by Palmer Wood
It is for those who claim they have seen the elusive ape-like creature roaming the woods and swamps of Florida including Polk County’s Green Swamp. Sightings of the animal have been reported around the world but rare, with quality photographs and videos even rarer.
Bigfoot and Sasquatch are names familiar to North Americans who have aggressively pursued evidence of the animal’s actual existence. As of this date only occasional sightings have been reported within any given year with no physical evidence ever found, other than hair samples whose DNA does not match that of any known animal.
Some speculate the creature is an offspring of a prehistoric monster ape that towered as tall as 15 feet and weighed 800 pounds, thought to be extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago.
A popular TV program, “Monster Quest,” which sponsors numerous expeditions to confirm reports of rare or unknown wild beasts, reptiles and giant birds, has drawn more light on the subject and predictably, claimed sightings have increased exponentially. The expeditions to confirm the beast’s existence have traveled worldwide and covered most continents.
The name Bigfoot has been associated with the ape-like creature in North America; Sasquatch for the same creature but referring to the Indian name that is centuries old. The Abominable Snowman or Yeti originated from footprint sightings in the Himalayan Mountains and has spread to most countries.
Many of the Bigfoot observations, particularly those observed in Florida’s swamp areas, including Polk County’s Green Swamp, have been reported to have a very pungent and musty rotten egg smell, resulting in the moniker “Skunk Ape.” The sightings report the creature’s hair or fur varies between black, brown or reddish – the latter similar to an Orangutan’s.
Fresh and distinctive footprints, measuring up to 15-inches, have been observed and numerous plaster cast impressions successfully recovered. At several locations where footprints of the ape-man have been seen, samples of hair also have been recovered and failed to match that of any indigenous animal, with the exception of a small percentage that turned out to be bear-related.
One is led to believe that with as many people reporting what they saw as real and described as a giant upright ape, seven to 10 feet tall and weighing up to 500 pounds or more, have, for the most part, passed polygraph testing. Observations have come from a variety of credible sources including naturalists, forest rangers, surveyors, loggers and members of professional expeditions.
All sightings reveal the creature to be bipedal, or walking and running upright on two feet.
The creature has been observed as capable of superhuman feats such as jumping over obstacles as high as five feet or clearing streams 12 feet wide with ease; feats highly unlikely for a human being to accomplish while wearing a heavy monkey suit.
Skeptics speculate the creature is a manifestation of those with a vivid imagination or simply a man dressed in a clever gorilla suit and imitating a Sasquatch. The height of the observed creatures and the size of the footprint and weight required to create a deep imprint as those observed would make it almost impossible to replicate in the remote woods by a human being.
The observed physical abilities of the creature far exceed anything humanly possible, especially in hot and humid Florida, wearing a suit of thick hair and running 100 yards or more in 90 degree weather.
Only verifiable physical evidence will erase the doubt the vast majority of people have as to the validity of Bigfoot, especially as reported in Polk County’s Green Swamp.
Fortunately, no one as of this date has shot and killed a Sasquatch to prove they exist. It would be an unforgivable act if someone did.
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