Green Swamp Ape

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 2nd, 2006

Speaking in Texas on June 3, 2006, here’s a sneak peek at what I’ll be showing related to the 2004 Jennifer Ward sighting of the Green Swamp Ape.

Jennifer Ward’s sighting has been difficult to understand, and place in context. But I think it has a lot to do with how shocking her initial drawing was.

Her first attempt to draw the creature was elementary, but especially surprising in one detail: the light patches encircling the eyes.

Green Swamp Ape

Made bigger and colored by some media, it became the definitive image with the sighting.

Green Swamp Ape

Cryptozoologist Scott Marlowe, however, brought her together with artist Matt Ellis, to get her experience through his eyes. First she re-drew the creature’s head and body (see below)

Green Swamp Ape

Green Swamp Ape

Then artist Ellis drew the Green Swamp Ape based on her description. (Thanks to the Pangea Institute and Scott Marlowe for permission to reproduce and show this and other drawings here.)

Green Swamp Ape

Click on image for full-size version

Green Swamp Ape

Green Swamp Ape

And Cryptomundo’s artist-associate Peter Loh even had some fun with the Ellis ideas and an imagined interview between Scott Marlowe and the Green Swamp Ape.

Green Swamp Ape

Click on image for full-size version

Finally, I discussed the details of the incident and showed all the previous drawings with wildlife artist Richard Klyver. He re-drew the Green Swamp Ape, based upon his experiences with African situations, as he thought it might actually appear to an eyewitness encountering this hairy hominoid quickly, who then did the drawings she did.

Green Swamp Ape

Green Swamp Ape

I’ll be discussing this in Texas, but figured you non-attending Cryptomundo readers might enjoy “being there” with me. Have a good weekend.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

35 Responses to “Green Swamp Ape”

  1. Arkansan_88 responds:

    Thanks for this article Loren.

  2. msouliere responds:

    Thanks Loren! A great way to see the process in which these drawings and illustrations evolve. The artists involved seem to have a lot of talent and interpretive skills.

  3. jayman responds:

    What stands out here is the tendency to revise raw data to bring it more in line with expectations. The witness’s drawings were very un-bigfootlike, with a big round head, constricted neck, relatively short, puny arms, and a waist – all characteristics reminiscent of Homo sapiens. By the time we get to Klyver’s “re-drawing” of what the witness “might” have seen, we have a conventional hairy hominid.

  4. bill green responds:

    hey loren good morning wow very interesting article about the green swamp ape or florida sasquatch. the sketches of the creature seen are wonderful very detailed. keep me informed of other florida sasquatch activity. thanks bill :)p.s. im sure the florida sasquatch creatures are the prowl now becouse they looking for more food resources etc therefore they will be seen more often by hikers fishermen etc in florida everglades etc before any wicked weather hits florida that will force the creatures to find some sort of shelter in swamps etc for protection. honest opinions.

  5. scmarlowe responds:

    Loren, great article! Thank you for clearing up some of the issues. Most notably the notion that Jennifer Ward wasn’t anything more than a figment of the imagination. (Since Jennifer has appeared in the Orlando Sentinel piece about the sighting, three radio shows and on Local Television — WB38 out of Tampa — I guess the individual perpetrating this dis-information just failed to do their homework).

    I’d like to add two evidential items of information, if I may?

    Since Jennifer’s sighting, I have had two additional people step forward with identical descriptions — including the patches around the eyes. One individual is as credible as Jennifer — an 80 year old women who encountered the animal in 2001 along State Road 471 north and about 20 miles from where Jennifer saw it.

    Another wrote me an e-mail pre-Katrina, stating that he encountered the animal along the I-10 corridor in Louisiana.

    Also, while Mr. Klyver’s renderings are quite good, he attaches a feature that Jennifer has been ademant about in her continued interviews. The animal DOES NOT have a simian snout. Its face is flat — as with a human.

    I can also add that I’ve just finished working with a production company on a re-enactment of Jenn’s sighting for TV. It should be out sometime this fall — I don’t have an air date yet, but will keep you informed.

