We begin with a
Bigfoot with bad BO. That's how the legendary Florida
creature known as the skunk ape has been described. People say it lurks
in the Sunshine State, even leaving prints. Does it add up to proof,
or is it a bit too perfect? Panama City Beach in
Florida's panhandle is a popular vacation spot
with a lively nightlife. But in July 2020, Chloe
Brennan and her boyfriend found something
that might make them never leave the house again. NARRATOR: Let's push in on that. It's a claw or paw print
left on the rear windshield of Chloe's car. You can see the markings
of those long claws and detailed
creases in the skin. Weirder still, Chloe
says it smelled. It was just, like,
stinky, greasy, and it looked like
a monkey hand. NARRATOR: On social
media, friends wonder whether it
could be evidence of a legendary creature
called the skunk ape.

[music playing] Field researcher Ken
Gerhard has investigated dozens of sightings. There seem to be more
accounts of it chasing people, terrorizing people. People describe the
face as being somewhere between a human and an ape– very broad shoulders,
no neck, very long arms. NARRATOR: And it might
be more than a legend, the skunk ape has allegedly
been captured on video. Almost 600 miles south in
the Florida Everglades, this famous footage
emerged in 2000. It appears to show
the Southern Bigfoot ambling through a swamp. Watch as it suddenly
breaks into a long limb to run, almost aware that it's
being watched, finally escaping into a grove of palm trees.

One big difference
between the skunk ape and Bigfoot, the skunk
ape is said to stink of rotten eggs and moldy socks. But we want to know, do these
videos pass the smell test? For answers, we turn to wildlife
biologist Lucy Eckersley. When I first saw
this, I have to say I wasn't sure what it was. NARRATOR: Could it be a
neighborhood dog or cat? This is a pretty large print
from a pretty large animal, and it's going up a windshield. That's pretty unusual behavior. From what I can see
here, this is an animal that has both digits and a flat
area of its foot the same way that we have. Many animals, like dogs
and cats, are digitigrade.

So that means
they're walking just on the tips of their digits. NARRATOR: That eliminates
those domestic animals since this print has
longer, flatter fingermarks. So could it be from a human-like
creature with sharp claws? I can see a few clear digits
and then some folds of skin in the center. The claws were actually
a big part for me. When you look at them,
they are printed, the entire length of
the claw, but claws actually curve like this. So if it was a real animal,
you would expect to only see the tip of the claw a little far
away from the end of the digit. I think that this is
somebody's back of their hand, and then they've drawn on or
included in some way the claws. NARRATOR: Anthropologist Kathy
Strain also examines the print. I did not find a single animal
that would match that print. CHLOE BRENNAN: We've had a
lot of people come and say that they think that this is
a print that we have done. It is not something
that we have done.

NARRATOR: As for that
incredible skunk ape video– Extraordinary claims
need extraordinary proof. NARRATOR: Strain
does a gait analysis, comparing how this creature
runs compared to a known ape. KATHY STRAIN: Up until the
time the animal starts to run, it was potentially believable. But once it runs,
it just falls apart. NARRATOR: Note the fluid,
balanced strides of this chimp compared to the
clumsy, awkward motion of the alleged skunk ape. KATHY STRAIN: That's how I run,
really sloppy, not very good at it. And I would think an animal that
is natural to the environment would be able to run
fast and easy and elegant and just perfect, and that's
not at all what you see here. [music playing] So what's the verdict? The lack of a separated claw
means the paw print is probably the back of a human hand.

As far as the video,
the creature's gait strongly suggests it's
a person in a suit. We're calling both a hoax. That doesn't mean the
skunk ape isn't real. Indigenous tribes have legends
dating back hundreds of years. It's March of 2011. Scott Carpenter, a
systems administrator for a small software
company in East Tennessee, is conducting Bigfoot
research in his spare time when his trail camera records
this mysterious footage. It's a tough angle, but look
at the upper left corner of the screen. Missed it? Scott himself didn't
notice it until he got home and reviewed the footage. Then, he made this
enhanced magnification, and here, it seems
like you can make out a dog-like head bobbing
between the tree branches. The movement caught my eye. You could literally see the
nostrils opening and closing as it was taking breaths,
and I did some research, called some people, and
described what I had.

And they're like,
that's a dogman. NARRATOR: Field
researcher Ken Gerhard explains that while dogman
encounters are relatively new, reports seem to be
increasing rapidly. There are popular
podcasts where eyewitnesses will come on and tell about
their stories or accounts or encounters. The encounters are
often very chilling. Dogman is often seen
feasting on roadkill. It chases and claws at
automobiles as they go by. It's an utterly terrifying
creature, whatever it is. NARRATOR: The dogman craze
traces back to Michigan. A local legend about
the half man, half hound first caught fire in
1987 and then blew up again in 2007 when
a man named Mike Agrusa recorded this
now-famous footage known as the Gable Film. It starts out like an
unremarkable home video but then shows a creature
crawling on all fours, then standing erect, and
finally charging the cameraman.

