Case File: The Skunk Ape
Location: Florida Everglades
Date: 1970s to present
Description: The Skunk Ape is described as an ape-like creature that walks like a human and smells like a skunk.
History: In the Florida Everglades, a mysterious unknown creature has been living there and has been sighted by several people. The sightings started in the late 1960s or early 1970s, and the most occurred during the fall of 1974 in suburban neighborhoods in Dade County. Another sighting was by tour guide John Vickers. On July 17, 1997, he was driving a tour bus when he noticed a hairy creature, standing on its hind legs, cross the road in front of him. Five other people on the bus saw it as well. Two days later, Jan Brack, a real estate agent saw a strange creature crossed the road in front of her car. At first she thought it was a bear, but when she looked more closely she realized that it was not a bear; she has no idea what the creature was. Her neighbor, Vince Doerr, who came down the same road a few minutes later, saw the same creature and actually took a picture of it.
In September of 1998, David Shealy was in the swamp when he saw the creature coming towards him. He took over twenty pictures of the creature. David actually began searching for the creature in 1973 when he and his brother encountered the creature. The creature appears to be a creature similar to Bigfoot in that it looks similar to a large ape and walks on two legs similar to a human. The difference is that this creature smells like a skunk, which is why it is given the name "The Skunk Ape".
Tracker T.L. Riggs was looking for the Skunk Ape when he located several hair samples on a broken tree branch. DNA tests at Trinity University in Texas showed that the hairs were not from a dog, cat, skunk, bear, chimpanzee, gorilla, human, or from any type of costume. Some believe that the hairs are actually from a Skunk Ape and that the testing done will prove what the creature actually is.
Investigations: Archaeologist Bob Carr examined the photographs taken by David Shealy. He believed that the stature, size, and motion of the creature did not appear to be that of a human being. The gait appeared to be primate-like.
Loren Coleman has researched several of the Skunk Ape sightings, including the Myakka photographs. T.L. Riggs studied the footprints that were left by the Skunk Ape and determined that the creature weighed over 300 pounds.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the April 9, 1999 episode.
Results: Unresolved. Further DNA testing on the hairs was inconclusive. In 2000, a woman in Florida photographed an animal that had apparently been stealing apples from a basket. She believed that the creature is either a Skunk Ape or an orangutan that escaped from the zoo. However, the story could possibly have been a hoax because the woman has never came forward. Instead, she told her story through a letter that came with the photographs, which are nicknamed the Myakka photographs.
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- Tracking Florida's Skunk Ape - Skeptical Inquirer
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- Meet The Florida Skunk Ape, The Sunshine State’s Answer To Bigfoot