Bigfoot Encounters

Napier’s “take” on the Iceman
”Tales from the Minnesota Woods”

"Bigfoot, The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality"
 

From Napier's book, this chapter is all about the Iceman. Let me say at this stage that my role in the curious affair was distinctly that of 'voices off. The central figures, the real heroes of the investigation, were Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans, who uncovered the mystery. From a journalistic point of view the Iceman was a great story while it lasted, but I believe it has only served further to degrade the Bigfoot legend.

The Iceman affair in fact can be regarded as a logical culmination of a trend that started when the name of Bigfoot was first attached to a commercial enterprise. Perhaps it was a hamburger stand, a motel or a supermarket; whatever it was, it started a chain reaction. In the interests of non-partisanship it should be noted that this phenomenon is ubiquitous. Not even the Himalayan states are wholly free from the taint of commercialism. Witness Nepal's reported four hundred-pound levy on Yeti hunters. Witness too, the recent issue of stamps from Bhutan. Flushed with the financial success of their 1966 Abominable Snowman stamps, they repeated the theme in 1970 with an even more astonishing 3-D set. This issue is all the more remarkable because it purports to represent the animals of Bhutan, and includes not only a classic ape-like Yeti figure but also an African elephant and a suspiciously African-looking rhinoceros.

The story of the Minnesota Iceman is a tortuous affair, principally because of the maneuvers of the 'owner' of the Iceman exhibit, Frank D. Hansen. The quotes surrounding the word owner are meant to underscore a critical component of the whole puzzling story, for according to Hansen's declaration to the press and other responsible persons who have interviewed him, the real owner is a well-known multi-millionaire living on the West Coast of U.S.A. and connected with the movie business. The Sunday Times quoted Hansen as stating that the owner was a very wealthy man whose pleasure 'is to have something rare, something that other people don't have'.

The bare facts of the story in chronological sequence are as follows. On December 17th, 1968, Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans, a Belgian zoologist and the author of several very excellent books on unknown animals, inspected a creature frozen in a block of ice and enclosed in an insulated coffin maintained by refrigeration. Their visit to Frank D. Hansen's farm in a remote area of Minnesota near the township of Winona was the result of a tip-off to Sanderson that a strange hominoid creature was being wintered there after a two-year, moderately successful, tour of the carnival grounds of the United States.

Hansen received Sanderson and Heuvelmans in a friendly manner and gave them unrestricted access to the Iceman immersed in his chilly tomb. They spent two days studying the creature in the restricted confines of the trailer in which the coffin was housed. Space problems made it difficult to photograph the Iceman in extenso or even to make reliable drawings. Sanderson describes how he was forced to lie on the plate glass lid of the coffin, face to face with the monster, in order to make his detailed sketches.

What the two investigators saw, drew and photographed will be described later. The important point to make at this stage is that both men - both highly experienced and well informed men accepted the creature on its face value.

Bernard Heuvelmans's conviction that what he saw through a sheathing of ice in a cold trailer in the yard of a snowbound farmstead in a remote region was a true-bill unknown hominid is confirmed by the publication of an article in February 1969 in the Bulletin of the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium entitled “Notice on a specimen preserved in ice of an unknown form of living hominid: Homo pongoides."

In the eyes of zoologists, - Heuvelmans committed a grave scientific sin with this article. It would not have been so bad if he had merely contented himself with publishing the report, but by naming a creature whose existence in nature was uncertain, and at the time improbable, he put himself in an untenable position.

The procedure of giving a name to a new species of animal is a highly formalized affair in zoology and is bound by rules of protocol far more precise than those, which govern the actions of the diplomatic corps. The reason for such exactitude is very right and proper. When naming a new species it is necessary to designate a certain specimen as the ‘type’ so that, for ever afterwards, the name and the particular animal so named are linked. Even if the Iceman turned out eventually to be a real creature, Dr Heuvelmans, who clearly believed it to be a form of Neanderthal man, would have to show that the creature was specifically different from Homo sapiens (a species of which Neanderthal man is generally regarded as a subspecies called Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) before the name Homo pongoides (indicating a new species of man) could be officially recognized. This procedure would not be an easy one even if it were possible, and so I think it highly unlikely that Homo pongoides will ever take its place nomenclatorially along with Homo sapiens and Homo erectus.