    Jennifer is expected to appear in a book that world-renown photographer, Matt Hoyle, is currently working on at this time. We finished the photo session last Saturday. The book should be out next year about this time and will have world-wide distribution.

    So much for figments…

  6. scmarlowe responds:

    Jayman, yes. In a way, it’s the artistic version of eyewitness contamination.

    This outcome is the reason that I have sought to limit Jennifer’s contact with those professionals who understand proper forensic interview technique. Many “cryptozoologists” have come forward asking to speak with Jennifer, but have demonstrated in their requests an ignorance of the proper procedure. As I result, I have denied their approaches. This is likely the reason that some have suggested Jennifer wasn’t a “real person”.

    However, they should not feel insulted. I also refused interview requests by CBS because the reporter, when asked for his questions to be revealed in advance of the contact, turned in interogatories that actually were worded in a way that TOLD Jennifer what she saw or were leading to a conclusion not supported by her experience. (This was also true of the “cryptozoology investigators” who demanded to speak with her.

  7. scmarlowe responds:

    Bill, Should you require information about our Florida Swamp Ape from the horse’s mouth, please feel free to contact me.

    Be assured that I also try to keep Loren up to snuff on developments (as you can see by his article here).

  8. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Interesting, the ‘eye-patches’ are a bit startling at first but the last artists seems to have a reasonable explanation for them. Shorter – possibly slightly lighter hair there could explain it.

    As for why, other than nature does have variations I really have no idea.

  9. scmarlowe responds:

    One-Eye, according to Jennifer, and the other two eyewitnesses mentioned above, they are NOT smaller than shown in Matt Ellis’ drawing.

    There is, however, a precident in nature for a primate. Take a look at a photo of a squirrel monkey. You’ll also note that there is similarity in the probosis as well.

    As far as hominins are concerned, the closest match to the cranial shape I can find in the fossil record is that of the Homo habilis.

  10. bill green responds:

    hey scott wow a tv movie about a florida sasquatch encounter thats wonderful comeing this fall on tv im realy looking forward on seeing that. yes i see by your posts here that you are getting new florida sasquatch activity reported to you.please keep me informed ok. thanks bill. p.s. that great that jennifer sasquatch sighting is going to be in a book.:) please feel free to email me anytime ok.

  11. scmarlowe responds:

    I might also point out that Mr. Klyver’s drawing persists the image of a Sasquatch with pongind-like physiology in that it does not have a neck and the head sits low on the shoulders.

    Matt Ellis’ rendering shows an animal that has a distinct neck that sits high on the shoulders.

    Given a number of similar descriptions, footprint track casts and the work of Alistair Hardy and Elaine Morgan on AAH, I have concluded that this animal is NOT a sasquatch and that the Swamp Ape IS a totally different species of bipedal, hairy primate. Thus I am now rejecting the notion that bipedalism is solely driven by grassland savanah evolutionary pressures.

    Another case in point to support that idea can be found in the bipedal Bili Ape — now thought to be a sub-species of Pan Trog. — but one that has adopted bipedal locomotion due to its swampland environment in the Congo.

  12. scmarlowe responds:

    Bill, it’s not a movie, but a documentary about BHPs. Ken Gerhard, who attended my field study class for FKCC last November as my guest lecturer, is doing the narration for it.

    You’ll find a database of cryptid sightings on the Pangea Institute website for your convenience in reviewing sighting data. I’ll be sure to keep everyone up on the latest developments.

    You can also listen to my broadcasts on Magick Mind Radio every other Tuesday for material relating to new sightings. It’s a podcast and can be heard over the Internet as well. We also have a chat room for listeners to make inquiries during show time.

  13. shovethenos responds:


    I didn’t know you specialized in the FL skunk ape.

    What is your opinion on the Myakka photographs?

  14. scmarlowe responds:

    Shove, I assume that you are referring to the photos of 2000 that were sent to the sheriff’s office.

    I believe that the animal pictured was indeed real. However, I do not hold that the creature was a Swamp Ape.

