Minneapolis Residents Offer Theories After Mummified Monkey Found in Department Store

A monkey pictured in India. A mummified monkey was recently found in the Dayton's department store in downtown Minneapolis. Getty Images

A Facebook post from a demolition worker showed the remains of a mummified monkey trapped in the air duct of a historic Minneapolis department store.

Dozens of theories emerged on the Old Minneapolis Facebook page this week as commenters and locals exchanged stories about how the monkey wound up in the building currently under renovation, KMSP-TV first reported. The Dayton's department store dates back to 1902, and former workers and current Minneapolis residents continue to debate the origins of the mysterious mummified monkey. Theories ranged from a pet store escape to tales of 1960s exotic animal sales.

"We continue to find pieces of history in The Dayton's Project as we redevelop the building," spokeswoman Cailin Rogers told American City Business Journals Tuesday. "Unfortunately this was one of the recent discoveries. We don't know the story or origin behind this, but we have been working with local museums to learn more and find homes for artifacts like this."

The Old Minneapolis Facebook post, credited to resident Adam Peterson, claims that workers doing the renovation have also found decades-old Easter eggs and a "stashed stolen wallet."

"By now most of us know that the Dayton's Department Store building on Nicollet Mall is being remodeled and repurposed," reads the Facebook post. "And during the process some surprising and amazing items have been discovered hiding in the (partially) 116-year-old structure, like literal Easter eggs and a stashed stolen wallet (which was returned to its owner!). But a recent find will be hard to top: a long-deceased monkey."

The post continues, "Does anyone know how a monkey would have ended up in the rafters of an urban department store and remain there undisturbed for probably decades? We have some theories, but they are nothing more than speculation. Perhaps some of you Dayton's veterans know something about this? We'd love to solve."

An alleged former worker in the building, Steven Laboe, claimed in one post that a monkey escaped from an eighth-floor pet store in the 1960s. Laboe wrote that building's staff was determined to find the monkey in the ventilation system, but ultimately gave up after detecting an odor linked to the monkey's decomposition.

Regan Murphy, 25, told another theory to the Minneapolis-St. Paul City Pages, claiming that his late father told him a tale about stealing a monkey from a department store display in the 1960s. Murphy claimed that the monkey's repeated defecation in his father's bedroom caused him to return the monkey by setting it free inside the building.

Administrator of the Old Minneapolis Facebook page, Alan Freed, noted the large gash in the monkey's midsection as the potential cause of the monkey's demise.

"If you look at the photo," Freed told KMSP-TV. "There is a definite injury to the body. There is a cut to the body that isn't natural."

Minneapolis-based Gardner Builders, the general contractor for the project, did not immediately respond to Newsweek's calls for comment.