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The Curious Case of Mr. Holmes and the Mystery Ape

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 19th, 2007

“Perhaps when a man has special knowledge and special powers like my own, it rather encourages him to seek a complex explanation when a simpler one is at hand.” ~ Sherlock Holmes, in The Adventure of the Abbey Grange.

The serial melodrama apparently continues.

To tell you the truth, when I read the headline to the story late last night (November 18, 2007), “Bear trap set for mysterious ape,” I chuckled to myself. I immediately thought: “Dang, someone’s decided to finally attempt to catch Jacobs mangy bear.”

But I read on, and was more startled than enlightened by what I read.

Here was the Florida Fish and Wildlife folks saying they were going to set out a bear trap to catch the “mysterious ape” seen around Glen St. Mary, Florida. How weird, I said to myself. Didn’t they declare on November 15th, as reported on the 16th, that the “orangutan” was nothing but a “fox squirrel” (apparently a well-fed one)?
tv ape
Surely, I continued with my internal dialogue, there must be another section of FF&W involved in this part of the new “bear trap” operation?

Yikes. Guess who is reported to be the one putting out the bear trap for the “mysterious ape”? Ken Holmes. Is this the same Mr. Holmes, I presume, who used donuts for bait the first day of all the excitement? Is this the same Mr. Holmes, I must deduce, who was quoted by the newspapers for the “fox squirrel” theory?

Obviously, something isn’t correct in all this reporting about Mr. Holmes, his opinions and actions.

Okay, first, something seems off with the chronology of this tale. I need to dig into the media postings of this “new” bear trap story.

Two web renderings about the broadcast media story of the bear trap are both shown below for historical critical analysis of the evolution of this story. You can read the earlier two stories on Cryptomundo about the Florida reports here and here.

The story I read late yesterday is from a Colorado NBC news station, for November 18th. They are treating this report as brand-new, obviously because they just showed the footage. But as you can see below, the beginning of this “bear trap” account issued from a Florida NBC television station, which created it on November 15, the same day, apparently that Mr. Holmes was formulating his “fox squirrel” statements.

So, is the bear trap baited with bananas and apples still out there? Was the trap placed after or before the “fox squirrel” theory? What does FF&W officer Mr. Holmes really think? What does animal control officer Tina Thomas, who reported and described accurately what an orangutan looks like in a tree, think of the “fox squirrel” theory?

In the video clip that is found with the Florida link, below, Ken Holmes is taped as openly saying that orange peels have been found associated with the feeding occurring with the “mysterious ape.” (Do Florida’s fox squirrels eat oranges?)

I am beginning to think that the “fox squirrel” story is more media misquotes than Mr. Holmes’ statements. I am now strongly skeptical about what was allegedly reported about the “fox squirrel.”

What are the realities in this mysterious enigma and what is merely media hype? And what of Ms. Tina Thomas and her tortured trauma upon seeing the tree-bound anthropoid with binoculars? (Okay, yes, she had the binoculars, not the ape.) Was the other person there that saw the red ape through the eyeglasses none other than Mr. Holmes? Where did the trail of orange peels end? Only Mr. Holmes and Ms. Thomas may know the answers to many of these riddles.

I will continue with my efforts to directly reach Mr. Holmes and Ms. Thomas.

Here are the two web-articles:

Glen St. Mary, Florida – Florida Fish and Wildlife have set a trap for a mysterious ape spotted a few days ago.

It seemed just about everyone in the sleepy town of Glen St. Mary knew about the big sighting, but a few residents still hadn’t heard the news.

If they see it, they’ll know what it is.

“It’s an orange-ish brown – that’s all I know,” said one resident.

“I had no idea,” said another.

Those who’ve seen it believe the mystery ape is an orangutan.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say they think something is there, and they’re hoping their bear trap will catch it.

Ken Holmes baited the trap with bananas and apples.

It’s set up in the yard of the family that first saw the ape in their backyard. ~ by Dan Boniface , Web Producer, created: 11/18/2007 11:10:27 AM“Bear trap set for mysterious ape,” KUSA-TV-Channel 9, Colorado, November 18, 2007.

tv ape

— Thursday, Florida Fish and Wildlife set up a trap for a primate apparently spotted a couple of days ago.

It seemed just about everyone in the sleepy town of Glynn Saint Mary’s knew about the big sighting, but today, First Coast News found out some people hadn’t heard the news.

But if they see it, they’ll know what it is.

“It’s an orange-ish brown, that’s all I know,” said one resident.

“I had no idea,” said another resident.

They’re talking about a possible Orangutan on the loose.