    There is a Center for Great Apes about 30 miles distant from the sighting location. They specialize in Orangs.

    My belief is that the animal was either an escapee from the CGA or an exotic pet that was unreported as escaped controlled animal.

    I have seen orangs up close and in the wild. Everything I have examined points to an orangutan in the photograph.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the Malaysian controversy of late will ultimately be attributed to the same species.

  15. One Eyed Cat responds:

    scmarlowe I was refering to the possible reasons for the appatrent eye-patch only.

    This posting is the first i have heard of this case and would not presume to understand what she saw without reading her description first hand – and probably still would not.

    There are many interesting things in our world no one understands, yet some people have the fate to encounter them.

    I am not physically able to go into the woods and check things out myself right now – and would need an experience outdoors person if I did anyway. But sometimes I can see something that can fit a detail without explaining everything everything. Just a small piece of a sometimes confusing puzzle.

  16. bill green responds:

    hey scott im looking forward to the swamp ape documentary to come tv this fall. is the documentary going to be on the histery channel or discovery channel or animal planet. yes ive looked at your florida sightings database in your great website before always very informative. please keep me informed ok. thanks bill green sorry about the misunderstanding with my previous post to you. 🙂

  17. scmarlowe responds:

    Bill, I’m not sure what “misunderstanding” you are referring to?

    If you mean about the TV piece, that was my fault for not being clearer in my description of the production.

    At the moment, I’m not sure which show will air the Ward story. I believe it will be Legend Hunters. Ken (Gerhard) is doing the leg work, I only assisted with the details of the reenactment and have had little direct contact with the producers.

    If that information is important now, I can contact Ken and find out for you. However, they have all promised me that I will be kept in the loop regarding the air date.

  18. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Don’t you worry that, in your role as intermediary, you too might be skewing the story toward a particular view by demanding a list of questions before you grant an interview?
    During my time as a journalist I never granted my interviewees access to the questions before an interview or gave them a copy of the story for approval before it could run. I’ve even had to kill what were, in fact, relatively banal human interest stories and come up with new ones at deadline because of people’s paranoid fear of “bad press.”
    I mean, I can understand a certain level of “stand-offishness” especially in light of the “tabloid-ization” of much of what passes for TV “news” (wow, lotta quotation mark using going on here). But, the way I and many of the better journalists I’ve worked with hae been able to get the unique angles we have is by being willing to throw the set questions we walk into an interview with out the window and follow the natural questions that develop as we talk to a subject and allow them to describe a situation in their own words. In fact I couldn’t tell you the last time I did an interview with a list of questions in front of me.
    I mean, please don’t get me wrong. I understand and respect where you are coming from. But you also run the risk of turning the witnesses statements and recollection of events into an automatic script, and that can also be detrimental to research as the witness begins to remember the “script” rather than the actual incident.

  19. scmarlowe responds:

    Jeremy, I think that you’ve taken the concept out of the arena in which it belongs.

    I have a number of friends who are reporters, news anchors or talk show hosts. As a radio person, I am also aware of the pressures of reporting and deadlines.

    Agreed that the witness must describe the incident “in their own words”. However, I disagree with the notion that the “public’s right to know” exceeds the mandate of scientific and forensic procedure.

    My review of questions prior to getting access to Jennifer is to insure that the questions are framed in proper language so that the interogatory isn’t designed to solicit errant information or convey a point of view that would slant or color the results.

    In the case of CBS, the reporter clearly wanted to play Penn & Teller with Jennifer and make her look foolish — this she certainly is not. Jennifer is highly credible, honest, modest and straight-forward.

    As far as scripting is concerned — that’s why an investigator uses video and audio recordings to tape the initial discussions and de-briefings. Time alters recollection.

  20. twblack responds:

    Nice article Loren. Can’t wait to see the documentary on the skunk ape.

  21. sasquatch responds:

    I doubt that if a third grader saw an orangutan they’d call it a swamp ape or a bigfoot. However the first drawings looked like a 3rd graders blend of a duck an ape and a human. The other drawings are pure conjecture based on presumptions. Until we have a swamp ape, and a bigfoot/sasquatch together we’ll never know if they’re the same species. Let’s confirm one first alright?

