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February 22, 2023 32 min

Old Rip was a reptile with quite a legend. Some people believed that he survived a 31-year entombment in a courthouse cornerstone, and he became celebrity, even gaining an audience with President Calvin Coolidge. But was it all a hoax?


  • “Toad Alive After 31 Years Sealed in Texas Cornerstone.” New York Times. Feb, 20, 1928.
  • “Coolidge Sees Famous Horned Toad of Texas.” The Greenville News. May 4, 1928.
  • “Texas Horned Frog Upsets Scientists.” Times Record News. Feb. 21, 1928.
  • “Horned Lizard Facts.” Texas Parks and Wildlife.,(actually%2C%20its%20eyelid).
  • “RipFest.”
  • “Texas Court Frees Entombed Toad.” New York Times. May 14, 1928.
  • “Experts Are Skeptical About Horned Frog.” Fort Worth Record-Telegram. Feb 21, 1928.
  • “Old Frog Leaps Back Into Case.” Austin American-Statesman. September 29, 1961.
  • House, Boyce. “Amazing Story of Rip Is Told in Its Entirety.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Feb, 13, 1938.
  • “Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum).” Texas Parks and Wildlife.
  • “Eastland Asks Old Rip’s Return.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram. April 18, 1972.
  • “Three-corner Fight Rages for Possession of Eastland’s Reptile.” The Amarillo Globe-Timed. Feb. 27, 1928.
  • “Famous New York Scientist Tells Whopper Frog Tale as Illustration That He Believes Texas Toad Story.” Wichita Falls Times. Feb. 21, 1928.
  • “’Rip,’ Famous Sleeping Horned Toad, Here but Still Drowsy.” Indianapolis Star. May 1, 1928.
  • “Tulsa Barber Aided in Placing Famous ‘Rip’ Frog in Stone.” The Tulsa Tribune. Feb. 21, 1928.
  • “The Spirit of Old Rip to Be Revived.” The Odessa American. Sept. 11, 1977.
  • Donnelly, Claire.” How Curious: What Happened To All Of The ‘Horny Toads’?” KGOU.
  • “Frog Question Acute and Threatens to Become National.” Wichita Daily Times. Feb. 26, 1928.
  • “Doubts Horned Toad Tale.” New York Times. February 21, 1928.
  • Dabney, James. “Letter Reawakens ‘Rip’ Toad Legend.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sept. 10, 1976.

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Holly Frey

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