Is This The Minnesota Iceman?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 19th, 2012

Are these photographs of the original ~ “the” Minnesota Iceman ~ or the model that was used to replace it?

Remember, it was not shown in “carnivals” but at state fairs and stock shows. Frank Hansen was not a “carnie,” but had previously displayed antique tractors at state fairs when he was asked to show the original and then a copy of this mysterious exhibition around the country.

These photographs have appeared on skeptical and sideshow sites of late.

The source of these photographs is via the “the true story behind Frank Hansen’s infamous Minnesota Iceman” in a 2011 book by Rick West, Pickled Punks and Girlie Shows. The book appears available from Rick West’s publisher; please order here. And more inexpensively from online sellers, like Amazon, see here.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

20 Responses to “Is This The Minnesota Iceman?”

  1. Sharon Lee responds:

    I remember seeing the Iceman as a child. It didn’t look like this….

  2. Guy Edwards responds:

    Wonder what it smells like? Does it have the same smell of decomposition as described by Sanderson and Heuvelmans?

    It’s interesting, even outside of ice, this model still looks compelling.

  3. todreynard responds:

    I, too, saw an “Iceman” exhibit as a child at an indoor shopping mall in Michigan around 1970-71. It was encased in ice. I don’t remember the hand obscuring the face – I remember seeing the full face and upper front teeth. At that time, I was obsessed with Lon Chaney’s Wolfman. Had I seen this specimen, I would have insisted that it was the Wolfman. However, my dad and I thought that the iceman we saw was probably a neanderthal.

  4. Lu Ann Lewellen responds:

    Is this what you and Mark Hall saw and photographed, Loren?

  5. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    I saw the Iceman (or more likely a replica) at the Texas State Fair around 1983. My memory is that it was large, more so than would be expected for an average human. Does anyone know the dimensions of both the original and the replacement? I am wondering if that might be a clue as to telling them apart.

  6. Sharon Lee responds:

    I agree todreynard, the one I saw didn’t have the hand up like that and I remember an eyeball bulging out. I started to write a story once, let me find the page. Here it is…

    “In 1968 (?) I was one of the privileged few who were able to see the Minnesota Ice Man before his tour was abruptly cut short. At the time, I was only 6 (?) years old. I remember being with my friends, climbing into the trailer, and standing behind a velvet rope as we nervously peered into the ice coffin, straining to get a glimpse of this mysterious find. Droplets of water falling onto the floor. Finally, I see his face. Mangled. One eye strangely ogling me. That gave me nightmares for a few months!”

  7. Redrose999 responds:

    It looks like a model to me. Original had a break in its arm, and was decaying. I don’t see any traces “injuries” or gun shot wounds the original was claimed to have.

  8. red_pill_junkie responds:

    There were a couple of pics of the Minnesota Iceman in the Mysteries of the Unknown’s book devoted to Cryptozoology (Life/Time publication).

    The face looked whiter, and with less hair in the mouth and chin.

  9. Hapa responds:

    I’m not an expert in matters of decay and thawing, but I thought the left hand would have fallen after the corpse (if it is a corpse) was thawed out like this. Plus I would expert the corpse to be blacker, more necrotic. If its a hoax, it was done with far more class and talent than the youtube tongue in cheek midnight specials. Heck its better than most supposed bigfoot films (even those that might be of a real creature do not show this much detail.)

    What was Minnesota Iceman? Until we have a body, we change nothing about the Pseudo-skeptical paradigm. Until then, we still speculate…

  10. Rob008 responds:

    The face does not look anything like the past pictures of the animal. I read somewhere that Frank Hansen’s son (who is now a lawyer) said the model was destroyed due to age. Unless the owner of this figure is Frank’s son, I don’t think we need to waste our time with it.

  11. Lu Ann Lewellen responds:

    The model was photographed by Rick West while it was in Frank Hansen’s possession in 2002. It was in a warehouse along with the display used in shopping malls.

    Those look like the pages I scanned and posted on BFF2. Now what would they be doing on skeptics’ sites? XD

    Hansen himself told Sanderson and Heuvelmans he’d had a model made so why would it be a surprise he had a model? Does it look like the photos in Argosy or even like the photos in Heuvelmans’ book? I don’t think so.

    The book is worth a read. Hansen’s memory seemed to be about as good on key points as Al deAteley’s was when Greg long interviewed him.

  12. Shelley responds:

    I never saw a real version, but I read and re-read an article in one of the “men’s” magazines of the mid-fifties–True? Argosy? My father had a subscription to them, and although I was not supposed to read them, I did anyway. My memory of the Iceman haunted my nightmares for a while, and I remember that there was an arm up, but it seemed that there was more face showing than this. It was a b & w photo on grainy paper, so details of fur, etc, were not really noticeable. There is also a line drawing that has been published that shows the arm raised and the body contorted to fit a box not big enough to hold the corpse. This would have been before 1959, as my father died in 1957 and the subscription was not renewed.

