Over the course of the demonstrations, two more pigs were taken into custody, including a sow dubbed Mrs. Pigasus.

The three little pigs were transferred to the Anti-Cruelty Society, where they received frequent visits from concerned Yippies. Eventually, the Pigasus family — by then a political dynasty in its own right — ended up on a farm west of the city.

The Chicago Seven

As for the Yippies, their troubles didn’t end when the convention was over. Richard Nixon won the 1968 election, and after he took office in 1969, eight YIP members were charged with federal crimes, including crossing state lines to incite a riot.

The trial of the Chicago Seven, as they came to be known, was followed closely by TV news and activists alike. (An eighth defendant, Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, was severed from the trial, and sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court for disrupting the proceedings.)

A circus-like atmosphere pervaded the courthouse during the trial. At one point the judge ordered Seale bound to a chair and gagged.

During testimony, a Yippie defendant — the folk singer Phil Ochs — was asked by his lawyer, William Kuntsler: “Were you informed by an officer that the pig had squealed on you?”

Five of the seven YIP defendants were convicted of various crimes, including contempt of court. But in 1972, the Justice Department reversed all charges, and the Chicago Seven walked free. (Seale remained in prison.) In 1976, outside of the Republican National Convention, Yippies unveiled a new presidential campaign: “Nobody for President.”

The tale of Pigasus lives on as an enduring piece of political theater.

He helped pave the way for other joke candidates, including Vermin Supreme, who wears a boot on his head and whose platform promises everyone a free pony, and Lord Buckethead, a British politician who ran against Theresa May in 2017.

Retro Report spoke to witnesses who saw Pigasus first hand for our story, “Lessons from the 1968 Democratic Convention: Under the Shadow of Protests,” above. You can find our series on the history of American political conventions here.

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