[music playing] [growl] The legend of the dogman
made people afraid to go into the woods, and I'm
sure many 10-year-olds were scared to death by
parents retelling the story around a campfire. Now, here's the thing. Mike Agrusa has always been
up front about the fact that the Gable Film was a hoax. That's Mike himself in a
costume, running at the camera. Pretty impressive
that the dude can move like that on all fours. But the phenomenon of reported
dogman sightings is very real, and Scott Carpenter swears
his footage is proof positive. So what do our experts think? NARRATOR: First,
we took the footage to anthropologist Kathy Strain. She says that, if true,
reports of the dogman describe different behavior
from what we see here. Dogman is thought to
be extremely aggressive. And if you're in
their space, they will do everything possible
to get you out of their space, including running you down. The video I don't
believe shows a dog man because it would have tried
to run Scott out of the area. NARRATOR: That prompted us to
analyze the video more closely, and our main man Michael
Primeau saw nothing hinky with the source footage.

But when he inspected Scott's
enhanced magnifications, the pixels told a
different story. This recording has
undergone some sort of change. The operator essentially
stabilized this part of the video image
and then applied what's called pixel
interpolation, or zooming. And I'm seeing
symptoms of that here. Information may have
been added to make something look
subjectively better but not objectively accurate. Based on the analysis
that I've performed, I cannot authenticate
these images, and I'm concerned about the
opportunity to manipulate these pixels to
represent something that wasn't originally recorded. Since Scott Carpenter's
enhanced videos cannot be considered reliable evidence,
we are going to have to conclude this is a hoax. While the Gable Film
video and images like these may capture the
imagination of those who want to believe in dogman,
the rest of us will just have to keep
sniffing around for proof. NARRATOR: November 2016,
the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan. A car is traversing a
snowy road at an elevation of about 5,213 feet in the
Ural Mountains after dark. As is common in Russia,
a dash cam is recording the journey, then this.

NARRATOR: Let's slow that
down and take another look. Suddenly, a light-colored
figure dashes across the road. Whatever it is moves
quickly and on two legs. It seems to be
covered in fur, and it leaves behind footprints
that the stunned occupants of the car record as well. MAN: [non-english speech] Here we can see the footprints
going across the road. So we have 12 feet from
maybe here to over here. A guy would be
hard-pressed to make big leaps like that at the same
time running through the snow. I am open to this being
a real yeti video. NARRATOR: Field
researcher Cliff Barackman says that a thorough
analysis of the figure's gait only adds more
credence to the video. Yetis have a wide arm swing,
and that's what we do see here. I do like the fact that
the trailing leg kicks up snow, because one of the small
details that differentiates the gait of a yeti is that the
trailing leg reaches a degree bend of about 90 degrees.

In humans, it's
about 76 degrees, and that would explain
why the snow kicked up behind the thing, if
the trailing leg was going to such an extreme angle. NARRATOR: The
search for the yeti dates back to 326 BC, when
Alexander the Great set out to conquer the Indus Valley. Having heard tales of
the mysterious beast, he demanded to see one,
but the local people told him the yeti could not
survive at that low altitude. Unlike Bigfoot, the Yeti
is reputed to be extremely aggressive towards humans. There are a number of accounts
of it attacking local villagers and killing their yaks,
generally just displaying a nasty disposition altogether.

NARRATOR: In the modern era, the
yeti gained worldwide attention when a famous mountaineer found
these mysterious footprints high in the Nepalese Himalayas. They actually photographed
these footprints next to an ice ax and next to a shoe,
and these photographs basically made worldwide news. NARRATOR: And there's
another possibility here. In 2010, researchers
found evidence proving the existence of a
population of early humans, known as Denisovans,
in a cave in Siberia. Denisovans were extinct
primates that were very human-like, and they are
regarded as being a separate species of archaic human. NARRATOR: Could
this be a surviving member of that species? DNA studies have shown
that some Tibetans inherited a gene that helps them
breathe easy at high altitudes from Denisovans. So that seems to lend
some credence to the idea that a relict hominin
of that lineage could persevere in this
harsh of an environment.

