Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

May 2, 2010

In search of the skunk ape

Callers say they’ve seen it

VALDOSTA — Referring to the Skunk Ape story in last week’s editions of The Valdosta Daily Times, the man’s voice paused on the recorded phone message.

“... I saw it.”

The Times received calls from readers who believe they have seen what may be a Skunk Ape in South Georgia. One reader account came from Brooks County, the other from Berrien County.

A Skunk Ape is reportedly a hairy humanoid creature that walks on two legs. It is described as being similar to the legendary Bigfoot, but of slighter build. Skunk Apes grow about seven-feet tall and weigh 200 to 300 pounds, according to witness accounts.

The creature is called a Skunk Ape because of the foul odor accompanying most sightings. The smell is described as being similar to rotten eggs. Skunk Apes reportedly love wooded, swampy areas, and the Skunk Ape legend comes primarily from the Florida Everglades.

While the Skunk Ape ranks among legendary creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, the Mothman, and others, numerous Internet sites report witness accounts. Several sites mentioned recent Skunk Ape sightings along the Withlacoochee River between Quitman and Valdosta in Brooks County. This repeated Internet mention to South Georgia led to The Times story last week.

The article led to these subsequent reader accounts. Both sightings occurred prior to the article’s publication, according to these readers. Both readers gave The Valdosta Daily Times their full names. One asked that we not publish his name. We use the first name of the other caller.

Did these folks see a Skunk Ape? We’ll share their stories and you decide.

• Between 10-10:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, Joy was driving along Highway 37 in Berrien County. She had a friend on her cell phone.

Outside of Ray City, she had her car’s bright lights on and she saw something hairy, walking away from the road, into the woods.

“I saw the back of something,” Joy says. “It was tall. ... I thought it was a bear but a bear don’t walk on its back legs. ... Honestly, it looked like an ape.”

Joy said her husband’s about six feet tall and she gauged what she saw to be about the same height as her husband. She didn’t smell anything driving by the creature.

She told her friend on the phone that she thought she saw something like a hairy man walking into the woods. Her friend laughed and asked if Joy had been drinking. “I told her I hadn’t been drinking and, sir, I don’t drink,” Joy told The Times.

Joy continued driving that night. She mentioned what she saw to a few people, but didn’t give it much more thought until her mother told her about the article in The Valdosta Daily Times.

During daylight, Thursday, April 29, the day after The Times story, Joy and her mother traveled to the same part of the road where she claimed to witness a creature. She said the area has numerous trees and is swampy.

Joy believes she saw a Skunk Ape or a creature like it.

— Last Friday, The Times received the phone message from the man in Brooks County who claimed “... I saw it.”

Calling him back, he said earlier this spring, before the leaves returned to the trees, he was smoking a cigar on the back porch of his Brooks County home, three miles outside of Quitman. It was  between 10-11 a.m., when he “saw something walk out of the woods.”

He first thought it a deer but saw that it had no hind quarters. He then thought it “an idiot in a ghillie suit,” a type of camouflage clothing covered in loose strips of cloth or twine designed to look like foliage.

But even then he thought something wasn’t right.

He went inside his house and got a pair of binoculars. He saw a hairy humanoid, with the hair being red, fading to brown and grey. The creature was lean and at least over six-feet tall. The creature was probably about 500 yards away, too far away to smell, he said.

He watched the creature for about eight minutes through the binoculars. During that time, the creature leaned on one arm against a tree, looking around. It scratched its left calf with its right foot. Then it ran away.

“It didn’t walk like a human,” he said. “It’s joints don’t quite move like a human.”

He said if you throw a sheet over a man or a woman, you can tell the gender by the way the person walks despite the sheet. This creature had a strange walk that did not match the movements of a human, he said.

The man thinks the creature is an omnivore, an eater of meats and plants, rather than a vegetarian. A vegetarian has a bigger belly, like a cow, he said.

He believes this creature stays lean from eating meat. What kind of meat? The man says he’s taking no chances.

“If I go out in the woods now,” he says, “I make sure to carry something with me that goes bang.”

He believes he probably isn’t the only person to see the creature.

“If I’m calling, there’s probably nine other people who’ve seen it who haven’t said a word to anyone,” he says, “because they don’t want people thinking they’re crazy.”

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