The Skunk Ape, over the years... Hoaxed cast...
The Naples Daily News Neapolitan
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission begins to keep a file on skunk ape sightings, although other sources report unrecorded sightings going back much further. One man reports to the commission that he lived with a family of skunk apes for six months.
A group of archeologists, working in Big Cypress swamp, is reported to have had their camp invaded late one night by a mysterious 8-foot creature. A skunk ape?
David Shealy and his brother Jack are out hunting in the Everglades when they spot a skunk ape. Shealy goes on to become Collier County's most outspoken skunk ape research advocate.
Vince Doerr, then the fire chief of Ochopee, snaps a photo of what is labeled a skunk ape. That same month, Everglades guide Dow Rowland says he saw a skunk ape along Turner River Road with a band of tourists in tow.
Shealy is interviewed for Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." Over the years, Shealy has taken his expertise on the skunk ape to several media outlets, including the supermarket tabloid Weekly World News and the business world must-read The Wall Street Journal.
In a 4-1 vote, the Collier County Tourist Development Council OKs a $44,000 tourist-tax grant for skunk ape research and promotion. Shealy says the money will be used for expeditions and a multilingual skunk ape hotline.
County Commissioners turn down the tourist-tax grant when it comes before them. An angry Shealy says that he feels led on.
The skunk ape becomes Florida's Bigfoot. Sightings often happen in the Everglades, but range all over the state: Loren Coleman, a part-time professor at the University of Southern Maine, claims to see a skunk ape east of Interstate 75, near the Myakka River State Park.
Shealy's skunk ape quest lands on the front page of the Miami Herald in an article that is promptly picked up by wire services and appears in several Florida papers.
"The Ochoppee (sic) Skunk Ape," a locally-produced documentary, is made about Shealy's lifehttp://www.naplesnews.com/npdn/neapolitan/article/0,2071,NPDN_14939_4098815,00.html
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