But Florida Fish and Wildlife says they think something is there. And they’re setting up a trap to try to catch it. Ken Holmes put bananas and apples inside what’s normally used to trap bears.

It’s set up in the yard of the family that apparently saw the Orangutan in their back yard. ~ by Kristin Smith, Reporter, “Bear Trap Set Up to Catch Orangutan, First Coast News — WTLV NBC-12, Jacksonville, Florida, Created: 11/15/2007 7:10:45 PM; Updated: 11/16/2007 11:46:57 AM.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.


11 Responses to “The Curious Case of Mr. Holmes and the Mystery Ape”

  1. Artist responds:

    Gad, Sherlock – you may be on to something here! Let us proceed with the investigation forthwith, before this confounded narrative becomes legend.

  2. NightFlight responds:

    “Right turn, Clyde.” Where’s Mr. Eastwood when you need him?

  3. old crow responds:

    Bear trap seems a little extreme for either an Orang. or a fox squirrel. Very interesting indeed.

    Oh and I thought that “orangutan” were on the endangered list. Hmmm.

  4. bill green responds:

    this is a very informative new article about the curious case of mr. holmes & the mystery ape. im sure there will be more sightings of this mystery ape in weeks to come. thanks bill green

  5. Mnynames responds:

    I hadn’t mentioned it earlier, but a possible explanation for the squirrel theory may point to it relating solely to the donuts. Perhaps Holmes was simply saying that the nibbling on the donuts was inconsistent with an Orangutan, but likely to have been from a squirrel. Both are red, so maybe the reporter jumped to a further conclusion. The thought process would be something like this- “Something red up a tree. Something nibbled on the donuts. Those somethings must be the same thing. Guy says squirrel nibbled on donuts. Squirrels are red. Therefore, the red thing up a tree was a squirrel.” Simplistic, but understandable.

  6. DARHOP responds:

    NightFlight responds:
    November 19th, 2007 at 10:41 am
    “Right turn, Clyde.” Where’s Mr. Eastwood when you need him?

    Thats funny!

  7. cryptidsrus responds:

    Nice Eastwood quote there, NightFlight. Not his best movies, but memorable nevertheless.

    Doesn’t surprise me about the apparent inconsistencies between Mr. Holmes actual statements and the media interpretation of them. Like some else said in here, the media always wants to maintain the “status quo” and will take any new piece of information that challenges the paradigm and “spin” it so it maintains the status quo. I guess they feel people could “panic.” I guess they think that.

    The “Abbey Grange” story is considered one of the best Holmes stories, BTW. (I’m saying this as an English Major and Holmes fan.) It comes after Doyle “resurrected” him after the Reichenbach story due to pressure from the public. Unfortunately, the stories AFTER he “came back” are almost always acknowledged to be of poorer quality than the pre-“death” ones. “Abbey Grange” and a couple of other ones are the exception. After he came back from the dead he became an abetter of crimes and letting-go-of-murderers-because-they-“deserved” it, so to speak. Totally unimportant to the discussion here, but I couldn’t help it. The literature wonk in me was temporarily awakened. Sorry, Loren.
    My favorite quote by Sherlock Holmes is—

    “When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.”

    I’m paraphrasing from memory, of course.

    Applies neatly to this whole situation. People are always more ready to believe the “impossible” than the “improbable” for some reason.

    Anyway, to get back to the subject—

    Hope you do reach Ms. Thomas and Mr. Holmes, Loren. They could certainly help clear up this mystery…

    The Game Is Afoot, Watson!!!

  8. Atticus responds:

    If this bear trap was placed after the statement about a well fed fox squirrel, then it would seem that it may have been a wipe after all.

    A bear trap is definitely an extreme way to capture a squirrel or even an Orang.Baited with apples and bananas doesnt seem like usual squirrel bait either.

  9. Alligator responds:

    I’d almost make a friendly wager that if the truth about this incident comes out we will find:
    1) The media got their facts out of sequence.
    2) The media misquoted the witnesses trying to “gin up” a little more controversy.
    3) Someone had an orang, illegally.
    4) Points 1 and 2 again.

    I’ve seen the media botch reporting on low-key events where prepared statements were read and copies distributed to the press to ensure accuracy. And you still come out looking like a dolt in the next edition of the paper. A cousin who is a journalism teacher told me it is getting harder to teach, students are just sloppier and looking for shortcuts. There are so many media outlets now, everyone is quick in their reports and going for the big scoop before their competitor so stuff gets aired that wouldn’t have 20 years ago.

  10. Artist responds:

    I’m thinking Swamp Gas.
    Or otter.

  11. red_pill_junkie responds:

    The game is afoot! ;-)



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