  13. eyeofstrm responds:

    Not the original. Just google Minnesota Iceman images and see for yourself.

  14. deadfoot responds:

    There’s supposed to be a baseball sized hole in the middle of the chest, so from my limited background it’s a fake. Maybe it’s the “original” fake that he used to fool the x-ray machines.

    I’m curious about some of the people commenting that were lucky enough to see the original. All the info I’ve read and seen about it has its left arm raised, similar to the fake above, with a visible wound to the wrist where the final bullet passed through to the left eye and out the back of the head. The idea being he was already badly wounded, and tried to block the final shot to the head.

    Off to look up what else Frank’s son has said about it.

  15. Ironwood responds:

    I saw the Iceman in the Hancock County, Indiana county fair during 1965 or ’66. I would have been 12 or 13 at the time. I remember the viewing booth (actually a refrigerated semi with steps and doors) was closed for a period of time. They claimed trouble with their refrigeration unit.

    When it reopened, what I saw did not resemble the photos in this article. I could see part of the face, the hand partially covering it, one very broad shoulder, part of the stomach almost down to the pubic area, and one clear foot. The rest of the body was covered in foggy ice. There was a dark stain in the ice in the chest area. I remember the tank it was in was quite deep, or so it seemed to me. Larger, certainly, than would be used for a human being.

    I remember two things specifically about this. I could smell decayed or rotting meat, something of a “chilly butcher shop” scent. It was quite noticeable. Secondly, the young girl I took in with me, my date at the time, took one look at it and fled to the far corner of the trailer, refusing to even take a second glance.

    The scent could have been easily faked, but it did not smell like anything I was ever familiar with. I remember going in and expecting a rubber dummy or somesuch carny mischief. This was not what I expected. This seemed frighteningly real, but keep in mind I was still a kid.

    Whether or not it was the True Iceman, I have no idea.

  16. Iceman responds:

    This is the thing, that as a child, began my lifelong fascination with Bigfoot!

  17. William responds:

    I have always thought of the pros versus the cons on the Iceman saga. The pro’s would be that it would be difficult and extremely time consuming to fake something of this nature with the block of ice and all. However, the con part would also come into play as the ice would prevent anyone from making a hands on analysis of it as well (as in a scientist). Another pro is the wounds would not only be difficult to fake but they make sense that something would try to block being shot (I know I would) by sticking up their arm and hand in front of their face and the bullet going through the wrist and eye. This is very convince on the pro side as why go to all that painstaking trouble when you have something in a block of ice? This also would explain how it was obtained.

    However, the fact a replica or fake was made is indeed on the con side. Furthermore, the fact it was shown as a sideshow exhibit also screams fake as if it was the real deal it would seem a fortune could have been made by letting the scientific world examine it.

    So the bottom line is who really knows if it was real or an elaborate hoax?

  18. Shelley responds:

    What Ironwood saw was what I saw pictured in the men’s magazine. I always wondered if they put the hand over the face because looking directly into the eyes would have been a giveaway–if the eyes were fake, it wouldn’t matter how good the rest of it was. Since you could only see about 1/4 of the creature, that seemed suspicious, too.

    And this was my first contact with the concept of Bigfoot, too.

  19. Turtledover responds:

    I saw the “shopping mall” display when it came through Erie, Pennsylvania in the late 1970’s. They put the refrigerator unit right in the middle of the concourse intersection of the “Millcreek Mall”. The admittance price was I believe $4, and the “collectible” flyer was $2. I talked my mother into buying the handout. I thought it was lost forever but I came across it, in poor shape, in a basement box when we cleaned out her house. I looked at the copy and photos and the Argosy article had been reproduced.

    I will try to scan the item and pass it along to Loren. He may already have it in the museum.

    At the age that I saw this display, it still excited me, sort of scared me, and I visualized the creature shot by accident during the Vietnam War. How it ever got frozen seemed more like a Captain America plot. Now that I am aware of the Vietnam Rock Apes, that seemed easy to piece together mentally. Who will ever know, really, the whole actual story?

  20. alanrusso responds:

    I saw this thing when i was a teenager in the late 60’s or early 70’s. When I saw it I had no doubt that it was real. I saw it at the Canfield Fair. That is the name for the Mahoning County fair in Ohio. The thing that struck me was the hairs on its body and arms, in no way did they look faked or man made. No different than a human’s hairs, where the folicule entered the skin. I remember the ice being cloudy in some spots so I couldn’t get a good look at it’s face and I don’t recall any wounds on the thing. I think if the thing was faked whoever did it did a very good job. I knew that people faked things for side shows but this certainly looked real to me.

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