But is that what we're
looking at, or a yeti, or a plain-old Homo sapien? We ask the experts. NARRATOR: First, that
intriguing Denisovan theory, biologist Floyd Hayes says that
if there were still Denisovans living today, we'd have
more recent bones, not just ancient fossils. They're thought to have
interbred with humans and merged into
the human lineage about 15,000 to
30,000 years ago. NARRATOR: Of course,
absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But anthropologist
Kathy Strain agrees that this can't be a
surviving Denisovan because they looked
much more like us than this furry figure does. There's no reason
to suspect that any of our
closely-related ancestors would also be hair-covered. So for me, there's
no possibility for that to be a
Denisovan because it is 100% covered in hair. NARRATOR: So what's left? KATHY STRAIN: For me, the
only thing this could be is either a true yeti or a hoax.

There isn't any
other animal that lives in this area
of Russia that would match the description of
what you're seeing on the film. So it can't be an
upright walking bear. It can't be
misidentified caribou. NARRATOR: And when
Strain closely analyzes the gait of
the mysterious creature, she sees something completely
different than Barackman. KATHY STRAIN: When it
goes over the edge, it almost falls over
on the other side. So for me, I would expect that
a yeti has been in the snow, and they would know
how to maneuver from one side of a road to
another side of the road. NARRATOR: Combine that with
what wildlife biologist Dr. Stephanie Schuttler observes,
not about the creature, but about the
occupants of the car.

MAN: [non-english speech] Their reaction
to the animal is much earlier than my reaction. Your brain takes a second
or two to register, and then you have the reaction. And theirs seemed
to come earlier than when the beam crossed the road. KATHY STRAIN: What I think
we're seeing is a hoax. I believe this is a human in a
yeti costume trying to pretend to be a yeti, likely with
the knowledge of the people driving the car. So based on the
creature's clumsy motion and the premature exclamations
of the eyewitnesses, we're calling this one a hoax. This was most likely a guy
in a suit playing a gag with the occupants of the car. That's not my idea of fun. But hey, different strokes
for different folks. NARRATOR: April of 2021, it's
nighttime on a rural road in Costa Rica when a
security camera picks up this mysterious footage. [music playing] Let's slow it down and zoom in. It's dark, and the
footage is grainy. But it appears as if
some bizarre creature creeps out of the shadows. It's clearly much larger
than the dogs that can be seen cautiously
approaching it before it waddles
away into the night.

Down the street, some men
responding to the commotion step into the road and capture
additional smartphone footage of the strange creature. Gustavo Martinez runs
a local YouTube channel and has a theory. [non-english speech] NARRATOR: Field
researcher Ken Gerhard, who studies Latin
American folklore, says La Mona Bruja, also
known as the monkey witch, is known throughout the region. La Mona Bruja is said
to be able to transform into the shape of a monkey,
and countering La Mona Bruja is considered to be a portent
of impending disaster, illness, or death. Essentially, it's just bad news. NARRATOR: And as
strange as that seems, an even stranger
theory soon emerges. Some on the internet feel they
see more than four legs, here and here, and that
scrambling movement– get ready– they think it
could be a giant spider.

Cliff Barackman says
there are legends. There are stories of
the J'ba Fofi, which is this folkloric
spider in Central Africa that was
apparently observed once by some explorers in the 1930s. Apparently, it was a
tarantula-like spider in the web that was 3
to 4 feet in diameter. NARRATOR: But this is
a new world sighting. Are there any new world giants? Well, in a way. Check out this
nightmarish footage captured by a biologist in
the Amazon rainforest in 2019. It shows a massive
tarantula killing a possum. Wow. If there were to be some
undiscovered species of spider or another creature,
biodiverse Costa Rica would be a logical place to find it. 5,000 new species of
animals and plants were discovered there
between 2011 and 2013. But is what we see in
this video even real? [music playing] NARRATOR: We wanted to know
if this is some kind of CGI. So our first stop was to
our video forensic analyst Michael Primeau.

I haven't been
given any real reason to question the authenticity
of the video recording. NARRATOR: OK, then. We asked wildlife biologist
Dr. Stephanie Schuttler to address the theory
that this could be a giant, unknown
spider species. Spiders couldn't
get to this size. They have an exoskeleton, and
it would be too large and heavy. They also depend on
tracheal openings. They don't have lungs. They also have
copper-based blood, which isn't as efficient
as our iron-based blood. So the oxygen couldn't
get throughout their body if it was this big. NARRATOR: Professor of
biology Dr.

Floyd Hayes goes through several
other options among the known local wildlife. Well, this doesn't look like
any known species of mammals that lives in Costa Rica,
like a tapir or a peccary or a sloth or a monkey. We don't know of
any monkeys that walk with their legs splayed
outward like this individual here, so it can't be a monkey. NARRATOR: Under closer scrutiny,
Hayes thinks he spots a clue in the dark and grainy video. It looks like the rear legs
are longer than the front legs, which is why I think it looks
to me like a human trying to walk like a crab would walk.

