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Ol' Rip (Horned Toad)
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Animal
    (circa 1897-January 19, 1929)
    Born in Texas
    Named after legendary fictional snoozer Rip Van Winkle
    Horned lizard (toad) placed in a cornerstone of the Eastland County Courthouse in Texas with other items in 1897 as part of a time capsule
    Cornerstone opened on February 18,1928 as the courthouse was being torn down and found to be alive through hibernation
    Speculation runs between miracle (31 year hibernation) and hoax (another toad was quickly substituted)
    Died of pneumonia 11 months after cornerstone recovery and resides at the new courthouse (under lock and key)
    Court clerk Ernest Wood took his kid's pet horned toad and put it in the cornerstone as a joke.
    In 1962 John Connally, running for Texas governor, did a photo op with him by holding him by a back leg, which promptly snapped off.
    His body has been toad-napped twice, once in 1964 and a second time in 1971 when he went missing for a year before the culprit wrote where he could be found.
    The culprit demanded the toad be deemed a hoax, and when no such statement was made he gave it up, but not without some speculation the toad was substitute.
    Hundreds cheered when his seemingly lifeless body was taken from the cornerstone and began to twitch, bat his eyes and sprang to life.
    While it's never been proven it was the same toad, it was never disproven, and science says the feat is against the odds but not impossible.
    Robert Ripley made him a temporary showcase for his 'Ripley's Believe It or Not.'
    He met with U.S. President Calvin Coolidge.
    He might have lived longer but was left in an unheated room during a Texas cold snap and developed breathing problems.
    He was the inspiration for Chuck Jones' singing, dancing Michigan J. Frog character found in a building cornerstone in the 1955 cartoon 'One Froggy Evening' (later the WB mascot).

Credit: Scar Tactics


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