In 1969 Sanderson published a somewhat more cautiously worded paper in the journal Genus. (Genus, 25. 249-78, 1969) The essence of what Sanderson and Heuvelmans saw, albeit through plate glass and a thick layer of ice with the opacities and other imperfections of artificial freezing and refreezing, is briefly summarized from their respective papers as follows:

General appearance:The body is lying on its back, right arm across the lower abdomen and the left arm crooked above the head; the knees are slightly bent. The torso appears long and massive giving the impression of flowing into the thighs, an appearance which is due presumably to the absence of any outward swelling at the hips. The length of the creature is about six feet. The body apart from the face, palms of the hands and sides is covered with fairly long, dark-colored, coarse hair, the roots of which are widely separated from each other. The hair shows an agouti pattern (see below.)

Face.
The creature is somewhat pug-faced, the tip of the nose turning upwards revealing wide, flaring, thick-walled nostrils; on the septum between the nostrils is a narrow band of hair. The forehead is sloping but the top of the head is lost in the depth of the ice. The face is broad and the mouth is slit-like, lacking the everted lips of modern man. The eye-sockets are large and, according to Sanderson, empty, but Heuvelmans asserts that the left eyeball is dislocated and is lying on the left cheek.

In Heuvelmans’s opinion the creature had been shot by a high velocity bullet through the right eye, blowing out the back of the skull. It has been stated by Hansen, the lessee, that this area is badly smashed. The explosion dislocated the left eye from its socket. The condition of the left forearm would be consistent with such an injury supposing that the creature had raised its left arm to cover its face from frontal assault.

Arms and hands.
The arms appear to be long and excessively hairy. The left forearm is apparently fractured about midway along its length and the flesh is seen to be gaping at the site of the wound. The hands are gross, disproportionately large with long, slender, tapering thumbs. On the palm of the left hand, the bare skin on the inner side (ulnar side) extends backwards on to the wrist to form a sort of `heel' to the hand, precisely as one might find in the hand of a monkey but certainly not of an ape or a man.

Legs and feet.
Compared with the arms the legs are rather short but very 'human' in appearance; they are also extremely hairy. The feet are tremendously broad and spatulate, the big toe is aligned alongside the second toe (a human characteristic) and the nails are blunt and straight-edged. The big toe is not excessively 'big' relative to the small toes,

The genitalia.
The penis is long, slender and tapering, and the scrotum rather small: when erect the penis would certainly not have been particularly striking in its dimensions.

So much for the external appearances upon which both Sanderson and Heuvelmans agree, differing only in minor detail. We can take it then, that the description of what they saw is accurate. Before plunging into a critical analysis of this objet trouvé from an anatomical viewpoint, I think we ought to consider the provenance of this remarkable exhibit.

Frank D. Hansen, the lessee of this property, stated in the early days of the Iceman affair that the creature had been found floating in a 6,000 lb block of natural ice, in the Sea of Okhotsk, an oceanic enclave between the Kamchatka peninsula and eastern Siberia.

The fishers of this extraordinary catch were initially said to be Russian sealers and later Japanese whalers. After trials and tribulations with the Customs and various unspecified political agencies, the Iceman-still deep-frozen-turned up in Hong Kong in a Chinese dealer's emporium where it was purchased by someone, presumably an agent of the mysterious Mr. X, the anonymous mogul of the West Coast, flown to the U.S.A. and rented to Mr. Frank D. Hansen who then proceeded to exhibit the creature around the carnival circuits of the U.S. heartlands for a couple of years at thirty-five cents a peek.

In 1969 the Iceman was on exhibit, billed as the 'Siberskoye Creature frozen and preserved forever in a coffin of ice? In 1970, Hansen with a double-bluff (or was it a double-double-bluff?) 'confessed' in the magazine Saga that he had shot the Iceman in the woods of Minnesota in 1960 and that his story about the Sea of Okhotsk was simply an example of the fairground showman's traditional spiel.

In fact the provenance of the Iceman has been so thoroughly obfuscated that there is no consistent zoogeographical story to criticize. Its origins are as mysterious as the origins of Bigfoot itself. The possibility that its provenance in fact was some sort of monster-factory or wax museum in Hollywood will develop as the story unfolds.

