Soapy Smith's Petrified Man
was in Creede that Soapy produced one of his more bizarre methods of
obtaining wealth and fame. He introduced "McGinty," the petrified
to have purchased him from some miners who had unearthed him in the
outskirts of Creede.
thin dime was all one needed to see McGinty, the Petrified Man...Games
played while waiting in line cost extra. McGinty was in Creede camp for
only a short time, and then moved to Denver.
Soapy and the other sporting
and saloon men recieved word that Denver was relaxing its restrictions
on drinking and gambling. It appears that Denver suffered more from
imposing the reforms when so many of the businesses that produced city
revenue had left for Creede. The only way to get them all back was to
allow them to operate as they had done in the past, without
restrictions. Soapy was welcomed back to Denver as the city fathers knew
he would bring most of his associates back with him. It was perfect
timing for the gamblers and saloon men to leave Creede because on June
5, 1892 the entire main business district of Creede was destroyed in a
Soapy's Orleans Club was one
of the buildings lost in the fire. Creede did attempt to rebuild, but
never again reached the status it had when Soapy Smith ran the town.
The following was published
in November 1960 in Real West magazine by George Malcom Majors
under the title, Soapy Smith's Greatest Hoax.
Although the old Creede
newspapers were pretty detailed about McGinty apparently few
of the early biographers were able to find copies of the
As so usual, many authors
simply made up their own information.
here for more to this story
The famed con man
Soapy Smith had a petrified man that he "found" in 1892 in
Creede, Colorado. It went on display in Denver in his
auction house (to draw in victims) and he sold it in 1895 in
It is now on
display in Seattle at the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. I have a
scan of the photo taken of it in the 1890s and it is
definitely the same as the one in Seattle.
Turns out it is a
real human, intentionally petrified. I believe I know the
identity of the corpse. Everything I have is sourced and
published in my book, Alias Soapy Smith.
only story I can't confirm is the identity of the corpse, but
there was a man shot by Soapy and the gang in Creede, who
supposedly escaped wounded.