September 29, 2016
For many people, the long awaited English translation of Bernard Heuvelmans’ Neanderthal: The Strange Saga of the Minnesota Iceman is finally satisfying a 42-year itch, and how rewarding that has proved to be! Just how important is the case of the Minnesota Iceman to cyprtozoology? Jerome Clark, in his review in Fortean Times, finds the perfect analogy. “In one way,” he writes, “the Minnesota Iceman episode is the Roswell incident of cryptozoology: a glimpse of what at first seemed proof of an extraordinary anomaly before the evidence was snatched away, to fade into secrecy, confusion, and endless dispute… [But] with the Minnesota Iceman, the ostensible evidence’s existence was known and studied almost immediately by zoologists. They concluded that the body encased in ice was of a recently slain hairy man with pre-modern characteristics.” Nick Redfern in his review of the book at Mysterious Universe also ranks the case as one of the most important in cryptozoology: “…this is an excellent study of one of Cryptozoology’s biggest and most enduring enigmas: that of the Minnesota Iceman….as [Bernard Heuvelmans and Ivan Sanderson] follow the trail, the pair comes across not unlike monster-hunting equivalents of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson…the story is so entertaining that you don’t actually have to be a fan of Cryptozoology, at all, to read it. Anyone and everyone with an interest in how and why people pursue enigmas will find Neanderthal to be highly engaging reading…A tale of a man-beast, models and mystery, Neanderthal is one of the most entertaining books I have read in a long time – and for many reasons!”
Finally! It’s here: Neanderthal: The Strange Saga of the Minnesota Iceman by Bernard Heuvelmans. It’s taken 42 years for the only full-length story of the Minnesota Iceman to appear in English. That’s rather curious since the Minnesota Iceman is the most popular topic in the field next to the Patterson Bigfoot film. And Heuvelmans’ book about the frozen corpse of an extremely hairy man-like creature being exhibited in the Midwest in the late 1960s/early 1970s is a riveting read. The zoologist’s detailed inquiry into the origin of the specimen triggered a bizarre adventure involving the FBI, the Smithsonian, the Mafia, the Vietnam War, drug smuggling, Hollywood, and a secretive millionaire, giving much of the account the flavor of a detective story. We have Paul LeBlond to thank for translating the book, Philippe Marlin at Editions de l’Oeil du Sphinx for permission to publish this translation, and Loren Coleman for writing an amazing afterword that fills in the story from 1974 to 2016.