NARRATOR: Dr. Schuttler
agrees and thinks that it's the behavior of man's
best friend that provides the conclusive evidence. We see a dog appears
to be barking at it, and then it seems to
go really close to it. And if that were
a real animal, I think the dog would
be much more scared and acting more defensive. [music playing] So it turns out this
isn't the legendary witch monkey of Costa
Rica, and it wasn't a monstrously large spider. While we don't think
the video was doctored, our verdict is that
this is a hoax. It's just a very flexible
person in a costume imitating a crab walk, but
we're still not sure why. NARRATOR: It's April 2020
in Billings, Montana. Resident Sean Ragan
wakes up to discover a dead deer on his property. He decides to check his home
security system to see if it's caught the culprit overnight. But upon review, he instead
notices something even scarier than the average wild predator.

Watch the right
side of the footage. Out of the darkness walks
a tall, white figure that resembles an
upside down V. There don't appear to be arms, a
torso, or even much of a head. After a few seconds, it
slinks back into the darkness. We just freaked out
the second that we saw it because it didn't
look like anything you would see in the woods of
the United States, anywhere. It had such an
inhuman quality to it.

NARRATOR: We've enhanced
the dark, grainy video as best we can. And you can see that
despite its abnormal shape, the thing sure looks like
it's taking deliberate steps. And Sean isn't the first
person to inadvertently catch a glimpse of something
shaped like that. Another video from 2007
depicting a very similar figure continues to bounce
around the internet. This video was set up by
a man in Fresno, California. It's security footage,
and what he captured was something
incredibly bizarre. They move with this
extremely strange gait. The creatures were
eventually dubbed the Fresno Nightcrawlers. NARRATOR: The man took his
footage to authorities, but they came up empty. And as the footage
ascended to internet fame, reports of other encounters
with so-called nightcrawlers bubbled up. Nightcrawlers, according to
people that have encountered them, are kind of
phantom-like apparitions, the main characteristics
being these very long, lanky legs and really not much
else in terms of a morphology or a physical body.

NARRATOR: Any attempts
to explain their origins or any connection to the
dead deer on Shawn's property are as ambiguous as
these pieces of footage. Some people on the internet
have connected the Fresno Nightcrawlers to supposed
Native American legends, that the nightcrawlers
are actually Earth fairies that came down from the sky. There are also photos
floating around on the internet of
these wooden sculptures of creatures that
look a little bit like the Fresno Nightcrawlers. However, no one really knows
where those photos came from.

NARRATOR: Wherever
this creature came from, its brief
presence is something Sean will not soon forget. It starts off as disbelief
and then kind of trickles into paranoia about going
back out, paranoia about even staying in the area, and also
paranoia of even bringing this up to other people. Both Sean and the
Fresno homeowner never spotted the
nightcrawlers again, but people as far away as Poland
have reported similar sightings of these eerie figures. No physical specimen
has ever been found. So let's see what we can
determine when our experts put their best foot forward. [music playing] NARRATOR: First, archaeologist
Ed Barnhart examines the theory that these creatures
could be connected to Native American folklore. The Navajo talk about
a similar phenomena called skinwalkers. They come out at night. And they are evil witches who
can transform into animals, but they do not look like
anything that the Indians have ever talked about.

NARRATOR: None of the known
Native American folklore talks of a creature
without a head or torso like these things. Barnhart's assessment is
that this supposed legend is little more than
internet speculation, perhaps even fabrication. So perhaps Sean's camera
just caught a person who was partly obscured. It's possible
that someone just had some very brightly
colored pants on, and they had a dark shirt. But the legs themselves don't
really look particularly human. The legs look kind of
spindly, like they just– they end in points. NARRATOR: West
concludes Sean was likely duped by a simple prank. He shows us how he
thinks he was done. I took a pair of
my pajamas, and I put this little
wooden armature here, which is a type of
thing a puppeteer uses, and moved the avatar to
move the legs of the puppet. And we got something
that kind of looks a little bit
like a pair of pajama legs just walking along.

NARRATOR: Notice the
similarity in the motion of the alleged nightcrawler and
Mick's puppet, which is pulled along by a thin, taut string. And the type of camera also
plays a role in the illusion. MICK WEST: If you've got
a low-resolution security camera video, the strings
really aren't very apparent. They're very easily hidden. This type of hoax, it's
quite easy to pull off. [music playing] Our verdict, Sean was
the victim of a hoax. We can't say, though,
whether it was intentionally meant to scare him or was
just someone playing up the online nightcrawler legend. The dead deer found
on the property was likely a coincidence. As for the original
Fresno Nightcrawler video that set all of
this off, probably a version of the same stunt..

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