(Note: This story was originally written by Rob L. in 2014 and is now being reposted here.)
As the story goes…….
A man and carnie showman named Frank Hansen shot and killed a bigfoot in Minnesota in the late 1960s. He kept it around for a while until he got into a bit of trouble trying to cross the Canadian border with it. He was actually arrested for illegally transporting a corpse (human) across international lines! Gerald Ford, who later became President of the USA, helped him get off of the charges and after that Hansen put the corpse in a freezer and commissioned someone to make a fake for display in sideshows and county fairs. Two leading cryptozoologists saw the original, however, and said the corpse was covered with insects and it had grass between its teeth. They also said is smelled like decaying flesh and in their opinion it was the real corpse of some Neanderthal-like hominid.
Hansen toured the US with the fake and he was mostly evasive about how he obtained the original. What he did say was repeatedly, however, was that “laws may have been broken.” He was fearful of being arrested for and imprisoned for murder! One thing that is known is that Hansen did once tell the story of how he first encountered this creature. According to that story the thing attacked him in the Minnesota woods during a winter hunt. A group of these creatures was huddled down over a deer they had just killed when Hansen just happened to stumble upon them. One of the males jumped up and came at him and Hansen shot it in the face. Hansen said it was a big hassle getting the thing off the frozen lake he’d killed it on (Lake Superior?) and into his vehicle because it weighed so much.
The creature became known as the “Minnesota Ice Man.” In December of 1968 a Belgian zoologist and science writer named Ian Sanderson examined the corpse for three days which was frozen in a large block of ice. The creature was first displayed by Hansen in 1977 in Chico, California. Hominid researcher Lloyd Pye got a chance to look at it for himself and he said the body was in a 7 ft. freezer which was about 3 ft wide and 3 1/2 ft deep. He claimed the creature had been put into the freezer with its knees lifted up a bit so it would fit so it must have stood a little over 7 feet tall when it was alive. Pye said the creature had one arm up over its head. Apparently, when Hansen shot it the creature lifted its arm to shield its face from the bullets but to no avail.
Hansen had numerous and conflicting stories about where and how this creature was found. One story Hansen told was that he killed it himself in the woods of Minnesota. Hominid Researcher Lloyd Pye believes this is the true story about how Hansen got the creature. Pye says the creature saw Hansen in the woods and as Hansen fired off a shot at it the creature put its arm up over its face to shield itself from the bullet. Pye says Hansen’s bullet went through the creatures arm and into its left eye and then blew the back of its skull off.
An anthropologists from Australian National University named Dr. Helmut Loofs-Wissowa, believes the creature actually originated in Vietnam. He says that on 1 November 1966 there was a very strange report published. That report said that someone in Vietnam had shot and killed a big ape even though there are no known large apes in the area. Further, Hansen had a connection with Vietnam. He was a fighter pilot for the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. After the report was published Hansen suddenly started to display a creature that matched exactly the creature reported shot in Vietnam. Professor Vo Quy is Vietnam’s top Biologist. He investigated numerous reports of ape-like creatures spotted in Vietnam during the war for the government. He says he met some US soldiers at an American base there. The US soldiers told him that in about 1965 a helicopter brought in a strange animal and was taken to a Vietnamese city after a couple of hours being at the base. The Director of Primatology at Vietnam’s National Museum, Vu Ngoc Thanh, believes local witness stories are true. He says the South Vietnamese soldiers put the creature on display and the creature was ALIVE! The creature may have been smuggled to the USA and put on display in Chico by Hansen later on.
Ian Sanderson, the Belgian zoologist who examined the frozen creature for 3 days, took his findings to the Smithsonian after giving the creature the scientific name of “Homo Pongoides” which means “man-ape.” He believed the creature was real and he still stands by that story and his findings.
A former police detective and private investigator named Bob Smith has examined the story of the Minnesota Ice Man in detail. He says that the FBI began investigating the story as a homicide (if the creature was human) and secondly as a crime for transporting a corpse across state lines. He says Frank Hansen was harassed by the FBI and when he got upset and nervous the creature suddenly disappeared. Hansen began displaying a “fake” or “copy” of the original in his show. The Smithsonian got the FBI to suddenly turn down the heat on Hansen. It may be that Hansen buried the real creature in an unmarked grave somewhere or he may have simply handed it over to the Smithsonian.
