Geographical Index > United States > Florida > Palm Beach County > Article # 697
Media Article # 697
Wednesday, November 19, 1975
Waiting for Skunk Ape to Surface Again
By Marilyn Alva
Palm Beach Post
The Pacific Northwest has its Bigfoot. The Himalayas has its Snowman. And South Florida has its Skunk Ape.
Although there have been no Skunk Ape sightings for several months, those who believe the monster-like creature exists are convinced it will surface again.
Meanwhile, it is reported a movie is being made of the Skunk Ape somewhere near Davie in which the dark, hairy creature rapes a woman. Plans for the movie could not be confirmed.
Believers say the Skunk Ape, which reportedly lives in the Everglades, is a nonviolent vegetarian about 8 feet tall, with a stubby neck and muzzly mouth.
The Skunk Ape is said to have toes instead of claws and to walk on hind legs. Footprints have measured up to 18 inches long. Its foul odor accounts for its name.
The Skunk Ape was last sighted last spring by several youngsters in a wooded area off Gun Club Road in West Palm Beach. About one year ago a security guard at the Wellington Community Development off Southern Boulevard said he shot and wounded a creature resembling the legendary Skunk Ape.
Since the spring, however, police report no calls on the Skunk Ape. "We haven't seen him lately", said a Belle Glades police officer. West Palm Beach police and sheriff's deputies also report a lull in Skunk Ape calls.
Not deterred by the lack of concrete evidence a Skunk Ape has not been captured - are Hialeah Gardens Police Chief Ray Bennett and Miamian Robert Morgan.
Bennett firmly believes there are Skunk Apes and encourages hunters in his district near the Glades not to shoot them.
What keeps Bennett going is an incident that happened seven years ago near his Glades area city of 3,000. Bennett says:
"We got a call one night to go out to 20-Mile bend, where there's a trash heap. We had to subdue a little subject about 3 feet tall. Its skin was black and furry and it wouldn't talk. It just mumbled and held on to your legs. I decided before we got to the hospital that it wasn't completely human."
Unfortunately, Bennett says, Jackson Memorial Hospital has no record of the "little subject". But since Skunk Apes have been spotted in recent years, Bennett says the creature he caught that night was "possibly a child skunk ape".
Morgan has been involved in expeditions to the Pacific Northwest in search of Bigfoot as well as adventures in the Florida Everglades and swamps for the Skunk Ape.
Morgan used to say he was affiliated with the National Wildlife Association and he was in a way but the relationship soon soured. The association had administered funds to Morgan from a South Florida family interested in his work.
"We are very upset with this gentleman. We requested he never use our name again", said a researcher with the National Wildlife Association. She said her organization was not pleased with the way Morgan conducted his investigation, but she declined to elaborate.
Morgan could not be reached for comment, which is not a surprise since Bennett and the Wildlife official says he travels frequently raising money and interest for his campaigns. Bennett says Morgan's case is justifiable and thinks of him as a "highly intelligent scientist or ecology man".
"He claimed he found some footprints and he got three hairs from this monster". Bennett says Morgan says the hairs were retrieved from an automobile that hit the Skunk Ape several months ago near the Jones Fish Camp in Dade County.
The driver said he hit a 'big black monster' his report lead to a search of the area by about 10 police officers and a helicopter. The creature never was found.
Bennett says he "still goes out occasionally and looks for Skunk Apes. "This man Morgan says they are clannish".
Smithsonian Institute primate specialist Dr. Richard Thorington said he received a report of the South Florida Skunk Ape but decided not to investigate it. "Scientists don't like to deal with eyewitness reports", he said. People are able to see things that don't exist."
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