...more than three veteran sasquatch investigators in Florida have investigated and determined that the Myakka photograph was a masked individual in a baggy-leg costume and deemed a hoax. The imagination of creative cryptozoology writers ran away with themselves on this one, it's wishful thinking, wholly a misidentification, a hoax, call it what you like -- there is no mysterious Myakka creature in Florida, there are no fossil records of apes in Florida. Apes are quadrupeds while the bigfoot aka sasquatch or skunk ape is a biped, classifying it a homin not a pongid. Even if there were feral or escaped apes from primate facilities or circuses managing to live off the fruitless Everglades, they are not related to Florida's hominoid upright walking, hairy creature (singular) April 2005
Its been nearly nine months and theres been no reappearance of the Myakka Skunk Ape. At least no official reports.
This past February
newspapers throughout the Southeast caused a supernatural frenzy when
they ran stories about the appearance of a smelly ape nearly seven feet
tall in a backyard east of I-75 in Sarasota. Some writers quickly dismissed
the idea of Floridas answer to Bigfoot. Others used the opportunity
to tell a few jokes, and some suggested, mockingly, organizing a search
(i.e. hunting) party to find the animal that resembles an orangutan.
David Barkasy is on the prowl. Barkasy was one of the first people to see the photographs of the ape last fall after they were mailed anonymously to the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office. Since then, his curiosity has been in overdrive.
"Its the possibility of finding something new," Barkasy says of his search for the skunk ape. "I dont know if theres something out there, but the more I hear, the more interested I get."
Barkasy, owner of reptile wholesaler Silver City Serpentarium in Sarasota, has made more than 30 nighttime trips to the forest east of the interstate hoping to find this legendary creature that was first reported in Lakeland in 1947. Barkasy and friends strung apples (a favored food of the ape according to some reports) with fishing line between trees and sat in the dark waiting for something to happen. Some nights nothing. A few nights they were chased out of the woods by something in the bushes.
"We would sit back and make bird calls, and a few times youd smell something like dead animals and then we heard palmettos breaking. It couldve been a bear or coyote, but who knows?" Barkasy, a former mechanical engineer, says.
On his last expedition Barkasy was told to leave the forest by a state ranger. It turns out the land he was on is owned by Southwest Florida Water Management District and managed by the Myakka State Park. For the men to be there after hours, they need special permission from Swiftmud, which Barkasy hasnt obtained yet, but says he intends to do in order to install motion cameras in the area.
"I want to know what was out there chasing us out of the woods. Theres not too many animals thatll stalk you."
Loren Coleman, a
cryptozoologist (hunter of hidden animals) who has studied the Myakka
case, fully believes what was photographed is not a costume or a fake,
or even an escaped zoo animal. (Yet as pointed out by the Japanese primate specialists in May of 2006, the subject expresses NO muscle, body, arm or leg definition typical of apes; Mr. Coleman has been wrong before, especially with the "nape" track he allegedly cast back in the '60's.) Hes bent on finding the photographer,
so he can figure out where the citing took place and examine it. (Coleman never found the owner of the anonymous photograph)
Barkasy is helping. Hes discovered that the photographs taken last fall were printed in December 2000 at the Eckerd photo lab at the intersection of Fruitville and Tuttle Roads. He wants to find the elderly woman who took the pictures, but who prefers to remain unknown because she doesnt "want any fuss or people with guns traipsing around" her house.
It seems the legend of the foul-smelling primate will have to remain hidden a while longer, if not forever, without the help of people whove made contact with it. Barkasy believes the number of people whove seen this creature is actually greater than one would think.
"Working with animals I hear a lot of things. Cub scout leaders camping on the Manatee River have told me stories, so have hunters," Barkasy said. "A lot of people have sightings, but they sit on them because they dont want to look like idiots."
Excerpts from the
photographers anonymous letter sent to the Sheriffs office:
"For two nights prior, it had been taking apples that my daughter brought down from up north off our back porch."
"We live near
I-75 and Im afraid this orangutan could cause a serious accident
if someone hit it."
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