Some investigators into this tale believe the Minnesota Ice Man was real and that it may well have been some sort of living Neanderthal Man or juvenile bigfoot. Hominid Researcher Lloyd Pye believes it was indeed the corpse of a young bigfoot. Pye says the Ice Man shows us that what we think, it just not the way it is! I wholeheartedly agree with him! History is NOT what we have been told or taught and there is plenty of evidence to prove that beyond any reasonable doubt.
When I first heard of this case the first red flag for me was that the alleged corpse was displayed as a sideshow oddity in state fairs, carnivals, shopping malls, etc. Hansen was a Showman and if you know anything about Carnie showmen then you know the first rule is, “ANYTHING for a buck!” I saw plenty of sideshow “freaks & oddities” when I was a kid at the circus, carnivals, state fairs, etc and the majority of them were outright and obvious fakes. That is….except for 3. The two-headed calf I saw was real and so was the 2 headed rattlesnake. And then there is the third….and….I have an admission to make….I actually saw the Minnesota Ice Man at a State Fair when I was a kid!!
I remember him (or it) well. I stared at it for a long time. At first I thought it was just another fake and hoax but the more I stared at it, the more I began to question my initial assumption. Frankly, it was hard to tell if the thing was real or fake as it was frozen solid in a block of ice in a freezer. It could have been a simple gorilla suit frozen in ice or it could have been the real deal. The thing that got me most was the expression on the face in the ice. Costumes back then were expressionless and gorilla costumes were fairly easy to tell apart from a real gorilla. What got me was the face and the eyes and I’ve never forgotten those eyes locked in ice. It was as if they were reaching out in agony and sorrow. There was something different about this Ice Man and I thought about it a lot over the years until I forgot all about it, until now. I remember staring at its face and eyes and having a feeling that this thing was once alive. It’s a feeling like you get when you go to a funeral viewing and see your deceased relative laying in an open casket. I was torn between it being real or fake and, frankly, I still am today. I tend to lean more towards it being a fake as 99.9% of sideshow oddities are but, still, there is that question….that possibility that it may have been very real, in fact.
The alleged Minnesota Ice Man resurfaced in 2013 on eBay of all places! It was reportedly sold on Ebay and again put on public display in Austin, Texas. The thing was billed on eBay as the original hoax by Frank Hansen and it was purchased by Steve Busti who owns the “Museum of the Weird.”
One of the stories told by Hansen was that the Ice Man was discovered in Siberia and that he was simply the caretaker of the corpse. The owner, he claimed, was an unidentified California millionaire. Primatologist John Napier of the Smithsonian Institution investigated the ice locked corpse and he also made some preliminary investigations into Hansen’s affairs. He found Hansen had commissioned the creation of the so called “Ice Man” from a West Coast company in 1967. Napier quickly concluded that the corpse was nothing more than a latex costume repositioned and refrozen between displays. He also concluded that the original and the copy were both one in the same.
I checked the “Museum of the Weird” website located at the following URL:
The museum says they still have the Ice Man on display, however, only for limited hours each day. Prior to purchasing the exhibit Busti spend two years searching for it according to an article in the Huffington Post dated 28 June 2013. He found Frank Hansen’s original Ice Man that Hansen had kept in a freezer at his home in Minnesota years after it was last put on display by him. Hansen died about 10 years ago. Busti also found out that Hansen’s story about the Ice Man being found in Siberia were false. Busti told the HuffPost Weird News that he found out that Hansen had actually shot the creature in Wisconsin blowing out it’s eyeball and breaking it’s arm with the bullet.
See the HuffPost article at:
What has never fully been explained is just what the Ice Man was…or is. It’s big and hairy no doubt and it doesn’t look to thrilled or happy. Some people think it is actually the frozen corpse of a Wisconsin Bigfoot while others think it is the corpse of a Neanderthal man. Still, others think it is simply some sort of primate like a gorilla while others think it is nothing more than a latex rubber monkey suit frozen solid. The HuffPost article features a “never before seen photo” of the creature in color from the 1960s. It also features another photo of the full body. Of course one little DNA sample can settle all the controversy and speculation very quickly but Busti doesn’t appear to want to give a sample up for testing.
