Skunk Apes or Swamp Apes are back in the news again. A little new material is available, but I thought it was a good time for a little review. The Skunk Ape or Swamp Ape is an unknown animal which seems to prefer the warmer lowlands of the Southern USA, and sightings overlap with (and are often confused with) more usual Bigfoot-types of reports. The ape type is especially common in parts of Florida and Texas, but in both places there are also more definite sightings of a more humanlike (Neanderthal-like) being. The tracks of both are very distinctive, the human category having human feet and the ape category having ape feet.
One of the two alleged Myaka Skunk Ape photographs taken in 2000
HistorySightings of the skunk ape go back to before Europeans arrived. Indian tribes such as the Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole all told stories of a creature that stood 5–8 feet tall and gave off a pungent odor. When Europeans arrived, they learned of the legends from the Native Americans. They reported that these creatures were dangerous towards white people and friendly towards the Indians. A famous example of this reportedly occurred in the fall of 1822. One cold night, two hunters were awoken by a fierce roar near their camp and fled leaving all of their belongings behind. They made it back to their village and told their friends of their experience. The villagers formed a posse to hunt down the creature. They searched the woods for several days armed with rifles, pistols, swords, and knives. After a week of searching, they reportedly found huge footprints in the mud close to where the hunters had their experience. Encouraged by this new find, they made camp and planned to continue searching the next morning. Later that night however, the creature attacked the camp. The creature was reportedly hit repeatedly but still continued to attack. The posse fought back but the creature killed several of the men before they finally managed to kill it. The survivors examined the creature, which they claimed had jet black hair, was 12–13 feet tall and weighed over 1200 lbs. Fearing that the sounds of the battle would attract other creatures, the survivors fled back to the village without bothering to take any evidence of the creature. Historians and biologists argue whether this event really happened. Some say its just a story passed from generation to generation. Others say it happened, but the animal was possibly an unusually large black bear.
Myaka photographsIn 2000, two photographs of an alleged ape, said to be the Skunk Ape, were taken anonymously and mailed to the Sarasota Sheriff's Department in Florida. They were accompanied by a letter from a woman claiming to have photographed it on the edge of her backyard. The photographer claimed that on three different nights the ape had entered her yard to take apples from a bushel basket on her porch. She was convinced it was an escaped orangutan. The police were dispatched to the house numerous times but when they arrived the Skunk Ape, also known as the stink ape, was gone. The pictures have become known to Bigfoot enthusiasts as the "skunk ape photos".
Loren Coleman is the primary researcher on the photographs, having helped track down the two photographs to an "Eckerd photo lab at the intersection of Fruitville and Tuttle Roads" in Sarasota County, Florida.
OrganizationsThough there are many searches/expeditions for the skunk ape, there is an official skunk ape headquarters in Ochopee, Florida. This skunk ape hotspot is run by David Shealy and his brother, Jack.
Airing in fall 2012, Skunk Ape, starring Dave Shealy will premiere on the travel channel.
- Lennon, Vince (2003-10-22). "Is a Skunk Ape Loose in Campbell County?". WATE 6 News (WorldNow). http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?S=1492976. Retrieved 2006-12-23.
- "The abominable swampman". BBC News. 1998-03-06. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/62786.stm. Retrieved 2006-12-23.
- Coleman, Loren. "Myaka Skunk Ape "Letter"". http://www.lorencoleman.com/letter.html.
- Newton, Michael (2005). "Skunk Ape". Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide. McFarland & Company, Inc.. pp. 430–431. ISBN 0-7864-2036-7.
- Coleman, Loren. "The Myakka "Skunk Ape" photographs". http://lorencoleman.com/myakka.html.
- Newton, Michael (2005). "Skunk Ape". Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide. McFarland & Company, Inc.. ISBN 0-7864-2036-7.
- Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America (NY: Paraview Pocket-Simon and Schuster, 2003, ISBN 0-7434-6975-5), which contains primary historical material on Apes, Skunk Apes, and the Myakka photographs.
- The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe, Illust. Harry Trumbore, ISBN 0-380-80263-5
The Material from Wikipedia is shared under the same understanding as the rest of the material on Wikipedia, as reference from various sources and free to all for educational purposes. As a comparison, I have added a Skunk Ape drawingon of a rescaled Heuvelmans reconstruction of the Abominable Snowman (the creature he called the small Yeti, more ordinarily called a Mighu or Mi-Gorangutan, the Skunk ape is often said to be particularly like an Orangutan and often reddish in colourore manlike creature also found alongside the Skunk ape (and often called Skunk Ape by mistake) is more usually darker in colour as an adult.