Solving the Mystery of the Sheboygan Dead Horse Photo

Is this where Tom Green got his inspiration?

A 2007 Calendar photo, taken from the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center archives of Wisconsin, sparked some humorous comments and serious questions, first in the community – and then across the internet.

Sheboygan Press newspaper reporter Janet Ortegon first wrote an article to see if the mystery could be solved. Why was a man in a top hat and tails sitting on a dead horse at the intersection of Indiana and South Eighth sometime in the late 19th century?

I don’t think the original article can be found on the internet anymore. The last place that it could be seen was on the google cache. I haven’t checked the wayback machine yet.

There are some theories about what is actually taking place in this photo.

This first theory converged on an August 1900 cyclone that hit Sheboygan midday – when the famous Gentry Brothers “Dog and Pony Show“ was in town. Combining news reports from all over the country, as well as the “20 years ago today“ type recollections, we found that the animals were scattered during the storm. In addition, ringmasters of such shows did do the “play dead” stunts with their horses, so it seemed possible that either a horse did get killed (even though multiple reports said no people were killed, though there was extensive property damage, as many buildings were destroyed) – or it was seen as an opportunity for a publicity stunt.

A very interesting article via Ancestral Manor.

One thought on “Solving the Mystery of the Sheboygan Dead Horse Photo”

  1. I think that it is a tired guy on a dead horse. I think a bench would work better, but I am guessing that this guy must have a bit of a sense of humor. I often wonder what pictures will be taken of me now that will be used for future enjoyment when I am dead. Some will probably come to haunt me in my grave.

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