  22. scmarlowe responds:

    “Conjecture based on assumptions?” Drawings based on eyewitness sightings is the correct position.

    And, while the North American version remains elusive, at least one HAS been found and confirmed elsewere in the world. In that case, it wasn’t what was expected vis-a-vie Dr. Krantz’ theory either.

    Science is about possibilities — not dogma. It requires that “presumptions” be verified and refined.

    Finding cryptids is a bit like solving a crime using forensics — you can’t go out in the forest, or elsewhere, looking for the animal without building a profile of it (much like a criminologist solving a crime by an unknown criminal). In time, and with enough evidence, the “perp’s” description and behavior becomes clear enough to make an apprehension. Not all crime is committed by the very same criminal as you have suggested — translating the analogous concept to cryptozoology and crypids.

  23. scmarlowe responds:

    And, by the way, Jennifer Ward is not a third-grader. She’s an adult. She knows what she saw, as does Pat Edwards and the other witness, and she has been very articulate in her description.

    Consider Matt Ellis’ drawing to be the equivalent of an artist’s conception of a suspect in a crime.

    I have two sketchbooks of drawings done by Jennifer as she tried to get her mind around what she saw. Now completely walled in, the back of drywall in her re-modeled kitchen contains full size sketches she did as well. In short, she went through a similar period of shock as did Richard Dryfuss’ character in “Close Encounters”. Matt was called in to give her the closure necessary to envision the animal she actually saw as it appeared when she saw it.

  24. sasquatch responds:

    By the way, I didn’t say she was in third grade but that her drawings look like a third grader drew them. I’m sure she’s an intelligent, nice person and may very well have seen an unknown creature. The subsuquent drawings are made from assumptions, and conjecture yes. Until you have a real photo of course the drawings are gonna be full of these things. That’s not to say that the assumptions and conjecture is wrong. Sounds like you’re a little too defensive bro’. Read more carefully before YOU make assumptions about where I’m coming from.

  25. Mnynames responds:

    One of these days a professional art student will see one of these things, and we won’t have to worry so much about interpretations. Until then, we’ll just have to put up with pencil sketches of effeminate Muppets.

    Having said that, there is something undeniably captivating about the pose of the entity…so innocent, so seemingly vulnerable. I find it very interesting that she should be able to convey this so well, even with her limited artistic skills. Anybody else pick up on this, or is it late and I’m reading WAY too much into these things?

  26. scmarlowe responds:

    With all due respect, the words you chose have connotations that lead one to the conclusions I drew.

    You’re suggesting that all the drawings are “assumptions” and “conjecture”. That doesn’t apply to work done by an eyewitness — no matter how amateur their abilities. Neither do the terms apply when the eyewitness works with an artist directly and approves every stroke of the pencil, pen or brush as a representation of their experience.

    The terms do properly apply to subsequent renderings done second hand and beyond — which is why I noted the misconceptions represented in Mr. Klyver’s art.

    We aren’t talking about impressionism here as an artistic technique, we’re dealing with realism as far as the medium will allow.

    Even photography is subject to question as the P-G film continually demonstrates.

    You might want to consider a more tactful approach in the future.

  27. J-Foisy responds:

    It looks as though The creature is clutching something. Swamp area – could be a fish. Is there any other known sightings where the creature may have been foraging for fish or other aqatic life? In all the reports that I have reviewed I can’t recall of any. Just a thought. I am interested in the eating habits (if any) that are reported in sightings. Partially eaten food could have bite marks that could help investigators.

  28. scmarlowe responds:

    When Jennifer first saw it, the animal was crouching down and watching something intensely (which is why, we gather, that it didn’t notice her at first). It raised up when it saw her in her vehicle.

    The adjacent area was awash after the storm except for the path back to the woods and creek — where it had come from. This was across the street from where it was seen.

