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World IN BRIEF / CANADA

Groundhog Corpse Was a R.I.P.-Off

February 04, 1999|From Times Wire Reports

A day after Groundhog Day observers learned of the death of Wiarton Willie, officials admitted that they had switched the corpse of Canada's beloved groundhog with a stuffed impostor. Many newspapers ran a photograph of an albino groundhog purported to be Willie, clutching a carrot and lying face-up in a small coffin. Willie died at the ripe age of 22. Groundhog Day organizer Bill Walker said Willie's remains, discovered days earlier in an advanced state of decomposition, were not presentable for public viewing. The impostor was a previous Willie. Tradition dictates that if a groundhog sees its shadow Feb. 2, there will be another six weeks of winter.

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