I first heard about the Iceman on February 3rd, 1969, from Ivan Sanderson, a few weeks after his visit to Hansen's ranch, and I studied his comprehensive report and scale diagrams. My first reaction, based on the creature's anatomy, was extreme dubiety; the characteristics of the Iceman seemed to me then-as now-to combine the worst features of apes and man and none of the best features which make these two groups extremely successful primates in their respective environments. As described, the Iceman's foot was specifically adapted neither for climbing, as in a chimpanzee for example, nor for a two-footed walking gait on the flat as in man.

The hands were typical of neither apes or of humans but were a ridiculous compromise between the two.

Transitional forms passing from one evolutionary grade to another within a phylogenetic line do occur in nature. Perhaps the best example of this in the fossil record is provided by the horses (Equidae) whose evolutionary progression (dating from the Eocene some sixty million years ago) provides a continuous series of forms successively replacing one another in time. But it is of paramount importance to appreciate that however transitional a species may seem to have been in retrospect, it was in its time perfectly successful being wholly adapted towards its environment. This is mandatory, otherwise the transitional species would have been eliminated by natural selection and there would have been no successors.

Whatever the Iceman is, it is no fossil. If it is not made of latex rubber and expanded polystyrene it represents a living species; there are no alternatives. Therefore the questions one must ask are the usual ones when dealing with a new form: what kind of species is it? And for what type of environment is it adapted? Applying this type of reasoning to the Iceman does not prove very rewarding; the species is indeterminate on the present evidence, and its adaptiveness equivocal. Its zoological affinities are neither wholly human (hominid) nor wholly ape (pongid); on the face of it, the Iceman is some crazy sort of hybrid.

We know that an ape-human cross is genetically impossible and therefore we must assume that the creature is not a 'sport' but a representative of an existing population. The likelihood of such an aberrant population being a prehistoric survival is remote (the existence of such populations is discussed less tersely in chapter 7 of Napier’s book).

Using Sanderson's scale diagram, which as he admits was drawn under considerable difficulties, but which was later matched and correlated with Heuvelmans's photographs, I have been able to measure the relative limb lengths of the Iceman.

The relative proportions of the upper limb and lower limb can be expressed as a percentage, the so-called intermembral index. Modern man, whose arms are shorter than his legs, has an index varying between 67 and 72; apes, whose arms are longer than their legs, possess an index that, depending on species, lies between 103 and 150. The index of the Iceman is 87 indicating that the proportions are characteristic neither of apes nor men. There is a considerable amount of data on the hand index~ in primates.: 'this index reflects the relative length of the hand compared with the length of the arm as a whole. For the Iceman this index is 32.5. The range in Homo sapiens is 22.7 - 26.1, and for the apes from 23.1 - 31.0. Other indices, which reflect bodily proportions, consistently indicate that the Iceman's measurements are neither those of fish, fowl nor good red herring-nor man, nor ape {or that matter. The Iceman, in fact, does not match up to the blueprint of any known primate or, indeed, any known animal. This does not mean that the Iceman cannot exist, it simply makes it just that much more improbable.

There are a certain number of very odd features about Sanderson and Heuvelmans’s descriptions. The hair, for instance. The pattern of hair distribution seems indisputable: present where it ought to be and absent in the expected places like the face, the palm of the hand and the sole of the foot.

But Sanderson makes a very significant observation that goes unremarked in Heuvelmans's report. The hairs, Sanderson avers, are agouti. On the face of it this is not a particularly soul-shaking item of information. Agouti is a condition where the hairs are composed of alternating bands of dark and light and is probably familiar to most people as the fur pattern of a squirrel. The agouti pattern is regarded as a phylogenetically ancient character that has become lost in evolution in certain groups as a result of increasing specialization. The agouti pattern of hair coloration is also extremely common amongst the primates. It is seen in the monkeys of both the New and Old Worlds; but at the higher levels of primate evolution-amongst the apes and man-it is completely unknown. That the Iceman should possess agouti-patterned hairs is a zoological improbability of the highest order. If we can take this observation of Sanderson's as valid, and there is no reason why we should not, then the likelihood that the Iceman is an artifact - a man-made object - is high.

