ivan Sanderson, a science writer, and Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, a Belgian naturalist, thought they’d made the find of the century.
Heuvelmans had been a house guest of Sanderson when the two of them heard about creature, not quite human and very hairy, that was preserved in a block of ice. The creature had been shown in carnivals and fairs across the mid-western United States. Its exhibitor, Frank Hansen, had claimed that it was a “man left over from the Ice Age” and charged 25 cents for a peek at the thing in its refrigerated, glass coffin.
Sanderson and Heuvelmans drove to Hansen’s farm where the thing had been stored for the winter. In a cramped trailer they examined the creature and became convinced that they had found a Neanderthal Man, Bigfoot or something similar.
After three days of study Heuvelmans believed the beast was authentic. The doctor even smelled the putrefaction where some of the flesh had been exposed from the melted ice. They also discovered that the thing had apparently been shot through the eye. Heuvelmans guessed that the creature had been murdered in Vietnam during the war and smuggled into the United States in a ‘body bag.'”
So was the thing real? Probably not – a pair of Disneyland figure makers are supposed to have acknowledged creating the thing. Still though – even as late as 1995 Hansen is said to have not known if the thing was authentic or not – but maybe you can find out.
Supposedly it still makes fair-ground appearances now and again.