A photo of the Florida skunk ape captured by David Shealy
We’ve all heard of bigfoot, the giant ape that’s a bit too human that stalks the wilderness around America but what about his cousin the Florida Skunk Ape?
The Florida Skunk Ape is a bipedal ape-like creature seen in wilderness areas in and around Florida. It is said to be similar to a bigfoot but smaller in stature, about 5-7 feet tall. It is covered in reddish-brown fur and is said to smell incredibly bad, like a skunk that’s been startled.
The Seminole culture, a Native American people from Florida, have a legend of a creature called Esti Capcaki. Esti Capcaki translates as cannibal giant. The creature is described as being secretive, incredibly strong and very foul smelling.
Sightings of the The Skunk Ape have been recorded for as long as European settlers first arrived in Florida.
In 1818 local newspapers reported a man-sized ape rummaging in the food stores of fisherman along the shore in what is now Apalachicola, Florida.
In 1942 a man from Suwanee County reported an aggressive ape-like creature attacking him while he was driving down a rural road. He said the creature rushed out of the bush line and grabbed onto his vehicle and pounded on the door, running alongside the car for half a mile before fleeing.
Also in the 1940’s a small community in Putnam County, Florida become a hotspot for Florida Skunk Ape sightings. The creature became known to the locals as the Bardin Booger.
Reports of the Skunk Ape intensified in frequency from the 1950s to the 1970s. An organization called the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has collected hundreds of alleged sightings from almost every county in Florida stretching from 1955 until today.
Two sherrif’s deputies from Palm Beach County named Ernie Milner and Marvin Lewis had an encounter with what they believed to be the Florida Skunk Ape in the 1970’s.
They were out working in a grove near Palm Beach when an ape-like creature began to stalk them. They shot at it with their firearms and it fled. They were then able to follow a trail of footprints and found some hair that had become caught on a barbed wire fence.
Dave Shealy’s footage of the Florida Skunk Ape
1997 was a big year for the Florida Skunk Ape. A number of tour guides in the Florida Everglades and their guests reported sightings of the Florida Skunk Ape.
One of these operators named David Shealy had some traps set for pests set with lima beans. He noticed that the traps had all been raided and strange footprints were leading up to them.
He decided to set a whole lot more traps and suddenly there was an influx of Florida Skunk Ape sightings in the area. Shealy believes that the wet weather and flooding in the area that year caused the secretive creatures to come closer to humans to get away from the flood waters.
A photo taken of an alleged Florida Skunk Ape in 1997 by Ochopee Fire Control District Chief Vince Doerr
Also in 1997 Ochopee Fire Control District Chief Vince Doerr was out driving in the Big Cypress National Preserve when he saw an ape-like creature cross the road in front of his vehicle.
He stopped his car, got out of the vehicle and followed the creature into the woods hoping to get a picture. He managed to capture a mysterious figure between the trees about 50 yards away from him. (See picture above)
Within two weeks of this sighting over 50 people reported seeing a similar creature in the same area.
Believers in the Skunk Ape assert that it is a species of ape that has remained undiscovered due to its intelligence and its desire to remain unseen.
Skeptics believe that all of the encounters with the Florida Skunk Ape are either cases of mistaken identity or simply hoaxes.
Many people believe that the Florida Skunk Ape is an orangutan that has escaped from nearby research facilities. There are a number of facilities in the state that breed and experiment on monkeys of varying shapes and sizes.
If you enjoyed this article you may enjoy reading about the OG Bigfoot or the story of a train hitting a bigfoot in the 1880s.
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Human-Bear Cryptid Sighting told in 1883 Newspaper
The newspaper article from 1883 discussing the sighting of three human-bear cryptids.
The Salt Lake Herald featured a story in 1883 about three businessmen who stumbled upon a wild woman with three children who seemed to be half human and half bear.
The Human-Bear Cryptid Sighting in Louisiana
The newspaper article can be viewed in context here. We have reproduced it below.
A Queer Family: Consisting of a Mother of Three Children Who are Part Man and Part Animal
The Salt Lake Herald, Sunday 30th September, 1883
Messrs. F. Rosengay, Allen M. Vandal and Edward P. Strong, for some time past have been traveling through portions of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi inspecting pine lands.
These gentlemen are the emissaries of a grand syndicate. Or, at least, so they claim, which has been formed in Minnesota for the purpose of buying immense tracts of land in the south and forming a complete system of saw mills from which to furnish lumber for the world, but more especially for shipment into Mexico, where they claim they will always find a ready market at good prices.