As a result of Sanderson's initial curiosity and his subsequent probing, assisted by the growing interest of the scientific establishment, the Iceman Saga entered a new and incredibly devious phase that, in the event, destroyed any semblance of open-mindedness that one might once have held.

I don't propose to do more than attempt a brief outline of the extraordinary complexities of the story, because they are largely irrelevant to the main theme of this book, which is to assess in biological terms the possibility of the existence of monsters.

As the Minnesota Iceman story unfolds, it reveals itself as a problem for a detective agency rather than for a biologist.

Ivan Sanderson, whom I have known for many years, telephoned me soon after his discovery with the suggestion that I, as curator of the primate collections at the Smithsonian, was in a good position to interest the Institution in the affair. Sanderson held the view that the Smithsonian was the proper authority to investigate the matter scientifically. In those early days this seemed a very exciting prospect, and consequently I approached S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary of the Institution, who was most enthusiastic about the project and agreed that we should take an official interest. I drafted a rather pompons press release indicating that although the Institution was somewhat skeptical, it was open-minded enough to cooperate fully in the investigation. The first step obviously was to see and if possible to get hold of the specimen but this was not to be. A letter from Mr. Ripley to Frank Hansen elicited the reply that the specimen was no longer in his hands but had been removed by its anonymous owner. A further paragraph implied that when the creature was exhibited in the coming (1969) summer season it would 'in many respects resemble' the original exhibit which, Mr. Hansen believed, would probably never be shown to the public again. So it seemed that a model had replaced the ‘original’, but there was of course no guarantee that the 'original' was 'real' in the first place. Mr. Hansen was most careful not to commit himself in this respect then or at any other time.

In February 1969, the article by Bernard Heuvelmans appeared in a Belgian scientific journal, a mere two and a half months after the event. In this article, as already stated, Heuvelmans expressed his opinion that the corpse was 'real' and represented an unknown species of man. Now that the missing 'original' had been publicly authenticated as human, the apparent bullet wounds took on a somewhat sinister meaning. There was only one thing to be done and that was to inform the law. (Ivan Sanderson had in fact informed the New Jersey Office of the F.B.I. on his own account during January sometime earlier and received a dusty answer) So Mr. Ripley wrote to Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, requesting the cooperation of the F.B.I. in tracing the original exhibit Mr. Hoover was not very helpful and simply pointed out that as no violation of a federal law had been proved the F.B.I. had no power to act.

In the meanwhile George Berklacy of the Public Relations Office of the Smithsonian and I had been doing a little digging on our own. Berklacy after an exhausting and dangerous mission on the telephone tracked down a commercial organization on the West Coast that claimed to have made the Iceman for Frank Hansen out of latex rubber and hair in April 1967 (the year it went out on the first tour of the circus midways).

The name Pete Corrall was mentioned in connection with the model. Berklacy and I decided against releasing this name at the time, but since Hansen mentions Pete Corrall in the Saga Magazine article as the man who put the hairs into the Iceman model, there seems no special reason why it shouldn't be mentioned now. Of course there is no proof that the story Berklacy was given was true -in fact Sanderson told me later that he has been in contact with at least two other organizations which claim the same honor, but at the time it seemed to confirm my steadily growing conviction that the Iceman was a model and always had been a model. On my advice, the Smithsonian Institution issued a press release withdrawing its interest in the Iceman, much, I think, to the relief of all concerned, who were understandably jittery at the prospect of press headlines proclaiming 'Smithsonian Scientists Fooled by Carnival Exhibit'.

The official disclaimer by no means ended my personal interest in the affair but it seemed to me that in view of what we had learned, it was only proper that the Smithsonian should be taken off the hook before it was too late. Indeed, there was some danger that it was already too late since Hansen had by then opened his new season by displaying the Iceman in a shopping precinct in St Paul, Minnesota, and was attracting scientific customers from nearby universities. It is not without relevance with regard to Hansen's motivation that as a crowning touch he had by now added to his display boards bearing the title “the Near-Man, the Siberskoye Creature,” the words 'Investigated by the F.B.I.' (Siberskoye is an artificial word, roughly translated “Siberskoye man meaning man from Siberia).

