What is a Hodag?

by Wisconsin River Cruises


According to Wikipedia and local historians:
In 1893 newspapers reported the discovery of a Hodag in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It had “the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end”. The reports were instigated by well-known Wisconsin timber cruiser and prankster Eugene Shepard, who rounded up a group of local people to capture the animal. The group reported that they needed to use dynamite to kill the beast. A photograph of the remains of the charred beast was released to the media. It was “the fiercest, strangest, most frightening monster ever to set razor sharp claws on the earth. It became extinct after its main food source, all white bulldogs, became scarce in the area.

Because of the legendary hoax that Mr. Shepard created, Rhinelander has embraced the Hodag as part of its heritage, community and brand. If you drive along the streets of Rhinelander you will find statues, business names and clothing all giving the Hodag its fame. Here are few samples of the “Hodags” that can be found in our area.

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