Favored local crank and bear wrangler John E. Meyers, A.K.A "Spikehorn" peers around the corner of his ramshackle "bear's den" in this real photo postcard circa 1935. He seems to be waiting for potential lawsuits…and yes, there were maulings. Welcome to Michigan!
Maybe that primitive rendering of a child petting the hungry stomach of a big one wasn't too smart. Kids COULD shake bear hands, and no, there wasn't a "Don't pet the bears unless you are THIS tall" sign in the yard.
Spikehorn's tombstone "bears" his name and the title "Central Michigan Naturalist" but they omitted "inventor of the sugar beet lifter" whatever that is.
In 1937 the Owasso (Michigan) press reported Spikehorn was providing entertainment with trained bears at the founding of an early Michigan conservation club, so he must have had a den on wheels too.
The bear dens burned down in 1957, and Spikehorn spent the last two of his 87 years in a rest home in Gladwin, MI.
In 1994, T. M. Sellers wrote a book on Spikehorn, and later one of the cubs born in his den grew up to become famous as "Cubbie" in a children's book.
Every few years a Michigan writer claws up the tale of Spikehorn, and this is mine…but he is increasingly known only by those who attend postcard shows.
See Spikehorn Meyers in action (in color!) below.
Spikehorn Meyers Harrison Michigan Real Photo Postcard circa 1935? Collection Jim Linderman
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