Shiawassee County, Michigan 1978
The "hairy creature" That scared some residents Wednesday has turned out to be a man dressed in a gorilla suit made for him by a friend. The friend, a Byron woman, admitted the hoax to Shiawassee County sheriff's deputies Thursday. She told them it started as a prank but developed into more than was intended.
The woman, who will not be prosecuted, said she made the hairy suit for her friend, who wanted to scare another friend. She turned the suit in to the sheriff's department.
The prank worked too well as the man wearing the suit scared at least three Byron residents about 11 p.m. Wednesday, the woman said. She acknowledged that, as witnesses said, the man ran into the shallow south branch of the Shiawassee River.As residents became aroused over the incident -- some saying they were going to carry guns to protect themselves -- the woman said she got scared and decided to turn herself in. The names of the pair involved aren't being released because they broke no law, said Detective Otis Little. There is no law against a person putting on a gorilla suit and having a little fun, he said. The problem came when several more persons than intended saw the creature and took it seriously, he said.After several persons telephoned authorities about the creature, Byron Police Chief Joseph Thomas and two deputies attempted to chase it. None of them saw it, but the deputies reported hearing something "sloshing" in the river, apparently moving south out of the village.
© Flint Michigan Journal September 1, 1978
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