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Hodag Marker in Rhinelander Park

By on March 18, 2011

The Hodag marker was erected in Rhinelander’s Hodag Park in 1973 to honor the quirky and undying legend.

It reads:

The Hodag

This mythical creature is the official symbol of Rhinelander. It was created in 1896 by “Gene” Shepard, Rhinelander pioneer timber cruiser and famous prankster. Shepard claimed to have discovered the animal in the woods near Rice Creek. He “captured” it by blocking the mouth of its den with rocks and rendering it unconscious with a chloroformed sponge on a long pole. Actually fashioned by a skilled woodcarver named Luke Kearney, the original hodag was seven feet long and thirty inches high, black and hairy, with two horns on its head, twelve horns along its spine, and short powerful legs armed with long claws.

For years Shepard exhibited the hodag at county fairs in a dimly lighted tent, controlling its movements with wires. Many spectators believed the animal was real. Shepard would assure them that he had captured it on “Section 37” and that it ate “nothing but white bulldogs and those only on Sundays.”

Rhinelander, WI Hodag Park legend marker

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Charlie Hintz

About Charlie Hintz

Artist, musician, designer. General deviant. Collector and curator of the bizarre at Cult of Weird. For the latest weird Wisconsin news and haunted places visit Wisconsin Frights.

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