America’s Abominable Swamp Man
A team of archaeologists in the Florida Everglades
encounter the skunk ape 8 times but fail to record a scientific paper in 1971...
An entire family of these frightening creatures has been spotted deep in the Florida Everglades and now scientists are closing in on the strangest prey ever stalked on this continent…
”The bushes parted violently and from out of the darkened swamp came a huge creature towering well over seven feet tall. Its body was covered from head to toe with white hair and its face looked almost human.
Osbon’s team includes Dick Benson, Professor at Miami Dade Community College, whose specialty is oceanographic sciences and archaeologists Frank Hudson and James Spink. They all claimed their work was constantly interrupted by an entire family of creatures who to this day remain under heavy cloud of academic controversy.
Although the locale and terrain where similar creatures have been occasionally spotted may differ, belief in the existence of such an ape-man, said to walk erect and posses a high degree of intelligence has existed for years. Word of a humanoid-like animal first reached the public’s attention in the early 1950’s when Himalayan mountain climbers brought back stories of huge footprints they had discovered in the snow near impassable ice-covered mountain trails close to “the top of the world.” The climbers promptly identified the tracks as belonging to a family of creatures they refer to as the ‘yeti’ or more familiar term would be ‘abominable snowman.” The remote mountain tribesmen stated that for centuries their ancestors had known about the existence of a race of hairy monsters, - giants who wanted absolutely no contact with human kind.
Actually it turned out that reports of the yeti were nothing new. For more than 150 years, stories were told of an enormous hair humanoid creature that was occasionally spotted wandering up and down the west coast of the U.S. and Canada.
The American Indians called him “omah,” “sasquatch” or just plain “bigfoot.” And although most of the reports centered on the wilds of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, “bigfoot” has apparently broadened his sphere of influence in recent years to cover a number of highly unlikely locales, far from these areas.
One of the current (1971) hotbeds of yeti activity is the steaming Florida Everglades, a mass of land and water so hostile and uncharted that its interior has never been fully explored.
“We had all gone to bed, “ Buz recalled, “when around three o’clock in the morning, one of the members of a expedition was startled awake by weird sounds coming from just beyond the perimeter of our camp.”
Peering into the light cast by their campfire and the full moon, the group received the biggest shock of their lives Osbon recalls. “There, directly in front of us, not more than ten feet away was a creature which was for all intents and purposes only rumored to exist. He stood in the middle of our camp looking back and forth as if searching for something. His huge seven-foot frame was covered from head to toe with thick, matted white hair and he kept swinging his long powerful looking arms from side to side. It didn’t take us long to realize that this was no bear in our midst, no escaped gorilla, nor any other known animal. To think it was any of these would have been sheer folly.”
The pungent odor that was given off by this creature was so overpowering that it caused the men to gag even after it finally vanished within the maze of the thicket.
Their immediate reaction was amazement coupled with panic. When the shock subsided, they eventually managed to fall back to sleep after posting a guard and praying that whatever it was would decide not to pay another call.
“Our minds were going a mile a minute,” Buz said. “What had we seen?” What did all this mean? Indeed, our scientific curiosity was more than slightly aroused.”
At dawn, the team of archaeologists started their search for evidence to prove that their nighttime visitor had not been the figment of mass hallucination.
We knew almost immediately that our minds had not played tricks with our senses because along the maze of trails we had previously cleared, leading to Indian burial grounds, were tracks which measured 17.5 inches long and 11 inches wide. If they were made by man, he had to be walking around wearing size 18 shoes. Plaster of Paris casts were immediately made of the imprints before the elements had a chance to change their form or alter their size.
”I couldn’t accept what we had seen,” Buz said earnestly. “But from what has happened since, I am convinced that an entire family of these creatures are living today somewhere in the Everglades.”
these creatures come damned close to being human and I think to kill one would be an act of murder. They have their own life style, they walk on two legs like man and their communication is a seemingly intelligent high speed chatter.”
Variations in the size of the tracks along with additional professional observations convinced Osbon that there are at least three yeti lurking about the area, a male, a female and their young one. But the largest, the male, is the one we have seen most of the time,” he contends.
This time, however, the group was equipped for a visit from the yeti. “The first thing we did after setting up camp was to lay an electric wire around the camp’s entire perimeter,” Buz said. “This in turn was connected to an ultra sensitive electronic device which would immediately sound an alarm if anything crossed the wire. Needless to say, we had plenty of camera equipment with flash attachments and portable lighting. “About midnight we heard something with heavy, sluggish steps sloshing through the water in the nearby swamp and our instruments started beeping. Knowing that “something” had crossed the wire and was on the edge of our camp, we excitedly searched the area with heavy floodlights, but we saw nothing.
