The Magic Of Urban Myths

Hmmmm…looks legit

I’m a fan of the Thrillist blog, which is a daily compendium of cool stuff from all over the world.

Last week, they had a really interesting post on urban legends which included a list of the top tales from each state.

The list included gems such as:

Georgia’s curse of Lake Lanier which includes tales of malevolent catfish and strange drownings. Now I know why former City Commissioner Bob Costin enjoys the lake so much.

Maryland’s infamous “Goatman” which allegedly does all the things you would expect a deranged half-goat/half man to do: kill teenagers, eat dogs, scream like a goat, etc. But the most terrifying aspect is just how deep the myth goes in the psyche of residents. The USDA was even forced, at one point, to publicly deny accidentally creating the beast in their Beltsville agricultural research center.

Then there’s Montana’s “Hitchhiker of Black Horse Lake” which refers to an apparition that allegedly haunts a desolate stretch of Highway 87.

Supposedly, drivers experience the body of a native-American man — clad in jeans with jet-black hair — slamming into their windshield as they drive near Great Falls. Legend has it those who encounter the hitcher suddenly find his body bouncing off the front of their car. When they stop to help, there’s nothing there and no damage to the windshield. The hitcher, meanwhile, repeats the cycle endlessly, trapped in his own personal hell as he repeats his moment of death with whichever driver happens to be passing by. So next time you curse the roundabouts in Pineapple Grove, remember it could be worse. A lot worse.

Florida’s entry on the list is the infamous “Skunk Ape”-–which some believe is a relation of Bigfoot.

According to legend, a fully-grown Skunk Ape stands anywhere from 5 to 7 feet tall and weighs approximately 450 pounds. They can be detected by a horrific odor that’s been described as “sun-baked animal carcass” and “rotting garbage.” They mostly eat berries and small animals, but from time to time they’ve been known to ravage farms and tear wild boars to shreds. Recently, a Skunk Ape HQ has popped up in the Everglades where you can book tours or reserve a spot on a hunting expedition to finally prove the hairy beast is real once and for all.

No one is quite sure where the legend began, but theories believe that the Bigfoot myth traveled south to the swamps of Florida where it took on a hairy life of its own.

We are intrigued by the idea of a Skunk Ape headquarters (http://www.skunkape.biz/swamp-eco-tours/). It sounds like an interesting place to work.

The HQ is run by a guy who claims to be a Skunk Ape expert with 40 years of experience.

According to the Swamp Ape HQ, the Apes have great hearing and are very elusive. And while they live “nomadic” lives and tend to concentrate in places like the Everglades and other Florida parks, some have allegedly been seen near cities.

There haven’t been any documented Skunk Ape attacks, but you can buy t-shirts, koozies and magnets.

This kind of kitsch sounds like Old Florida, back when U.S. 1 had all these really great shops selling little palm trees, shark teeth and alligator heads.

Only in America….