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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Minnesota Iceman Update



Earlier this year you may have read my article about how John Chambers created the Minnesota Iceman sideshow exhibit.
In light of new information I am going to expound upon the infamous tale of the sideshow exhibit known as the Minnesota Iceman.
for those of you that are unfamiliar with the tale it goes something like this...

The Minnesota Iceman was sideshow exhibit featuring a hairy, manlike creature encased in a block of ice owned by a mister Frank Hansen. Hansen originally claimed to have bought the iceman in Hong Kong, which had been brought there by sailors who fished it out of cold Russian waters. Other tellings gave the location as Japan and Mr. Hansen later claimed to have shot it himself while deer hunting, adding that he could obtain another such specimen for the price of a stun gun. The final origin story was the most outlandish: the iceman was owned by a millionaire creationist who wanted to see how the public would react to it without alerting any scientists who might use it as further evidence of evolution. Naturally, he sought out Hansen, loaned him the iceman, and had him take it on tour.
In 1968 (two years after the iceman debuted), one Terry Cullen contacted a scientist with an interest in Bigfoot and other rumored beasts, Dr. Ivan Sanderson. Cullen has actually seen the exhibit in 1967 and was intrigued enough by it to contact numerous scientists in the hopes that they’d examine it. Sanderson contacted a like-minded scientist, Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans (the “father of cryptozoology“) and they contacted Hansen to have a look at it. They were not allowed to thaw it out and could only look at it through the thick ice encasing it in a dark trailer. Both men left thinking that the iceman was the real deal. Not only that, but they felt that its popped-out, bloody eye and the shattered arm raised near the head indicated that the iceman had been gunned down recently and was not merely the frozen prehistoric being that was advertised! Could it really be the remains of some unknown hominid or could it have been real human corpse that had been altered for dramatic effect? After all, at least one real human corpse had traveled the sideshow circuit before, so the idea isn’t technically unrealistic.
Convinced that what they had seen was real, Sanderson and Heuvelmans got to work on articles about the icemanThey also contacted Dr. John Napier in the hopes that he could get the Smithsonian Institute would look into the matter. Due to the “recently shot” theory, the FBI was even contacted about the matter (although they never looked into it)! Frank Hansen was less than pleased by this when word got back to him (presumably from seeing Sanderson talk about the iceman on The Tonight Show). The iceman was temporarily removed from view while Hansen debuted his “creationist millionaire owner” story in an announcement to the public in 1969 and explained the owner had taken it back and he was now only able to show a replica. Sanderson and Heuvelmans soon reported that the alleged replica was not what they had originally examined.

From my research and discussions with a friend of mine named Don Glut I was led to Don Post Studios as being the creator of the Minnesota Iceman. 
I began researching the Co Owner of Don Post Studios by the name of Verne Langdon.
According to Langdon, Langdon really didn’t want to have anything to do with Hansen, because Langdon was on a professional level that was far above the sleazy level that Hansen was on. They said, “Well, we’re not going to do it. We’re going to refer you to another man named Howard Ball.” That appears to be the solution to the mystery of the Iceman, that it was fabricated by a gentleman named Howard Ball.

To make the story more convoluted.. a woman came forward claiming it was her who had shot the creature. Helen Westring said she had been hunting near Bemidji, Minnesota, when she killed the beast by putting a bullet through its right eye. Almost simultaneously, Howard Ball, a man that worked for Disneyland making rubber figures, said he and his son had created the “Iceman” in an attempt to recreate a Cro-Magnon man.
So there you have it. The Minnesota Iceman was created by Howard Ball who also did work for Disney. 
In his book "Secrets Of The Sideshows" Joe Nickell recounts having seen this exhibit. It had melted somewhat as would undoubtedly be the case given the cost and difficulties of keeping such an exhibit frozen for years at a time. Nickell states “It was lying in a freezer-like tank, but some of the ice had melted away, exposing part of the body. I reached in and felt it. Not surprisingly, it was rubbery.”  

The Minnesota Iceman exhibit has resurfaced after all these years and is currently on display at Museum Of The Weird in Austin Texas. 

For the full story on the Minnesota Iceman make sure to visit the companion article I wrote.

Have a Merry Christmas and see you guys next year for more articles..
Mr. Dark 

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