These gentlemen are all men of means and very kindly in their deportment, making friends in every portion of the country they have visited, and bring with them undoubted credentials as to their honor and integrity, therefore some credit must be given to the following relation, which each of them declares to be nothing but facts.
It might be as well to state here that nearly on the line between St. Tammany and Washington parishes resides a man about 50 years of age, who answers to the name of “Crazy Aleck.” This dilapidated specimen of crazy humanity resides in the most lonesome portion of the parish that it would be possible to find, seldom making his appearance among the settlers, and then only when forced to do so from hunger.
He is harmlessly insane and sometimes when he visits a place to secure a snack of something to eat will become quite communicative and tell some wonderful stories concerning his forest home; but where he resides no one knows or cares, and his queer stories were never heeded, being regarded as the fancies of a madman’s brain.
But upon several occasions “Crazy Aleck” has told a story concerning “a woman and some bears” which sounded ridiculous and improbable in the extreme, but which, nevertheless, has proved to be true.
This is the narrative related by the three gentlemen first named:
Hearing while in the lower portion of Mississippi, that some very desirable land lay in Washington and St. Tammany parishes, LA., and that is could be procured very reasonably, our party started for that section. Upon arriving at the desired point we obtained accommodations at a farmhouse and the next day started on horseback in a tour of inspection; well, we had gone over considerable ground during the day and started on the return about 4 o’clock.
Mr. Vandal, who had become weary of riding, had asked one of us to lead his animal and that he would walk on while we stopped now and then to make observations and take notes, as was our custom upon such journeys.
Vandal got some distance ahead of the two of us who had the horses, and suddenly we saw him come around a bend in the road a short distance ahead of us on a dead run; we started up our horses to meet him, and when he came up, almost out of breath, he said: “Tie your horses to a tree and come up the road; there’s the greatest sight you ever saw.”
We did as he requested and followed him up the road some 300 yards, when putting his fingers to his lips, to indicate that we must be silent and cautious, he started to creep through an undergrowth on the side of the road and we followed.
At this juncture we were much startled to hear a deep coarse laugh issue from a space apparently a short distance in advance of us.
It was a human laugh, evidently, but still it was so hollow and unearth like that it sent a chill of terror through us all; this laugh was followed by another, and then another of the same kind, and these were succeeded by a long hearty laugh, apparently that of a female.
Partly recovered from our astonishment, at a motion from Vandal we creeped on about thirty yards to the edge of the thicket, and there in an open space, a few yards beyond, we beheld the most astonishing sight that ever greeted mortal eye.
Seated on the trunk of a fallen tree was a dilapidated looking specimen of feminine humanity, whose small bit of clothing was naught but rags and whose hair hung about her shoulders in a tangles mass; she was apparently about sixty years of age, was of medium stature, and dark, as though from long exposure to the sun and weather.
Near by her were three of the most hideous objects one could imagine, evidently playing, and she seemed to be watching them attentively.
To describe these three objects (you could not call them human) is very difficult.Their heads were shaped like human beings, the tops, ears, eyes and neck being perfect, but the mouth and nose coming together broad and thick, more on the order of a bear; the arms resembled perfectly those of men, but from the waist down they bore the shape and semblance of a bear, being covered entirely with long, coarse, black hair. The feet were also similar to those of a bear, being flat, and seemingly armed with immense claws.
For some time we watched them with mute astonishment, as they wrestled and played, now dancing erect as a biped, and then on all fours as a quadruped, and now and then giving a vent to their horrible laugh.
How long this would have continued we do not know, but jut here Strong let his excitement get the better of his discretion and changed his position, partly exposing himself to view, and at the same time making a slight noise. The noise attracted the woman’s attention, and she evidently saw Strong, for uttering a cry of alarm she started through the under growth on the other side of the opening with the speed of a deer, closely followed by the three queer-looking creatures, running on all fours.
As soon as we had recovered from our astonishment we attempted to follow them, but they were too swift of foot, and fearing we would become lost in this, to us strange section, we were forced to return.
The next day in company with several other gentlemen, we scoured the section thoroughly, but could find no traces of the strange family. “I have traveled far,” said Mr. Vandal, “and seen many wonderful things, but this human-bear family, as I call them, surpasses my experience heretofore by far.
Theories about the Human-Bear Cryptid Children
If we assume this story is credible, what could be going on here?
Some cryptozoologists believe the wild woman in this account may have found some orphaned bigfoot children and chosen to raise them as her own. Bigfoot and other strange cryptids have been spotted all over America and it’s possible that these young creatures were simply an undiscovered species being cared for by a reclusive woman.