The Smithsonian's 'withdrawal of interest' statement provided a spate of wild rumors, notably that the Smithsonian, and probably Ivan Sanderson as well since he was known to be working in close association with us, had somehow got their hands on the corpse and found it to be genuine. As the announcement of a missing link would be embarrassing for the established scientific view, the Smithsonian were suppressing the facts!

Another rumor suggested that the Mafia, who were credited with having an unspecified interest in this matter, were bringing their considerable influence to bear to stop any further scientific investigations being carried out by myself on behalf of the Smithsonian. The cloak-and-dagger schools, which see an iron hand in every velvet glove, were having a ball, and for a day or two I admit I went around Washington with eyes skinned and a firm grip on my British umbrella.

Prior to his opening in St Paul, Hansen held a press conference at his ranch near Winona at which the Rochester Post-Bulletin reporter Gordon Yeager was present. The gist of Hansen's statement, Yeager reports in the issue of April 21st, 1969, was that the Iceman was man-made, an illusion, and was not his property anyway. Yeager asked a number of penetrating questions, but he says that most of them were smoothly parried by Hansen whom he credits with being an 'excellent showman'. Herein I believe lies the secret of the Iceman-showmanship.

However, the saga is not yet quite done. After St Paul, the exhibit moved on to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Time-Life Inc filmed it. This film, together with the color pictures taken by Cordon Yeager at the press conference, make it quite clear that the creature in the ice is not identical with the one that Sanderson and Heuvelmans drew and photographed in December 1968.

For example according to Bernard Heuvelmans the mouth was 'slightly open and one can see a yellowish tooth...' In Yeager's photographs the mouth is agape and at least four teeth can be dearly seen. Moreover the left big toe, which was firmly apposed to the toes in the ‘original’, was now quite widely separated from them.

Other minor differences were apparent to me. Ivan Sanderson claimed categorically that this exhibit was not the one that he and Heuvelmans had examined. On the face of it, therefore, there was a good case for believing that a 'model', a ringer, had been switched for the 'original' at some time; in fact Frank Hansen in his letter to the Smithsonian six weeks earlier stated as much. But there is still no certainty that the 'original' was any more 'real' than the substitute model.

By June 1969 I had made up my mind, and nothing that has transpired since, including Hansen's 'confession' in Saga Magazine, has made me see any need to change it; the substance of a memorandum that I submitted at the time to Mr. Ripley is paraphrased below.

There comes a time when even an 'open' mind has to decide one way or the other! So here, chronologically, is my wholly speculative reconstruction of the Iceman Affair.

Frank Hansen, a clever showman of the Barnum school (There is one born every minute) conceived the idea of a monster exhibit on -- or rather in -ice. Ice is more dramatic than pickle as a preservative, and, what's more, ice gives the right degree of opacity), and gloss to a model which serves both to heighten the illusion and prevent too close an inspection. Hansen decided on a classy exhibit and equipped himself with a model made by top experts in the field, a high-quality 'coffin' and an expensive trailer.

At a guess, this equipage would have cost him not less than $50,000 (£20,000). At the beginning of the summer of 1967 he started touring the Iceman; he was moderately successful in 1967 and 1968 but, as he admitted to reporters in 1969, his investment had not yet paid off. After the summer season of 1968 Hansen felt he must do something to drum up business and conceived a very subtle publicity campaign. Somehow he managed to leak information through a colleague that reached Ivan Sanderson.

On Hansen's admission, he knew of Sanderson's books and of his overwhelming interest in unexplained phenomena in general and 'Abominable Snowmen' in particular. He was banking on a positive reaction from Sanderson, which, in the event, exceeded his wildest dreams. As it happened, quite by chance, Bernard Heuvelmans was staying with Sanderson at the time and Hansen, unbeknownst, had caught two fish with one fly - and two vociferous, well-informed, and determined fish at that.

Under somewhat Charles-Addams-like conditions-a remote farmhouse in the middle of a Minnesota winter - -Sanderson and Heuvelmans were faced with a brilliantly executed model. Psychologically, anyone who had spent a lifetime in search of unknown animals as these two had been were bound to be impressed by what he saw. Heuvelmans was so impressed that he plunged into print without further ado. Sanderson, equally impressed, was more cautious.

