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The David Shealy Research Study

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The David Shealy Skunk Ape Sighting Research Study Documentary

 

On May 3, 2023, the Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Team released a new research study documentary film called ‘The David Shealy Skunk Ape Sighting Research Study’ on their ‘Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Group’ YouTube channel.  The documentary is about the infamous Skunk Ape sighting that Skunk Ape Expert - David Shealy filmed back on July 8, 2000 at 7:19pm in the Everglades at the Big Cypress National Preserve. A full 2-minute clip of the original David Shealy video (‘Dave Shealy’s 2000 Skunk Ape Footage’) can be found on YouTube on the ‘Smithsonian Magazine’ channel.

Over the past 23 years, David Shealy has been the subject of ridicule from critics around the world who claim that his Skunk Ape sighting was a hoax (a man wearing a suit).  None of those critics have seriously tried to research the subject in detail to determine if the sighting was real or not.  Assumptions were just made without knowing the facts behind his Skunk Ape sighting.

During a discussion with David Shealy, the Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Team learned that no one has ever tried to conduct any kind of serious investigation of his sighting in the past 23 years. It was then that the research team decided to be the first to ever go out to the location of his sighting in the Everglades to conduct a 3-month research study to search for the truth. 

The team’s research study began in December 2022, when founder Marie Dumont went to the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters in Ochopee, Florida to meet up with David Shealy.  David took Marie out on an ATV to the actual location of his sighting, which is approximately 1.5 miles behind the campground.  The dry season in the Everglades runs from December through April, and due to the amount of water still out in the sawgrass marsh at that time, taking an ATV out there was the most effective way to get to the site. They rode around the site together and David retold his Skunk Ape sighting story to Marie and pointed out specific landmarks along the way where things in his video were located.

In February 2023, the Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Team traveled down to the Everglades to conduct their first reenactment research study of the infamous Skunk Ape sighting and invited guest Bigfoot researchers Mike Familant (Shadow of Big Red Eye) and Wiley Biro (Sussex County Bigfoot) to join them. Once there, team members Mike Aguilar and Chris Hensley attempted to walk and run the same general course that the Skunk Ape travelled in the video, while Marie Dumont, Mike Familant and team member Ruby Jo Brew filmed them. Due to the terrain, the heat, the holes in the ground, the deep mud, the thickness and depth of the sawgrass, watching for gators and snakes, and trying to keep from tripping and falling, it was virtually impossible for them to run the course and they could mostly only walk it.  They were both overheated and exhausted from the experience.

In March 2023, the Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Team traveled back down to the Everglades to conduct a second reenactment research study and invited special guest Thomas Brandon to join them. Thomas is 6 feet 3 inches tall and is a long-distance trail runner with experience running in various terrains, which made him the perfect candidate to attempt the reenactment.  The team also asked Thomas to swing his arms while he was attempting to run the general course and team member Mike Aguilar attempted the reenactment again with him. Thomas was able to run at times but forgot to swing his arms consistently because he was focused on what he was trying to run through.  He also ended up encountering the same issues and obstacles that the team members had the first time, which was battling the heat, deep holes in the ground, the mud, and the thickness and depth of the sawgrass.  He had difficulty moving his legs through the thick sawgrass without tripping and falling and also couldn’t run in a straight line because he was looking for ‘the path of least resistance’ in the sawgrass (where he was going to take his next step) because he couldn’t see through it.  At times during the reenactment, the team members filming Thomas could not see him running because of the height of the sawgrass. Thomas Brandon stated that the thick sawgrass was much harder than expected to run through and he was also overheated and exhausted from the experience.

After the reenactments, Marie Dumont then conducted hours of research online to try and find out what the weather and climate conditions were 23 years ago on that day.  Data was collected from various Everglades Water Management and Weather websites, which provided her with the average climate at the time (some rain in the area), the average temperature (90 degrees F), the average percentage of humidity (75%), the ‘feel like’ temperature (109.5 degrees F) and the total amount of rainfall (29.02 inches).

The following research observations were also made by the Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Team when they reviewed the David Shealy video in great detail:

  1. The incredible speed the Skunk Ape was going when it was running through the sawgrass. David Shealy told the team the Skunk Ape was moving about as fast as a deer when it was running and believes that it was in the process of chasing down a deer that David saw prior to the sighting. Near the end of the video, you can see the Skunk Ape is moving extremely fast, faster than any man in a suit could run in about 2 feet of water and it seems to just glide through the water.

  2. The Skunk Ape doesn’t look down at all while it’s running and walking through the deep water and tall sawgrass.  By nature, humans typically look down when they maneuver through obstacles, such as water and difficult, uneven terrain that could make them trip and fall, in order to keep from getting hurt.

  3. The Skunk Ape seemed to move in a straight line. It did not seem to take ‘the path of least resistance’ when it was traveling through the thick sawgrass and deep water, like most humans would do. It appears to just run straight through it all, with no effort.

  4. The Skunk Ape did not seem to have any issues with moving through the water. The water in that area during the rainy season is at least 2 feet deep, if not more. A man wearing a suit cannot walk or run that distance and that fast without the weight of the water on the costume creating a lot of drag and slowing him down tremendously. You would also see the costume drooping in places where it’s wet due to the weight of the water, which you don’t see at all in the video.

  5. The Skunk Ape was not bothered by the extreme heat and humidity.  Based upon the high humidity, the ‘feel-like’ temperature at that time was approximately 109.5 degrees and a man wearing a suit would not have been able to handle the additional extreme heat that he would experience from being inside a thick, heavy, hairy suit while attempting to run that long of a distance and that fast in those kinds of conditions.

  6. The Skunk Ape appears to have a conical shaped head.  Some Bigfoot eyewitnesses have reported that the creatures they have seen have a conical shaped head.

  7. The Skunk Ape appears to be tall.  The Skunk Ape is easily visible walking and running through the sawgrass throughout the whole video. When Thomas Brandon (6’-3” tall) attempted the course, he seemed to disappear at times in the tall sawgrass because it was up to his shoulders or over his head. Team members Mike Aguilar and Chris Hensley are both 6 feet tall and they also could not be seen at times moving through the sawgrass.

  8. The Skunk Ape is very lean.  The Skunk Ape has a lean body mass which coincides with ‘Bergmann’s Rule’ which states that individuals of a given species will be larger and thicker in cold climates and smaller and leaner in warm climates due to being closer to the equator where the temperatures are much hotter.  Larger creatures in hot climates have to be lean in order to be able to survive in the extreme heat and high humidity.  For instance, the deer found in North Florida are large and the deer in Key West are very small and are called Key Deer.

 

In conclusion, the Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Team believes that it is unlikely that this was a person wearing a suit running quickly through the sawgrass marsh in at least 2 feet of water in the extreme hot and humid weather at that time in the Everglades. Their research and observations also confirm this as well. The research team will continue to conduct on-going investigations in the Everglades, in order to search for the truth about Skunk Apes. 

 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the Mid Florida Bigfoot Research Team.

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