It’s somewhat more likely that the children were in fact human but perhaps horribly deformed. The extreme body hair and strange facial features could be a genetic abnormality. The “claws” could have simply been unkempt toenails that had grown to an unsightly length.
Perhaps the children were actually bear cubs that that the woman had taken. If they had mange it’s possible that they would resemble humans a bit more closely. A recent viral video showing a bear in a Chinese zoo that people believed was actually human shows that some bears can be uncannily human-like.
A video of a bear showing strangely human qualities.
What do you think the truth is about the part-human- part bear family? Let us know in the comments.
A Native American artwork depicting the Dzoonokwa, a similar creature to the Stick Indian.
The Native American Salish tribe recounts tales of a cryptid known as the Stick Indians, which remarkably mirror many reported sightings of Bigfoot.
Description of the Stick Indians
Stick Indians are a nocturnal creature rarely sighted held in high regard by the Salish people. They are described as being hairy, humanoid creatures with a tall and slender frame. They are said to be able to move incredibly fast and silently.
The description of Stick Indians varies between tribes, with the Salish viewing them as large, hairy, Bigfoot-like beings, while the Cayuse and Yakama portray them as dwarfs of the forest.
In some tribal traditions, Stick Indians are believed to possess the power to paralyze, hypnotize, or drive humans insane. In other accounts, they simply lure people off their paths by creating spooky whistling sounds or laughter in the woods at night.
Stories circulate of Stick Indians potentially devouring humans who become their victims, abducting children, or harassing women. These entities are also said to seek fierce revenge against those who harm or disrespect them, even if such actions were unintentional.
Stick Indians reportedly speak a language resembling the sounds of birds and other animals rather than human speech.
Stick Indians are said to subsist primarily on hunting and fishing, and it appears they do not establish any permanent settlements, preferring a nomadic lifestyle. Their attire is reportedly made from deer skins and other elements found within the forest.
The origin of the term “Stick Indians” is speculated to come from their forest-dwelling habits and animal-like characteristics. Another theory suggests that the name derives from their mischievous behavior of inserting sticks into tepees, lodges, and even pranking sleeping individuals.
These entities show similarities to the Pukwudgies of folklore, primarily being harmless until provoked. In the darkness of the night, Stick Indians are known to engage in light-hearted mischief in nearby villages, such as pilfering fish from nets, sneaking away with food, or even undressing sleeping villagers.
However, these creatures’ true capabilities are said to surface when they are threatened or their lives are disrupted by humans. Known for their vengefulness, Stick Indians allegedly possess powerful mental influence abilities. These powers, reported to induce fear, confusion, and anxiety, vary in intensity and effect, with some accounts suggesting they can hypnotize or even drive people to insanity. They are particularly adept at disorienting travelers by mimicking animal noises and whistling.
Several instances of missing persons are often attributed to the Stick Indians, who are believed to abduct those who disrespect them as a form of retribution. The folklore especially warns children about wandering into the forest at night, as tales abound of Stick Indians kidnapping children and raising them as wives or slaves.
Living History’s Mysteries covers the Stick Indians
Stick Indian Sightings
A user on the HWHikers forum named kbatku posted his encounter with some Stick Indians back in 2008.
He recalled that on New Year’s Eve in 1991, him and his wife ventured into Boulder Cave to meet some friends and celebrate the New Year. Despite being dark, they were equipped with flashlights and warm clothes, and the trail was clear of snow.
As they navigated the trail through the pine forest, they started hearing distant noises resembling the laughter and shouts of playing children. They initially dismissed this, attributing it to a nearby cabin or camp, but there was no evidence of any other people in the area. The laughter seemed to fade in and out, as if carried by the wind, only to return moments later.
Once they reached the cave, they relayed their peculiar experience to their friends. However, as the night progressed with music, conversation, and laughter, the strange incident was temporarily forgotten.
When they started their journey back, the mood had changed, the forest seemed somewhat ominous. They discovered a peculiar object propped against the base of a tree, which they believed was left for them by whatever caused the laughter. The object was a small figurine made of tiny sticks, moss, pine needles, and lichen, intricately assembled, as if by tiny hands.
Taking it home, they scrutinized it for some time, but it eventually gave off a creepy vibe, and they discarded it. Years later, while recounting this experience to a Native coworker, he suggested that they had encountered “Stick Indians”.
Have you ever seen a Stick Indian? Tell us about it in the comments.
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