Geographical Index > United States > Florida > Palm Beach County > Article # 692
Media Article # 692
Article submitted by Investigator R. Monteith
Thursday, April 18, 1974
Skunk Ape Sighted in Suburbs
By Joyce Heard
The Palm Beach Post
Could the elusive Florida skunk ape have forsaken his Everglades home for the more civilized life of suburban West Palm Beach?
Seven youngsters reported seeing what looked like a skunk ape in a wooded area on Ranch House Road near their homes.
They said they saw it first Tuesday and then again yesterday.
"I may be a little kid but I know what I saw," said 9 year-old Laurie Holmes.
Laurie and the six other youngsters all described the animal they saw as between six and seven feet tall with dark matted hair, long arms, sharp teeth and four toes.
"It could be a man just dressed up in a suit, but I don't think it was," said Tommy Streeter, 10. "I saw him running on his hind legs with his arms curled out and when he turned around I saw a white streak on his back."
Two boys, Tommy Streeter and Mike Edwards, reported seeing the skunk ape on Tuesday from a distance of about 100 yards.
"We were walking down the path and we saw something black and hairy in the bushes. He made some deep scratchy sounds from the throat and we got scared and started running," Mike Edwards said.
The two also reported seeing the skunk ape reaching out the window of an abandoned shack located next to the path in the woods they sometimes take on the way to the Meadow Park Elementary School.
"He had bare skin on his knuckles and he just reached out the window," Mike said.
Mike's mother, June Edwards, said she might have overreacted when the children came home and reported seeing the ape. "But if something's wrong in the area where our kids go back and forth to school then I don't think it hurts to check it out," she said.
She called the Sheriff's Department about the incident.
Mrs. Rita Carr, whose son Scott also reported seeing the ape, was inclined not to believe the children's stories. "These kids have heard about the skunk ape and they have very vivid imaginations. It shows you how kids will go through mass hysteria just like grownups", she said.
The Florida skunk ape, so named because many of those who claim to have seen him say he smells like a skunk and has the white stripe, has been sighted off and on throughout South Florida since 1971.
The most recent prior incident involving the skunk ape took place on Jan. 9 when a man named Richard Smith reported hitting an ape-like creature with his car on U.S. 27 west of Hollywood.
Captions with photos:
"Tommy Street (left) and Richard McDonald Cautiously Explore the Area of Their Sighting
"Ronda Williams (left) and Tommy Street (right) try to describe the skunk ape they say they saw. The best, seen by seven children altogether, is said to be six to seven feet tall, covered with hair and have four toes on each foot.
"Artwork by Jimmy Johnston"