On another occasion, the group had returned to the area to resume their digging. They had been out in the bright sun at the burial mound for only an hour when they caught a glimpse of the male watching from a distance. He was well concealed under a tree whose drooping branches provided natural cover. Again the air became foul from the stench given off by the enigmatic creature.
Thinking this time that the Swamp Man might respond to friendly calls, the men tried this. Instead of coming closer however, the yeti turned and fled back into the murky depths of the swamp. The team tried searching the area its tracks disappeared in the surrounding mire.
To date, the creature had dropped in to scan the group’s activities eight times. The most recent sighting occurred when he was seen running across a shallow lake… He was really cutting loose, going through the bushes so silently that it was unbelievable for something his size and weight. In fact it has gotten to the point where the team can actually smell him before he actually shows himself.
“One time I got wind of him and returned to camp just in time to see a shadowy figure disappear down the path. Checking out the area, I discovered he had moved a good bit of our supplies and equipment, including shovels, plows, cameras and he had even thrown two rakes into a nearby pit.”
Altman says that his first encounter with the “Skunk Man goes back more than ten years when he was exploring Big Cypress Swamp with another group of scientists. “At sunset, we chose a parcel of solid ground on which to pitch camp,” Altman said. “Looking for a place to set the poles for our tents, I spotted a set of strange tracks in the soil. I also took notice almost immediately of the fact that some of the nearby mangroves, which were four inches in diameter, had been unaccountably snapped in two by some powerful force. Whatever had done it had simply grabbed the trunks and twisted them into several sections causing the mangroves to splinter into many large pieces.”
“I saw the tracks all right,” Altman says. “And from the size of the plaster casts Buz has and the ones along the trail, I definitely agree that there has to be a family of them.
The largest footprint discovered so far are the ones which measure approximately 17 ½ inches from the tip of the big toe to the end of the heel and about 11 inches across.
From the prints we now have, we can tell that this “skunk man” is definitely not a member of the ape family but closer to human than anything else in the animal kingdom – if indeed it can be considered an animal.
The point of disagreement Norman Altman has with Buz Osbon’s findings, - is the size of the creature. “Buz told me that he believes its size to be somewhere between 7 ½ to 8 feet tall in height.
From the stride pattern of the tracks, I would say that it is closer to 9 feet tall,” Altman says and adds that the creature’s weight is difficult to establish but that it must be well over 800 pounds. I would really hate to meet this thing face to face and find out it’s not friendly. The chances though are that it has no hostile intent, - as it has gotten pretty close to humans a number of times without hurting anyone.”
More confirmation about the creature comes from Frank Hudson, head of the Artifacts International, an independent firm in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Hudson says he has been on expeditions several times when an overwhelming foul odor prevented his party from continuing their work. He has also seen the tracks left by the creatures in question, and has talked with witnesses outside his own group who vouch for the existence of the elusive Everglades yeti.
1941 – Brandon, Florida: A teenager visiting his girl friend in this rural area reported that something jumped out of the woods as he was driving along a back road and it hopped onto the running board of his vehicle. After several minutes of riding along and watching the youth through the rolled up window, it stepped onto the road and ran off.
1948 – New Port Richey, Florida: A white haired creature approached a man who had stopped his automobile to examine the remains of a dead animal on the road. The mysterious yeti walked to within 20 feet of the witness and began chattering at him before it turned and fled.
1950 – New Port Richey, Florida: A huge beast terrified a young housewife as she was attempting to hang her wash and chased her around her yard. The frightened woman managed to lock herself inside her house and the creature disappeared.
1952 - North of Brooksville, Florida: A groups of hunters were exploring a limestone cave when they suddenly saw something resembling an ape standing on the ledge directly above them. They shot at it but had the impression their bullets merely bounced off. No blood or body was found.
From all indications, there seems to have been in increase of sightings in recent years in this same area, intimating at least to Osbon that civilization is moving in on these creatures and they are getting acclimated to us. Osbon asserted, “For the most part, he probably lives of fish and small lobster caught in the brackish waters around its home, but small animals and other edibles may occasionally bring him out into the open for brief periods.”
