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CRYPTOZOOLOGY

Cryptozoology is the study of unexplained and alledged sightings of strange creatures which are not documented by standard zoology. On this page you will find bizarre reports of strange creatures observed in Florida. Scroll down and read how Florida is stranger than you think!!


THE MOST FREQUENTLY REPORTED STRANGE CREATURE IN FLORIDA, IS THE SKUNK APE. Bizarre stories of encounters with a giant, shaggy haired, man-like ape, who smells like rotted cabbage, has circulated through Florida's history and folklore for hundreds of years. In recent times, encounters with this creature have been reported in newspapers and on television news. Those who have claimed encounters with the Skunk Ape, have provided descriptions of what is called the Big Foot, or Sasquatch, of the Northwest United States. The Florida Skunk Ape, also called the Swamp Monkey, Bardin Booger, among other names, is said to stand 7 to 8 feet tall, estimated to weigh 300 to 600 pounds, with long shaggy hair and a man-like face. In virtually all cases, the strange critter is said to emit a foul odor which smells like a spoiled cabbage, or a skunk. Hench the name Skunk Ape. There are numerous Indian legends in Florida which mention giants, or what could have been a man-beast. We also find mention of the "Sand People" and the "Mangrove People", in Indian legends, which some researchers believe could have been tribes of some unknown primate. While such claims can be easily dismissed as pure fantasy, or too much moonshine, many accounts have come from very credible people, including professionals, like anthropologists, doctors, teachers, engineers, and law enforcement officers. This makes the case of the Skunk Ape very curious and concludes that these witnesses have indeed seen "something" out of the ordinary, what they saw is a mystery.

THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SKUNK APE REPORTS:


NOVEMBER 25, 1997, COLLIER COUNTY,FLORIDA BIGFOOT REPORT.
There were seven reports concerning Skunk Ape sightings between August and November 1997. One account comes from a motorist who alleges that she saw a large ape-man creature dart across the road in front of her car. The witness, who desired anonymity, claims that she was driving from Tampa to Florida City, on the Tamiami Trail Highway, at 9 oclock at night, on October 20, 1997. She was on a remote stretch of highway where nocturnal animals often cross the road, when her headlights flashed on something that looked like a giant ape with shaggy dark hair, cross the road in a galloping-like run. The witness is certain that it was too tall and heavy for a human, it was not a bear, and from her knowledge of animals, it appeared to be a large primate. She reported the incident to the Sheriff's department but no action was taken. She did not attempt to draw media attention to her sighting. Another witness was Steve Krause, a tourist who stopped to examine some water plants growing in a drainage ditch along a Collier County road. Steve said that while looking at the plants he had a strange feeling that something was looking at him. He looked up in time to catch a glimpse of a large ape-like creature running off into the swamp. Steve thinks that the creature had been concealed in the brush, across the ditch, watching him and it ran off when he looked at it. "I didn't get a good look at it" explained Steve,"It was pretty quick to be so big, by the time I saw it, it was well on its way into the bush." Steve said that it definetly was some kind of ape and estimate the animal's size to be 600 pounds and seven feet tall. It appeared to have very dark fur all over. The witness did not get a look at the face, but thought that he had seen a set of eyes and very dark face. Steve's wife was in the car and did not see the creature. There was no report filed with the authorities.

10 August 1997, EVERGLADES AREA
This report comes from the Collier County area of the Everglades, with sightings which occurred during June, July, and August, 1997. This region lies mostly within the vast Everglades and all alleged observations seem to come from near the Turner River area.

There have been at least eight reports which have appeared in the local press. One report was submitted for scientific evaluation. UNX-Research investigated two, with no conclusion. These were typical Skunk Ape reports, the creature was described as a large, shaggy haired, man-like beast, approximately 7 feet tall, 400 to 600 pounds, and emitting an obnoxious odor like rotten eggs.

One witness reported that he had taken a photograph of the elusive beast. The color photo was printed in a local newspaper and does seem to show a dark, upright, figure, at some distance, but partially hidden in a scrub area of palmettos and pine trees. The figure appears to be walking, but no movement blur is detected in the photo. Actual image is difficult to analyse and could well be a hoax, although it is not likely that someone in a monkey costume would brave Florida's sweltering heat and humidity, not to mention hoards of aggressive mosquitoes, just to pull off a hoax. The image in the photograph is well centered, which brings up some suspicion. The photographer evidently had liberal time to focus and center the subject. It is obvious that the image is not a product of light and shadow, nor of a black bear or any other known animal. The sunlight was to the rear of the photographer and provided ample light for detail, however no precise physical features were detected. This alleged creature was described, by the witness, as about 7 to 8 feet tall, although comparison measurements with surrounding objects, suggests that the subject is in the range of 6 feet. Basically, what is seen in the photo is a dark image standing at a distance.