The publicity that developed as a consequence of that December evening was both heartening and embarrassing for Frank Hansen. What started, as a publicity stunt had become a global furor; papers all over the world carried the story. The unexpected had happened. Science was taking the Iceman seriously! This needed careful handling. Perhaps the letter that Secretary Ripley wrote to Hansen was the last straw. Now even the Nation's Capital was in on the act! However, providing that he, Hansen, made no statement that could be legally challenged, this bonus publicity could be turned into an advantage rather than a liability. It was essential that the 'original’ had to disappear and a stand-in substituted to deepen the mystery and keep the Iceman free of curious scientists who would, inevitably, come nosing around following Heuvelman's report in the Belgian scientific press.

The only way that this could be done, short of having another expensive model made, was to defrost the existing model, make minor alterations that would support his statement to the Smithsonian in which he said his new exhibit would “in many respects, resemble” the original and re-freeze it.

It is perhaps significant that Hansen went on vacation some time between March 25th and April 12th, during which time the changes could have been effected.

Soon after his return with the refurbished model, he arranged for a press conference at his ranch when the Iceman was thrown open for inspection and photography. At this conference he emphasized the fabricated nature of his substitute model and, at the same time, avoided giving any inkling of the nature of the original. The extravagant claim that the creature had been discovered floating in a block of natural ice in the Sea of Okhotsk was explained away as mere showman's patter to pull in the customers.

I take my hat off to Frank Hansen, not because he glorified the monster myth (in my opinion he helped to debase it) but because he showed supreme skill in his chosen profession. I don't believe he ever told a lie-he simply talked his way around every issue. He was always one step ahead of the rest of us, and if there were a Barnum Award, my vote would go to Frank D. Hansen. He never claimed anything for this exhibit other than that it was a mystery, which indeed it was - and still is.

Perhaps the real puzzle that arises from this theoretical reconstruction is how two experienced zoologists like Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans could have been misled. I have already indicated a possible explanation in terms of the psychological pressures that they experienced at the time. But is this enough? I fear it is the weakest link in my reconstruction.

Both these scientists will undoubtedly refute both my analysis of the events and the imputation that they were the victims of brain~ washing, and insist that what they saw was the real thing. They have already provided the reasons for their beliefs. I repeat that my reconstruction is purely speculative, inasmuch as I can offer no kind of proof for my suggestions, which are simply the result of intuitive reasoning. For three or four months I was steeped up to the eyebrows in this business.

I spent many hours in conversation with Sanderson and Heuvelmans and others involved, I have studied the documents and press reports relating to the case, as well as films, photographs and drawings, over a period of several months. I know something about the anatomy and ecology of man and of his evolution. I am also reasonably conversant with the universal patterns and manifestations of the monster myth. One cannot involve oneself to this extent without developing a kind of sixth sense. Perhaps the story of the Iceman is more complicated than the simple peccadilloes of a fairground showman. Perhaps there are sinister overtones involving Customs irregularities, secret societies and rackets of one sort or another, but ff so I don't recognize or care about them. Cloaks and daggers are not my métier; biology is, and it is on the biological probabilities that my case rests.

The aftermath of the Iceman, in a sense, is anticlimactical but even anticlimax can be interesting. On June 30th, 1969, the National Bulletin carried the headline: “I WAS RAPED BY THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. As a front-page banner this rates second only to such classics as Vicar accused of nude stable-girl slaying' and 'M.P. in Hyde Park bandstand scandal'.

First of all it is interesting to see that just as 'nude' is regarded as more evocative than 'naked', the Abominable Snowman carries a bigger punch than either the Bigfoot or the Iceman. In fact, what the headline was all about was the Iceman.

Apparently the young woman concerned - Helen Westring was on a solo-hunting trip in the woods near Bemidji, Minnesota, when she met an Abominable Snowman [sic]. It had pink eyes ringed with white fur and was covered all over with brown hair; it had a short neck, huge hands (11 inches long and 7 inches wide) and long arms.

This creature proceeded to rip off Helen's clothes “like one would peel a banana.” It then looked at her intently, especially at “the area between my legs”, threw her down on the leaves and with much grunting and heaving achieved its purpose -- but as luck would have it, Helen fainted. On recovering her wits, she shot it - through the right eye, just as Bernard Heuvelmans had deduced. And that was how the Iceman died, at the hands of a simple American girl avenging her honor in the woods of Minnesota.

