Thursday, April 2, 2009

Palm Beach Celebrates Skunk Ape

Florida is a hotspot for Bigfoot right now. As I noted in an earlier post, there is a contest backed by Ripley's believe or not!, Haunted Attraction Magazine and Shadows in the Dark Internet Radio.

The 1980 photo above shows Marvin Lewis (left) and Ernie Milner, both former Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies, with memorabilia about the Skunk Ape. With the photo the Palm Beach Post celebrates Florida's answer to Bigfoot is a 7- to 12-foot, 300- to 700-pound human-ape thing that really stinks.

To read the article expand the full post below or read the original article at the Palm Beach Post here.

Skunk Ape: Area's own stinky Big Foot
THE WAY WE WERE: Something stinky in the swamp
By Eliot Kleinberg
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Readers: In honor of April Fools' Day, we bring you: the Skunk Ape!

Florida's answer to Bigfoot is a 7- to 12-foot, 300- to 700-pound human-ape thing that really stinks.

It supposedly hides in muddy, abandoned alligator caves, thus the smell.
For more than two centuries, people have sworn they saw it dash across the Everglades or retreat from a rural road.

In Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, barking dogs, petrified security guards and bug-eyed kids bear testament.

There are photographs, grainy and distant, but attested to by their bearers.
More than 75 sightings were reported in Florida in the past two decades.

The scare had started when an amateur archaeologist claimed he'd seen the thing in southwest Florida's Big Cypress Swamp.

But it was concentrated locally in the 1970s, when South Florida then had more open space and about half the people it does now.

A local dispatcher said he was advising lawmen that locals were so jumpy the cops should identify themselves when they approached homes.

"I know it exists," Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy Marvin Lewis said in 1980.
He said he and fellow deputy Ernie Milner made some 50 forays to the wild.

They said they shot something in 1974 west of Lantana that grunted and fled back to the dark. Another time, they found mysterious hair on a barbed-wire fence.

Lewis put in 27 years and retired in 1997. He hasn't changed his mind.

He said recently that any along the coast were long ago driven west by encroaching civilization.

"I couldn't point to a photo and say, 'That's what I saw,'" he said. "But cops act on investigation and evidence. And the evidence says something was there."

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