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Published:May 28th, 2011 17:16 EST

Is the Existence of the Florida Skunk Ape True?

By Ron G Anselm

Many people probably have never heard of the Florida Skunk Ape. I know just the name itself sounds like the little black and white furry critter with the big, bushy tail that invades your camp site and makes you head for cover so you don`t get sprayed but that is not what the name refers to.

So, if the Florida Skunk Ape is not your everyday skunk you see in the outdoors, then what is it? If anyone has ever heard of Bigfoot and I believe many of us have, then this is the same species. As we all know the myth of Bigfoot has been looming around for many years. There have even been pictures and witnesses sightings of this large manlike ape but most of those sightings over the years have been in the Northwestern United States and the Continent of Canada not in Florida where we picture white sandy beaches and the sight of, well I won`t say it in so many words but you can use your imagination, nice looking girls wearing those skimpy bikinis playing volleyball.

The Florida Skunk Ape has become more prevalent in the news lately with more and more supposedly sightings of the creature in the Florida Everglades and abroad that state. The Florida Everglades does sound like the perfect spot to find just about anything besides alligators. The Everglades is a huge area and anything could live in most of the uninhabited places in this area but does the Skunk Ape really dwell in the nickel, tea like water that fills the Everglades and the thick mangrove bushes that hug this vast waterway like a mother holding her new born child? Who knows? Just like the myth of Bigfoot no one has really said they walked up to the creature and sat down with it to drink their morning cup of java or been able to capture one so they would have hard and concrete evidence of their existence.

So, this example would be like the term, Cryptozoology. This basically means hidden animals " This term is used like in the example of Bigfoot and the Florida Skunk Ape where the search goes on to try to find the hard evidence that these creatures do really exist and that evidence has yet to be found. The examples of Cryptozoology that we can relate to and understand in laymen`s terms are the existence of Dinosaurs. Of course we have not seen too many Dinosaurs strolling down the main highway or billowing around the side of the road as we drive by but we do have evidence of bones left behind when the animals became extinct. Another example of Cryptozoology is the Lockness Monster that supposedly dwells around the Lockness Lake in Scotland. Having a little Scottish in me among the many other mix of nationalities I have in me a lot like a bottle of Heinz 57 Steak Sauce, I have taken a little interest in the myth of the Lockness Monster and like the same plot as the myth of Bigfoot and the Florida Skunk Ape people have only said they did see this creature and only have proven to take a few pictures of it swimming around the lake like a sailboat drifting in the cool, gentle breeze in spring. Some people when they hear the term Cryptozoology think of the term "Zoology ".

The study of Cryptozoology is not zoology which is almost like studying the psychology of animals because it deals with the behavior, actions, personality traits, physiology and classifications of animals in general but Cryptozoology is more of a discipline of science. The term is an example within an example because Cryptozoology breaks down the discipline of Science in a more generalized category like Pseudoscience since its facts relay a lot on anecdotal facts which are facts that are not necessarily true because their hypothesis is found on more of a personal account basis and not by evidence.

So, as in the case of Bigfoot and the Florida Skunk Ape, anyone can take a photograph of something and make it look like something else, or maybe people who have said they saw these apes were either ten sheets to the wind drunk or were having another acid flash back, and anyone can make a footprint in the mud look like a large apes foot print. So, unless we capture one of these apes the myths out supports the evidence that these creatures really do exist. It is sort of like the myth of Santa Clause. Believe it or not there are still people that believe he exists but to only be disappointed on Christmas Eve when they sit in their front living room next to the fireplace where the stockings are hung by the chimney with care waiting on the sound of that famous, Ho! Ho! Ho!, only to go another year without hearing that jolly Ol` little fat man with the long white beard slide down the chimney like a canon ball shooting out of a canon but in the opposite direction.

When you look at some of the questions that go along with any myth, one of the main questions people are asking is, where did this Ape come from? A good answer to this would be almost like the example of when the settlers came to this country from Europe and all over maybe we invaded the skunk apes home like we did the Indians (I also have studied this since I am a quarter Cherokee Indian) and took over its land because the Skunk Ape was here before we were. It could have been here for thousands of years before us and we just suddenly one day bumped into it.

Other beliefs by people are that the Skunk Ape like Big Foot may be a paranormal creature. Some also believe the myth of this creature may be a made up hoax. The questions is, what do you believe the myth to be? Real? A hoax? A myth? Or, maybe something else...

Another interesting question that people wonder about is where did the name "Florida Skunk Ape" come from? Some interesting answers accompanying this question. The first part of the name answers the first part of the answer. The creature supposedly lives in Florida so Florida in the name comes from that. The second answer to this question comes from the smell of the ape. When you get close enough the creature emits a very awful stench. The stench has been said to be the same smell as a trash dump in the middle of summer or even as bad a smell as a skunk that fought the trash dump and lost.

The third question that goes with this myth is, where has this ape been seen? The answers are all over the state of Florida not just in the Everglades and has been spotted at all times during the day and night. The interesting fact about this whole myth is there have been people that have called in to radio stations and the police just after they supposedly sighted the ape and the tone and emotion in their voice would lead the listener on the other end to think their story and encounter was real.

If one day we do find supporting evidence that this creature is real then the evidence would also point to other possibilities. One of those possibilities would be, is the Skunk Ape like Big Foot a possible early form of us, humans? I would say, yes...or at least we would have some inheritance from the creature`s genes. Both Big Foot and the Skunk Ape look like an ape and have a lot of the same characteristics as we do.

So, the next time you head to the woods or mountains or even decide to brave it out and head to the mangrove swamps of the Florida Everglades to go on a weekend camping trip; make sure you bring a home movie video recorder or just your camera phone and each of you take turns pulling guard duty in shifts around the perimeter of your camp grounds throughout the day and night because if you could get some hard core evidence that these creatures really do exist, you may end up being in the middle of the story of the year and you would also satisfy my curiosity and about a billion others as to if these things are really lurking in the shadows of the moonlight in Florida and the Northwest on those clear and starry evenings.