Another interesting report on the Minnesota Ice Man appears on the website “Bigfoot Encounters” at the following link: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/articles/hansen2.htm
It is authored by Odette Tehernine who says that the FBI were alerted to Hansen’s Ice Man because rumor was that it might be some sort of primitive human whom someone had encountered in an American forest and subsequently shot and killed it. Legally, if the creature was real and human in any percentage then Hansen and whomever shot the thing could have been charged with murder. It is said that when Hansen obtained the creature he initially hid it away. BTW the creature was actually named “Bozo.”
Ian Sanderson, the Belgian zoologist who originally investigate the creature, according to Tehernine’s article, said that the creature was “representative of man” and went on to state that it could be an adult male about 6 ft tall of good proportions but excessively hairy. He described the creature as not being covered with hair on its face, palms of hands, soles of feet, penis, and testicles. He said the hair was dark brown in color about 7–10 cm long. He said the skin is “wax-like” in color which he said was characteristic of human male corpses of the Caucasian race when not tanned by the sun. He described the creature’s hair as similar to that of a chimpanzee and unlike that of bear fur. Sanderson went on to report that both of the creatures eye were dislodged from both sockets with one being completely gone. He said this suggested the creature had been shot in the face by several large caliber bullets. One forearm was also penetrated by a bullet as the creature apparently raised its arm trying to protect its face from the gun shots. Further, he reported that Hansen was only planning to display it a bit longer before having an autopsy performed on it which never happened, so far as we know. Additionally, the Sanderson was trying to negotiate with Hansen so he could buy the corpse, but the Ice Man suddenly disappeared.
Another zoologist named Bernard Heuvelmans consulted Jack Arthur Ullrich of N.J. Ullrich was a geologist, hydrologist, and glaciologist. That conversation centered around ice conditions needed to preserve the creature and keep the body from decomposing. Ullrich said the creature’s decomposition would depend on the temperature wherever it was found and then kept. Ice temperature can only delay the decay process but not prevent it from eventually happening. Ullrich doubted the creature was an ape-man and thought it more likely that it might have been an abnormal human being, possibly some sort of Neanderthal man. Heuvelman’s and Ullrich’s opinion is shared by several researchers that believe the alleged “bigfoot” are in fact modern day Neanderthals still living among us.
Hairy men have indeed been reported for decades and even centuries now all around the world in places where modern civilization has not encroached. Most of these reports are simply dismissed out of hand, but how could so many people be seeing the same thing? Some of the reports have been taken seriously and some have been investigated by reputable scientists and researchers. Among them are Russian Dr Boris Porshnev who is a well known historian and scientist who spent years studying reports of small lost groups of hominids in Siberia and the Caucasus. Another is Professor Rinchen of Mongolia who spent a lifetime studying the question of hominid remnants.
There is another report that, if fully true, exposes the Minnesota Ice Man as a complete carnival hoax. George Berklacy of the Smithsonian Institute claimed he’d been in contact with a California wax museum and that they told them one of their employees had worked on the Ice Man back in 1967 inserting hair into a latex rubber body. Further, it must be noted that Hansen refused to allow Dr John Napier to closely examine the corpse just as he had refused to allow others to do so. Finally, according to Tchernine’s report the FBI advised him that they never had an investigation pertaining to this Ice Man and he says that such a statement was signed by a “living and legendary” FBI top official. Most likely that was the infamous FBI Chief, J. Edgar Hoover.
So now fast forward to 2013 and today. The legendary Minnesota Ice Man now resides at and is on limited exhibit again to the public at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, TX. Is it real? Or is it the continuation of some well made sideshow hoax? Would the current owner allow DNA sampling? That would settle this mystery once and for all. I suspicion, however, no DNA sampling would ever be allowed even today.
As I mentioned previously, I saw the Minnesota Ice Man when I was a kid. It was intriguing and still is in my mind. If it is a hoax then it is one of the better ones but if it is not a hoax then it may be the key to what bigfoot is or is not and/or it may be one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all times if it turns out to be some modern day Neanderthal or some unknown species of man or half man. And I can’t say that without noting the Ketchum Bigfoot DNA study. That study, although highly controversial, determined that bigfoot DNA showed that creature to come from a human mother and unknown hominid father. If that study proves to be valid and if the Ice Man turns out to be real then we might just have our answer as to what bigfoot really is and is not. Further, the famous Primatologist Jane Goodall has stated several times that she thinks bigfoot is most likely some modern day surviving species of Gigantopithecus, the largest ape that ever lived and who walked upright. Other researchers concur with this hypothesis.