But Frank Hansen has another story. - It was he who shot the Iceman in the woods of Minnesota - same woods, different story. This rather surprising tailpiece appeared in Saga Magazine in 1970. Surprising, because it seems out of character for the urbane Hansen to descend to melodrama. In the article he describes how, while still in the Air Force, he went on a hunting trip to the woods of northern Minnesota with some fellow officers.

Becoming separated from the rest of the party, he shot and wounded a doe and followed it into a swamp. When he finally came up with it he found three hairy creatures tearing the animal to pieces with their bare hands and drinking its blood. One of the creatures with a screech sprang at Hansen who fired his rifle, hitting it in the face and apparently killing it instantly. Hansen in an access of terror fled from the spot and after stumbling about for a time finally managed to rejoin his party. He had decided not to mention the event to anyone for fear of ridicule, which might possibly endanger his last few years of service before discharge/rom the Air Force. But, according to his article, after many sleepless nights he made his way back to the scene.

It was early December and by now snow had come to the Minnesota woods. Finally Hansen reached the spot where he had tangled with the Iceman. In the article he describes how he tripped over a snow-covered log which-horror upon horror-turned out to be the creature he had shot a month or two earlier-frozen stiff !!

Hansen felt that it was too dangerous to leave the corpse where he found it because it might be traced to him. So, naturally, he hauled it back to his married quarters at the Air Force camp and stuck it in his deep-freeze where of course no one could conceivably trace it to him. Mrs. Hansen agreed to throw out all her carefully preserved produce and substitute the Iceman, suitably folded. Mr Hansen then told his wife “let's not tell a single person about this. We'll just leave it there until spring.” In the event, the Iceman spent the next seven years folded in a receptacle intended primarily for beefsteaks and garden peas.

In 1967 Hansen had had a replica made in Hollywood. He stated that the hairs were inserted individually by a special technique by Pete and Betty Corrall (whose names had been given to George Berklacy, the Smithsonian Press Officer, when we were attempting to track down the provenance of the model).

It was this model that during the 1967 season was displayed on the midways of the nation. In 1968 Hansen felt the time had come to switch to the 'original' (although why he should want to do so is obscure, supposing his Saga story were true, unless it was based on the assumption that the last place anybody would look for a real corpse would be in a carnival exhibit).

When, at the end of 1968, Sanderson and Heuvelmans saw the creature and reported on it, Hansen felt the wisest course for him, in order to avoid the inquisition of scientists, federal authorities and so on, was to switch the bodies again; so back into the show coffin went the model and the 'original' was spirited away to an unknown hiding place where, presumably, it lies to this day unseen, unmourned and probably if real, - -smelling to high heaven.

This is Hansen's story, and it is one that has considerable parallels with my own reconstruction, which was written over a year prior to the publication of Hansen's article. My reconstruction, let it be said, was an in-house memorandum and never published at the time, but I now have the Smithsonian Institution's permission to do so.

The major difference of course is that in my interpretation there never was an 'original'. The discrepancy between my reconstruction and Hansen's story is not so great as it might seem for, in his concluding paragraph, Hansen indicates that he expects many people to brand his account as pure romance. He adds, 'Possibly it is, I am not under oath and should the situation dictate, I will deny very word of it.' This statement and the article's subtitle -'Fact or Fiction--argues strongly against it being an article of faith.

Why did Hansen write this transparently dubious account? Not for money, apparently, as he categorically states that he is not receiving a single penny from Saga Magazine. For purely altruistic reasons? -Perhaps.

It is conceivable that his conscience is the clearer for this quasi-confession, who knows? Personally, I don't believe a word of it, but I do think he should get the Barnum Award for the second year running.

© Dr. John Napier, Anthropologist and 1973 Director of the Primate Biology Programs at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Napier, Dr. John Russell (1917 -1987) was a leading primatologist/anthropologist: At the time his book Bigfoot, The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth & Reality was written, Napier was Professor of Primate
Biology at the University of London. His early work on human walking and hand function led him into the study of prehuman and early human fossils from South and East Africa. From there, Dr. Napier served as Director of the Primate Biology Program at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
_____
1970 The Roots of Mankind Smithsonian Institution Press


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