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"ARE WE CLOSING IN ON BIGFOOT?" > Page 1, 2, 3

The Skunk Ape Photos
Bigfoot-like creatures have been spotted in virtually every country of the world and in almost all of the US states. It's known as Sasquatch in the US Northwest, as Bigfoot around the Ohio Valley and as the Skunk Ape in Florida. The Skunk Ape has been sighted many times and even photographed, but at a distance that made it difficult to distinguish exactly what it was.

In the autumn of 2000, however, an elderly resident of Sarasota snapped some amazingly clear, close and detailed photos of what is obviously some kind of primate. The photos and complete story of the sighting can be seen at the website of Loren Coleman, a veteran cryptozoologist and author who has scrutinized the pictures.

The couple, whose names have been kept confidential, decided to try to photograph the creature after it invaded their property on several nights, apparently looking for food. "For two nights prior," the wife said, "it had been taking apples that my daughter brought down from up north off our back porch. These pictures were taken on the third night it had raided my apples." The photos were taken right in their back yard.

"I didn't even see it as I took the first picture because it was so dark. As soon as the flash went off for the second time it stood up and started to move."

The woman took her camera into the backyard after hearing strange, deep "whoomp" noises. She couldn't see anything because of the darkness and the dense foliage surrounding her property, but she aimed her flash camera in the direction of the noises and snapped away. "I didn't even see it as I took the first picture because it was so dark," the woman said. "As soon as the flash went off for the second time it stood up and started to move. I then heard the orangutan walk off into the woods."

The couple called it an orangutan because that is the closest thing they could liken it to. Indeed, the photographs reveal a creature that does have a distinctly ape-like or orangutan-like appearance. "It only came back one more night after that and took some apples that my husband left out in order to get a better look at it. We left out four apples. I cut two of them in half. The orangutan only took the whole apples. We didn't see it take them. We waited up but eventually had to go to bed."

Loren Coleman has been very cautious in his handling and examination of the photographs. With today's digital imaging and photo manipulation capabilities via a home computer, one must be wary of fakes. One expert who studied the pictures, David Bittner, a well-known videographic, photographic and film analyst, and partner of Pixel Workshop, Inc., told Coleman, "I'm pretty impressed with it so far, at least in terms of it being a real photograph, and not a compositing job or a cardboard cutout."

Could it be a man in an ape suit? The details revealed in the photos seem to make this unlikely. Enhancements of the original photos by Coleman and Bittner show forehead lines, yellow canines, fingernails, hair and other significant details. There are also behavioral aspects that lean in favor of this being a real animal. "A few primate, Bigfoot, and cryptozoological students and scholars have sent in their insightful comments," writes Coleman on his website. "One note reinforces something we had noticed ourselves, namely that the animal is displaying to the photographer, a characteristic 'pant hoot' expression. A hoaxer would need to be extremely familiar with the finer points of pongid behavior to include this aspect within a hoaxed scenario."

So if it's real, what is it? "The various analyses of the two photographs are holding up and there does not seem to be computer fakery or apparent hoaxing involved," Coleman says. "Whether or not this is an escaped animal or a mystery primate remains to be seen, however."

Next page > The high-tech search > Page 1, 2, 3 


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