During the 1960’s, a strange frozen creature known as the “Minnesota Iceman”, was a popular sideshow exhibition in a circuit that traveled across the United States displaying the mysterious beast in malls, fairgrounds, and school events (you can read a 1969 Argosy article about the creature here). At times labeled the “Missing Link”, “The Siberskoye Creature”, or “The Creature in Ice”, the six-foot tall, hairy creature was reportedly shot in Wisconsin (originally it was believed it was shot in Siberia) by a man named Frank Hansen who promptly placed the creature’s corpse in a freezer at his home. The creatures eyes were blown out and its arm broken during the encounter adding a grotesque persona and element of intrigue to the creature’s ice-encased body.
Shortly after the Minnesota Iceman was shot, Hansen took the creature on a tour around the country. The creature was enclosed in a block of ice and appeared to be a male, thick-haired human-like beast with a tail and large hands and feet. Cryptozoologists suggested the Minnesota Iceman was a Neanderthal or Bigfoot while detractors suggested it was an unknown primate or a hoax (still hotly debated to this day). Some examiners noted putrefaction where some of the flesh had been exposed from the melted ice lending additional credence to the belief that the Minnesota Iceman was once a living creature. Even the FBI almost became involved, thinking Hansen had been exhibiting a murder victim. When the Smithsonian Museum expressed interest in the creature, Hansen withdrew the creature from public viewing and replaced it with a latex model instead. Until this month, the creature’s whereabouts have remained unknown.
Steve Busti, owner of the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas, spent the last two years researching the Minnesota Iceman and trying to pin down its location. The creature’s corpse eventually showed up on EBay for an asking price of $20,000 and Busti quickly bought the ice man from the Hansen family in Minnesota. Details of the purchase remained under wraps until Tuesday night when the Minnesota Iceman was featured the A&E network show, Shipping Wars. In order to help finance the transportation costs from Minnesota to Austin (the entire shipment was estimated to weigh more than 1,000 pounds), Busti worked out a deal with the network to film the movement of the creature from Minnesota to Austin.
The Minnesota Iceman will go on display in Austin on July 3, 2013. Whether the creature to be displayed is the original creature or the latex mockup is as yet unknown.
Check out the photo collage of the Minnesota Iceman and its history.