Another witness, and professed Skunk Ape "hunter", produced several plaster-of-paris casts of 13.5 inch humanoid footprints, showing 4 toes on each foot, which were allegedly obtained from the recent sighting area. UNX compared photographs of these casts with actual casts collected a few years ago by UNX-Researcher Jack Simmons. The Simmon's casts are from near the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge,[NASA territory adjacent to Kennedy Space Center]. The Simmon's casts all showed five toes, but otherwise were similar to the Collier County footprints. Depth and stride calculations are not known in either case.

The Collier County sightings have been investigated by a representative of the Big Foot Research Organization.The tentative conclusion of that evaluation is that no known hoax was involved, however explanation of what it was remains speculative. Most of the August sightings occurred near Ochopee, Florida.

Of special note to these recent Florida Skunk Ape sightings, is a claim that one witness was visited by men-in-black, who wore dark business suits and sunglasses. According to this report, the two strangers confiscated "skunk ape hair samples" and then drove away in a dark colored Lexus. This is the first time UNX has ever heard of theMen-In-Black phenomenon being associated with the Bigfoot sightings, however it is worthy to note that a recent popular movie Men-In-Black made its theater debut during this same period. UNX-Research finds no reasonable support for the Men-In-Black story.


AUGUST Thru DECEMBER 1999 [Additional reports submitted to UNX-Research]
Since releasing the Collier county reports, five more winesses have reported to UNX that they had observed a Bigfoot-like beast during 1999, in Collier County. Of the five witnesses, two saw the creature at the same time, and the other three were alone when they each observed a "Bigfoot" standing beside a rural road normally used by hunters. In all five cases the witnesses reported common skunk-ape physical characteristics, one described seeing a leathery-like human face, but only three reported the foul odor. Four of the witnesses were local natives of the area, one was a visiting tourist from out of state.

WHAT IS THE BARDIN BOOGER?

This is a little heard of creature that supposedly roams the pine forests of the small community of Bardin Florida. Bardin is located in the rural area north of Palatka, Florida. Also referred to as the "Boogie Man," the so-called Bardin Booger fits the Skunk-Ape's profile, it is large, hairy, with a human face, it stinks, and leaves size 13 foot prints. In recent years there have been a number of hoaxes exposed in connection with the mystery, however, all of the local folks are very familiar with the Bardin Booger story, and many swear that they have personally seen the thing. There is at least one incident of violence in connection with the Booger, when it is alleged to have shaken a truck and interrupted a couple, parked in a remote lovers lane. The creature shook the vehicle so hard that it rocked the wheels off the ground. The two frightened young lovers quickly fled the area and reported their encounter.


SOME DATES & LOCATIONS OF FLORIDA SKUNK-APE SIGHTINGS

EVERGLADES-1957,
WEKIVA RIVER, SEMINOLE & LAKE COUNTIES-1959,
HIGHWAY 46, SEMINOLE COUNTY-1958-59,
APOPKA, 1959, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1977,
BIG CYPRESS, 1957,
BROOKSVILLE, 1966,67,76,
HOLOPAW, 1963,
ELFERS, 1967,
DAVIE, 1969,
FORT LAUDERDALE, 1974,
MIMS, 1970, 1990,
GENEVA, 1970,
PALM BEACH AREA, 1974,
MIRAMAR, 1975,
CAPE CORAL, 1975,
ALACHUA COUNTY, 1975,
OKEECHOBEE, 1975,
SEVERAL EVERGLADES REPORTS, 1975,
VENICE, 1975,
NORTH FORT MYERS, 1975,
CITRUS COUNTY, FLORAL CITY, INVERNESS, 1975,
GROVE CITY, 1976,
SEVERAL REPORTS,MOON LAKE, 1975,
LaBELLE, 1977,
BELLVEIW, 1977,
OCALA NATIONAL FORREST, 1977,78,79,
BARDIN, 1987,
PAISLEY, 1980,
CANVERAL GROVES, SEVERAL REPORTS IN 1980S AND 1990S,
OAKHILL, [Approximate date],1991,
TITUSVILLE, 1993,
BREVARD COUNTY, HIGHWAY 520,1993-94,
MELBOURNE, 1992,