Among the most recent reports compiled by Artifacts International is the first known confrontation with a three-foot tall baby yeti. According to Allan Carter of Brooksville, his 5-year-old son was frightened by an adult yeti, which was accompanied by its young, as Carter’s son was tricycling near his home. The young humanoid creature vaulted over the fence surrounding the Carter property “as though the fence wasn’t even there.” Carter’s son ran into the house to tell his older brothers and sisters about what he had seen. They all returned with him to the spot in time to see the tricycle turned over on its side and the small yeti standing next to the over turned bike turning one of the wheels.
Catching sight of the children, the tiny creature returned to the adult yeti who immediately put it under a nearby bush and stood in front of it as if protecting it. After a short standoff both creatures disappeared into the woods.
Returning home from work later that day, Allan Carter was told of his children’s experience. Though his reaction was tinged with skepticism, he found tracks in the woods near his home suggesting that the youngsters had told the truth. Carter also remembered that a few nights before, something had gotten into his garden and had stolen some vegetables.
Some witnesses refuse to speculate upon what they think the creature is, while others ultimately state that is had to be a missing link that time and civilization has totally forgotten.
There is almost unanimous agreement that the yeti possesses a high degree of intelligence, which is vastly superior to that of any other mammal excluding man. From all indications, they seem to have a language all their own and for the most part try to keep human contact to a minimum.
Of the many reports this researcher has investigated, the following warrant mention:
Donna Sikes had been listening to her two German shepherd dogs howling and crying intermittently for half an hour before she decided to investigate. The 13-year-old Loma Linda, California girl had tried to ignore their whining but the continuous sounds finally drove her out into the late night air. As she approached the animals that were tied to a fence near the back of her house, Donna heard a rustling noise among the trees. At first she attributed this to the wind but suddenly the branches began to thrash back and forth more violently. In just a few seconds the girl found herself facing nightmare. Donna let out a scream that carried back into the house where her mother Mrs. Barbara Sikes was getting ready for bed. “I was alarmed, to say the least,” admitted Mrs. Sikes during a long distance telephone conversation with me. “At first I didn’t know what was happening, but I headed for the back porch where my daughter’s cries were coming from. Upon reading the rear of the house, I switched on the outside lights which we used to illuminate the back yard and I froze in my tracks because of the sight before me.”
Mrs. Sikes went on to describe a story similar to those I have been hearing for the past few years while attempting to track down and gather as much evidence as possible as to the existence of these strange creatures.
“My immediate reaction was that a wild bear had wandered into the yard and was rummaging through our garbage for food, scaring the daylights out of our dogs in the process,” she said. “But I realized, almost at once, that this bear (if that was what it truly was) had to be enormous. I’m a little over four feet 11 inches tall and the fence “it” stood in front of is a few inches taller. Its head was looming up well above this structure.”
What did it look like? “Well,” Mrs. Sikes said, “…all I can really say is that he was covered from the top of his head down to his feet with a coat of rough matted hair.”
Other Wallace County residents reported sighting the creature at about the same time. One woman who refuses to give her name claimed that her prize horse had to receive medical treatment for an unexplained gash across the neck. On the same night, two heavy bales of hay simply vanished from her property.
An endless barrage of frantic telephone calls prompted the Wallace County Sheriff’s Department to send a helicopter over the area. Equipped with powerful floodlights the copter’s broad beacon scanned the ground in search of anything unusual in the darkness.
According to Mrs. Sikes, one of the neighbors later told her that she had seen something run across a field at high speed as the helicopter’s lights swept the ground. She told me that it was off into the bushes quicker than a jackrabbit.
On the night of August 24 th, police were called to the Conser Lake home of Mrs. Burkhart who told them that a 6’ 3” tall “man” covered with hair had been prowling around her farm. Two workmen chased the thing firing several rounds from a shotgun at “something moving in the blackness.”
Leonard Boekelman found the headlights of his car bouncing off a 7’ ape like man standing upright in a ditch alongside the road at four in the morning on September 30 th. It happened on busy highway 42, just outside Lee Valley as Boekelman was returning home completely sober. The Myrtle Point Herald printed a plea the following day calling on readers who might have been out at that hour and driving along this main highway to call the newspaper and report anything odd they might have seen.
Defiance, Ohio: Three people living on the outskirts of town are among those who testified that they had spotted a large 8’ tall beast. A train crewman while switching trains said that he was hit from behind by the creature, with a piece of lumber. Ted Davis and Thomas Jones, crewmen on the N&W local freight train that serves Defiance claim they saw a large figure resembling a man but not a man under a full moon – twice. In another incident, police received a report stating that a motorist stopped his automobile at 4:00 a.m. to “let a strange creature pass.”
