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May 8, 1913: Lake Minnetonka’s nude ‘phantom’ captured

  • Blog Post by: Ben Welter
  • May 9, 2013 - 3:54 PM
 
A century later, a bizarre story like this would generate tens of thousands of page views on a newspaper website. Maybe more, with a little help from Fark. For that, we’ll need a far better headline than the one that topped the original. Whaddya got, people?
 

Cubist in a Station;
Women Get a Fright

 
He Enters Crystal Bay Waiting Room, Clothes in Hand – Women Scream.
 
Capture Man Believed to be “Phantom” Seen in Woods Around Minnetonka.
 
The spooky atmosphere that has prevailed in Crystal bay, Lake Minnetonka, since many residents took to a study of the stars, the Order of Magi and kindred subjects was somewhat dispelled yesterday when a man, now believed to have been the phantom that has been reported from that vicinity, ran into the railway waiting station where a group of young women and girls were waiting for a train. He was unclothed.
 
While the women were screaming the man turned and locked the door of the station. The station agent had not arrived, but a group of women and girls, on their way to the city to work or school, had arrived early.
 
Man Apparently Insane.
 
While the man stood with his back to the wall he glared blankly at the women. Just then Fred White, head of the astrologic camp at Crystal bay, and former justice of peace, heard the screams. He ran to the depot, but found the door locked. White smashed the window and entered. As he reached the floor the man leaped at him, but White was quicker and soon had him in his control. He opened the door and the women went out.
 
Had Clothes With Him.
 
The man had brought some clothing under his arm and White forced him to don it. He then took him to his home and telephoned for Curt Parrish, deputy sheriff.
 
The man said he was John Bieske, that he had a brother living at Excelsior, and that he had been running all night to get away from airships containing men who had been shooting at him for a long time. He hat and shoes were found at Areola, several miles away, where he had left them at the home of Robert Edstrom.
 
For several weeks reports have been reaching Sheriff Langum that a supposed phantom dodged in and out in the woods at various points around the lake. Efforts to catch him failed, but in the capture of Bieske, Sheriff Langum declared his belief that the “phantom” would not appear again for some time at least.
 
The Crystal Bay rail station near Lake Minnetonka in about 1910. (Photo courtesy of mnhs.org)

 

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