|Dave Shealy Owner Of The Florida Skunk Ape Museum and Research Center|
"35 years looking for the skunk ape.
This week, he’ll have company.
A film crew from California-based Authentic Entertainment, the production company behind reality TV shows Ace of Cakes (Food Network) and Flipping Out (Bravo) is in Ochopee to begin filming a pilot reality show intended for Discovery Channel in the fall.
Shealy, curator of the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, has appeared on other shows about the legendary skunk ape, a yeti-like creature adapted to the wilds of South Florida, including "Unsolved Mysteries" and "The Daily Show."
He calls the Discovery Channel pilot the biggest project he’s worked on.
An Authentic Entertainment associate in Burbank confirmed that a film crew is in Florida on the project but the producers in the field declined to comment on the making of the show.
Shealy said they’ll employ a helicopter to get aerial shots and tour the 10,000 Islands by boat. Advanced technology, which he declined to describe, will be used as well, he said.
“The producers really want to put together a successful show,” he said.
Shealy knows not everyone buys the tale of the skunk ape, a 7-foot tall biped covered in hair and emitting a foul odor. The website for his Trail Lakes Campground on U.S. 41 in the Big Cypress Preserve, hosts an ongoing poll asking visitors if they believe in the creature’s existence. More than 25 percent of the 2,500 respondents either believe it to be a hoax or are skeptical.
But a majority either believe in the idea or find it plausible.
He says new information is surfacing all the time. “I’m hot on the trail,” he said, adding the fresh evidence points to the presence of a skunk ape around Sunniland. “New doors are opening. I look forward to bringing this to a close real soon.” Naplenews.com