Lander, Wyoming: Two teenagers, Curt Laninger and Tom Hernandez reported their sighting of “bigfoot.” They told sheriff’s office representatives that it had chased them while they were riding horses near the Wind River Indian Reservation. They claimed that the creature took 5-foot long strides and had one hand tucked underneath his arm as though it were broken. The reservation’s chief of police, Bill King, confirmed that footprints of a large beast with higher than normal instep and two toes had been discovered and that other telephoned reports indicated that the man or animal was seen wandering near water.Edmonton, Kentucky: Dozens of residents heard the sounds of an unknown varmint that was like the bellowing of a bull or the trumpeting of an elephant. Those who chanced to go near where the sounds were coming from said whatever was making the noise was moving extremely fast, because when they approached this spot they heard them again on this time there were farther away. One of those who feel the beast was using the area for its home; Vernon Fancher says that his two boys found unusual footprints in the earth near their house. “I can’t say for sure what it was,” he reported, “but it wasn’t a bear. It was much to large to be any animal that I know exists around here –or anywhere else for that matter.”
As in most cases, the creature disappeared mysteriously without leaving any trace with the exception of a few footprints.
Despite this overwhelming documentation, few people with scientific credentials have bothered to look at the mass of reports or tried to evaluate the existing evidence. The few who have taken advantage of this opportunity have come away thoroughly convinced that a serious study of the American yeti should be undertaken--- at once!
Credibility to this field of investigation has been added recently with the announcement by Colorado University professor Dr. Edward Killian that he has obtained a federal grant to continue studies of these strange creatures. “I haven’t made up my mind either way, but I now hope with the help of some funding something solid can be yielded once and for all related to any positive identification of what we have in our midst.”
Florida’s Buz Osbon also has been trying to interest as many scientists and scientific groups as possible in the existence of his own area’s swamp man. “I believe that capturing this creature would prove to be one of the greatest achievements and discoveries science could possibly make at this time and could very well teach us a lot about our own past civilization.”
Osbon recently recuperated from heart surgery, has resumed his search for the elusive yeti. This time he hopes to return from his quest with a captured creature. “It has been suggested we use a stun gun to capture a yeti,” Buz said. “Then the question arises, what would we do with him if we had him in captivity? I’m thoroughly against putting him in a zoo, and no laboratory is equipped to tackle the situation should it arise. What then? Buz would like to raise enough money so he can construct specially equipped area for the yeti in order for science to make a thorough study and determine just how close to us the swamp man really is…
“I’ve already gone to the US. Government,” he said, “but they will never get around to providing the necessary money with all the red tape you have to go through. I’m also asking for private support, perhaps from some wealthy individual who would like to see a new field of science opened up, or, excluding this, a foundation grant would be suitable. We are sorting out all kinds of data now and as yet we just don’t know what to do with what we have. We would certainly welcome any help.”
“Why he finally left his well-hidden sanctuary is not known, but the convict turned himself in, telling authorities that something very odd forced him to abandon his refuge.”
Osbon’s close relationship with the swamp man came about when his organization decided to check out the claims that such a pyramid-like structure really existed. We found two such pyramids after searching for a number of weeks,” Buz told me. “The more complete of the pair is a 12 ½ -foot tall structure and for the life of me it’s impossible to tell how the blocks were fitted together since they’re so tightly packed. The pyramid
has a fantastic amount of writing on its surface in what I can best describe as symbols or hieroglyphics.
Speculation has it that these structures were built by a civilization long gone from the face of this planet. “this could well be part of Atlantic, the Lost Continent we have heard so much about,” Buz speculated. “But we have no positive proof nor are we offering any conclusion at this time.”
And so the search continues for the yeti, leaving many unanswered questions. Time, hopefully will provide a scientific solution to these riddles.
Osbon and a small team of explorers and archaeologists are convinced that a yeti can be captured and they hope this incredible event will take place soon. Until it does, frightened and bewildered residents in remote areas all over the country will be encountering “bigfoot” and the possibility always exists that someone may be hurt.
Until the time comes when a yeti can be captured and studied, the mysteries surrounding the creature will continue to provoke all kinds of speculation. Some will have open minds, others will scoff. We can only hope that the answers we see come through scientific research and not through the barrel of a gun…..
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