The Minnesota Iceman was a man-like creature frozen in a block of ice. It was displayed at shopping malls, state fairs, and carnivals in the United States and Canada in the 1960s and early 1970s and promoted as the legendary "missing link".
It has been described as male, human-like, 6 ft (~1.8 m) tall, hairy, with large hands and feet, very dark brown hair about 3 - 4 inches (~9 cm) long, and a flattened nose. One of its arms appeared to be broken and one of its eyes appeared to have been knocked out of its socket, allegedly by a bullet that was supposed to have entered the animal's head from behind. Although cryptozoologists have suggested the Minnesota Iceman was a Neanderthal, Bigfoot Yeti, or even a frozen prehistoric human. Mainstream scientists sadly say that it was most likely a hoax. Promoter and exhibitor Frank Hansen claimed the Minnesota Iceman was discovered in the region of Siberia and that he was acting as its caretaker for an absentee owner he described as an "eccentric California millionaire". Touring carnivals and fairs with the exhibit, Hansen was once reportedly detained by Canadian customs officials, who were concerned he was transporting a cadaver.
The Sasquatch that almost made it to the Smithsonian
While searching for evidence of Bigfoot in 1968, cryptozoologists Ivan Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans, reportedly examined the Iceman in Hansen's house trailer in Minnesota, and concluded it was a genuine creature, saying they found "putrefaction where some of the flesh had been exposed from the melted ice."
In 1969, Heuvelmans wrote an article in a Belgian scientific journal about the Iceman suggesting that it was a new species with Neanderthal affinities called Homo pongoides, and theorized it was shot and killed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Prompted by Heuvelman's naming the Iceman Homo pongoides, the FBI was informed that the subject might potentially be a human murder victim, but the agency did not investigate.
Sanderson, then science editor for Argosy magazine, authored an article about the Iceman in the April 1969 issue that featured the headline, "Is this the missing link between man and the apes?" Sanderson also spoke about the Iceman in television appearances, and contacted primatologist John Napier, asking him to investigate it under the official auspices of Smithsonian Institution. Hansen subsequently withdrew the Minnesota Iceman from public inspection, saying the withdrawal was on orders from its California-based owner. Napier, in conjunction with the Smithsonian, made preliminary investigations of Hansen's affairs, finding that Hansen had commissioned the creation of the Iceman from a West Coast company in 1967, leading Napier to conclude there was only ever one Iceman latex model, repositioned and refrozen between appearances. Napier stated that "The Smithsonian Institution…is satisfied that the creature is simply a carnival exhibit made of latex rubber and hair…the 'original' model and the present so-called 'substitute' are one and the same."