In 1964, a young Hunter S. Thompson went to the Ketchum, Idaho, home of Ernest Hemingway, who, three years prior, had shot himself.
Thompson was there to investigate the suicide for a now-defunct national weekly, but he ended up leaving Ketchum with more than just a story: He also left with some mounted antlers, a bit of taxidermy that he’d stolen from the Hemingway house after getting “caught up in the moment,” his widow, Anita Thompson, told BroBible.
The antlers are, apparently, the result of one of Hemingway’s famed hunts, and hung in Thompson’s garage until recently, when Anita Thompson decided to return them.
So she drove them back to the Ketchum property, which is now owned by a nature conservancy. There, she met the current owners of the home, who were “warm and tickled” by the gesture, she said, before later hearing from Hemingway’s family.
The antlers will now be shipped to New York, where Sean Hemingway, a grandson, will take possession permanently.
Anita Thompson said that her husband never talked about the stolen antlers much, mostly out of shame. He was also, potentially, worried about copycats.
“He wrote that piece of paper that he stuck to the door [at his home] that’s still there that said ‘Please don’t steal from this home, by the management,’” she told BroBible. “You can’t expect people to behave well in your own home if you have a piece of stolen art.”