I’ve crossed paths with Bigfoot on this site before. That was of course your more traditional Bigfoot, but there are in fact several varieties. In Asia, you’ve got the Abominable Snowman, or Yeti, and in the Florida Everglades, you’ve got a beast known as the Skunk Ape. Odds are you can already guess which one this review is about.
Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAd-4dhjiVM
We start with Robert Stack describing the everglades in a sensual manner, before introducing us to David Shealy. Shealy has spent eight months sitting all alone in a high chair in the middle of the Everglades. Why? He’s on the lookout for the elusive skunk ape, of course.
Shealy’s obsession with the skunk ape began in the 1970’s, when he and his brother encountered the creature while roaming around the Everglades. In case you’re wondering, wondering around in swamps is what they do for fun in all the parts of Florida besides the major cities. I must insist that you go to the 1:33 mark of the video, because Robert Stack yells “Skunk Ape!” with a hint of sarcasm, and it is just brilliant. He then appears on a staircase and fires off a rapid introduction before posing the question of whether or not the skunk ape is real, or a product of hot, steamy nights in the Everglades. Oh Robert, behave yourself.
Next, we’re introduced to John Vickers, who runs bus tours through the Everglades and he regales us with the story of how the skunk ape once crossed the road in front of his bus. Sounds strangely familiar. Mr. Vickers was unaware of what the creature really was, and told his passengers that it was probably just the old man that lives out in the Everglades. Personally, I’d be more apprehensive about a crazy old man than Bigfoot’s Floridian cousin.
We then meet Jan Brock, who had a similar run in with the creature. It crossed her path as she was driving to work early in the morning. At first she dismissed it as just a bear, but then realized it something was a little off. Probably the whole “walking around like a human” thing.
Jan didn’t want to seem crazy, so she didn’t tell anyone about her encounter. As fate would have it however, her neighbor encountered the creature later that day on his ride to work. The neighbor had sense enough (or is it lack of sense?) to run after the creature, shout at it and snap a picture. The picture isn’t exactly helpful in identifying what the creature is, but it’s still more compelling evidence than the rambling testimony of a bunch of swamp people.
Speaking of rambling swamp people, we return back to David Shealy, who’s still in the middle of his 8 month long high chair vigil. He tells us of a time where he dozed off, only to be awoken by the sound of something approaching him. It was of course, the skunk ape, and he began frantically snapping pictures of it.
Shealy decided he needed someone to confirm his evidence, so he turned to Bob Carr, an archaeologist. I’m not entirely sure why you’d consult an archaeologist on a matter like this, but men of science must be hard to come by down in the swamp. Carr’s “expert” opinion on the matter is that the photos are compelling evidence that would seem to confirm the skunk ape’s existence. You wouldn’t doubt an archaeologist would you? Okay, maybe you would. But would you doubt an archaeologist with a sweet ass moustache?
Speaking of sweet ass moustaches, meet T.L. Riggs, Everglades Tracker.
Bob Carr brought in Mr. Riggs to further investigate the skunk ape, because apparently this was beyond the limits of his archeological knowledge. Riggs found footprints he believes were from the creature, and also began collecting hair samples from trees and bushes. This is one of those times where Unsolved Mysteries actually aides in the investigation, and sends the hair samples to a university for study.
Unfortunately, the results of the tests are never revealed. I assume there were plans to do a follow up episode that just never came to pass. Robert Stack does pop up to tell us that the hair samples were in fact real, and not part of a gorilla suit, and that they also did not belong to bears, gorillas, chimpanzees, skunks, dogs, cats or humans. That’s a lot of information from incomplete test results.
If you’re looking for an update on the skunk ape, the most recent news I can find on the creature came from 2000, when a woman snapped several photos of a creature stealing apples from her back yard. You can see her very clear and very interesting photos here: http://lorencoleman.com/myakka.html
Even better than the pictures is the letter that came along with them. The letter is written by an unidentified senior citizen who dares to ask the question “Is someone missing an orangutan?” This letter is pure gold, and everyone should absolutely take a moment to read it: http://www.lorencoleman.com/letter.html