    North or south would have taken it up or down the road (Moore Road). West would have taken the creature into residential yards where it would have encountered dogs on the other side of two homes. Those residences are partially concealed behind tall plant growth from the sighting point.

    Thus, Jennifer effectively cut off the animal’s prefered escape route.

    We assume that it was looking for food when seen, but it did not have anything in it’s hands when seen by Jenn as she drove by it slowly.

    There are stories of Swamp Apes being seen by commercial fishermen off 10,000 Islands and by sport fishermen near Boca Grande in the water swimming between islands. These areas are much farther south of Lakeland and on the west coast of Florida.

    It is assumed that they catch and eat fish, but I have not heard of any sightings where they have been seen doing so.

    They have been reported to have caught and killed deer and boor, as well as domesticated hog and chickens (so we presume they eat them). They have also been associated with cattle and are frequently seen in conjunction with ranch land here. Some people believe that they are responsible for some unexplained cattle deaths where partially consumed carcasses are found.

    In order to have evolved the kind of intelligence they exhibit, it is a safe bet that they are at least omniverous as comnsuming animal protein is one of the hallmarks of a higher predator.

  29. sasquatch responds:

    Sorry I didn’t want to make it sound like Jennifers pics were based on conjecture and assumptions, just the ones afterward. It’s true; not being able to draw well doesn’t mean you’re lying. When I was little I caught a gigantic crawdad that no-one believed me about and if I’d drawn a picture it probably would have sucked.

  30. scmarlowe responds:

    You should see the other twenty-some drawings that Jennifer did in her sketch pads!

    When we selected these, she felt that they best represented the animal — prior to Matt Ellis’ rendition being undertaken — when the papers asked for illustrative art.

    There are also details she did of hands, muscles and so forth. Matt had a lot to work with in addition to consultations with Jennifer during the rendering process.

  31. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Well it sounds from your description of Jennifer’s drawings and Matt having so much to work from that Jennifer has a wonderful eye for detail. That can be good for the researchers, but very stressful for a witness seeing something they cannot explain. I hope she can get rest from it now.

  32. Ken Gerhard responds:

    The program that will feature a reenactment of Jennifer Ward’s sighting is called Legend Hunters: Bigfoot and it should appear on the Travel Channel later this year. When the producers asked me for a recent sighting to reenact, Jennifer’s encounter came straight to mind. I had met her at Scott’s field study and she struck me as quite an ordinary person, who had witnessed something remarkable. Florida’s swamp ape is only a small part of the show however, because the majority of footage was shot in Texas and Louisiana, along with a small segment shot in northern California.

  33. scmarlowe responds:

    Thanks for clearing up the details about the production and its airing, Ken.

    If responsible investigators need more information about Jennifer’s sighting, they are welcome to contact me directly.

    While I have closed her case officially, I am working on two other cases in the same geography at this time. As you know, Ken, our work in the Green Swamp is now on going and we have developed an interesting body of evidence for that vicinity — all of which is, so far, pointing to my contention that we are looking at an animal that is a BHP (Bigfoot), but NOT a Sasquatch as that term applies to the animal frequently seen in the Pacific Northwest.

    You will note that I am using the nomenclature of Bigfoot as meaning a Bipedal, Hairy Primate and not as a species specific identity. You all may infer from that, that I no longer accept Dr. Krantz’ attribution as Gigantopithicus Blackii as the single candidate for all Bigfoot. In fact, I do not accept GB as a potential explanation for any BHP at this time.

  34. bill green responds:

    hi scmarlowe good early morning very interesting reply posted above about the swamp ape ie sasquatch. i would be very interested in hearing all about your investigations of those 2 new sightings you mentioned above your previous post. yes i do definetly agree with your above swamp ape post.also i would be very interested in hearing all about your resent swamp ape field research trips in florida swamps .and possible swamp ape evidence that you found resently. again keep us informed ok.:)

  35. shumway10973 responds:

    yeah, I think the last 2 are more what “they” should look like. The 2 just below the picture make it look either like a really hairy person or like something out of star trek, doesn’t look primate-like at all.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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