HUGE LIZARD REPORTS
While this is not a case of strange unknown animals, it is certainly a case of displaced reptiles. On June 20th, 1981, a huge monitor lizard, stretching nearly seven feet long, was found crawling across the green on a Royal Palm Beach golf course. Not unusual, there have been nineteen known incidents on record, of Floridians encountering huge monitor lizards. Most recent sightings have made the news around a lake near Deland. In the 1980s, a large monitor was seen crossing a rural road between Oak Hill and Osteen, Florida. But not all these lizard tales involve outside sightings, in Hypoluxo, Florida, one was found inside a person's house, and in North Miami, a man found one laying across his car. The average monitor lizard can be very aggressive and can eat small pets, a large one can be as lethal as a Florida alligator. Wildlife experts say that the monitor can thrive well in the Florida climate, and with a mate, can multiple in substantial numbers. Perhaps that is what is happening, in the meantime, better watch the dog and cat.

FLORIDA'S SEA SERPENTS AND RIVER MONSTERS Between 1955 and 1961, there were numerous reports in Florida newspapers, of a monster in the St. Johns River. The sightings came from a variety of witnesses, some native commercial fishermen, and others from new transplants to Florida. All reported seeing a giant creature, which descriptions fit either a brontosaurus or big manatee-like thing, depending on who is doing the reporting. Most sightings occurred between Astor Park and Lake Monroe, with the center of the alleged sightings around the Blue Springs area. The Blue Springs area is a prime manatee habitat. One Lake County man claimed to have seen the monster on land grazing on plants. He reported that the monster left a wide, mashed-down, path through the bushes. The animal's skin was described as gray and elephant-like and very leather-looking. A couple of bass fisherman claimed that the monster had almost tipped over their boat. No reports have surfaced since the early 1960s, but a related story is very curious. In 1975, a group of pleasure boaters on the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, claimed to have seen a dragon-like creature, that reared its head from the river, then disappeared into the deep water. It was described as having a head like a giant snail, with two horns. In an old 1891 newspaper report, a sea-serpent chased bathers from the ocean on Jacksonville beach. That marine monster was said to have had a dog-like head and a long skinny neck. The most bizarre story of Florida sea-serpents was reported by some scuba divers in 1962, off the Gulf coast near Pensacola. In that incident, the alleged monster attacked the divers and over-turned their small boat, and allegedly killed all but one of the men. The surviving victim claimed that the creature had a long, rigid, ten foot neck, like a telephone pole. It had a head with small eyes, but a very wide mouth and whipped about like a large snake. Evidence of a Florida marine monster was hauled up in 1885, from the New River Inlet. A ship's anchor brought up the carcass of a creature with a long neck which resembled an extinct plesiosaur, very much like the descriptions given for the infamous Lock Ness monster. Who knows what lurks beneath Florida's waters, something to think about on your next swimming trip. Of course lets not discount Florida's gator population, some alligators grow to enormous lengths, and there a several records of gators eating humans, and those are only the cases we know about--perhaps some of Florida's missing persons have fell victim to a big gator's appetite. The alligator is truly a prehistoric creature, a living dinosaur, perhaps there are some other prehistoric creatures that still exist, that we don't know of, and which on occaision rise to the surface of Florida's waters.

A CASE OF A GIANT PENGUIN CLEARWATER BEACH-1948 Numerous people reported a giant penguin seen on Clearwater Beach in 1948. The huge bird was described as 15 feet tall and supposedly left big tracks along the beach. During this same period, some people in a boat off the Gulf coast reported seeing an extremely large penguin-like bird floating on the water. These incidents were reported in several newspapers. In the same year, another big penguin-like bird was seen by a private airplane pilot on the banks of the Suwannee River in North Florida. The famed investigator of the unknown, the late Ivan Sanderson, conducted a scientific inquiry into both cases. No conclusion or explanation was ever reached.

Another BIG BIRD CASE
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
An eyewitness to a giant chicken-like bird, 25 feet tall, reported seeing the creature standing on a street corner in a residential area of Daytona. The observer claimed that it was identical to another giant chicken that he had seen back in Michigan before moving to Florida. Except there was one difference according to the witness, he claimed that the giant-bird was wearing polka-dotted underwear. Some unexplained cases are genuine mysteries, some are obvious hoaxes, and a few are bonafide nut cases. Perhaps the real mystery in the Daytona case, is where did the giant chicken find the correct size of underwear???



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