July/August 2019 GASPARILLA ISLAND 29
decay that heralded the appearance of these
great hairy beasts. It is this smell that gave them
the nickname that still sticks with them to this day
– the Skunk Ape. As Florida’s Sasquatch or Bigfoot
type of cryptozoological animal it is still
widely reported in the preserve. Hunters in the
area discuss sightings almost as frequently as tales
of monster bucks, wild turkeys or wild boars
they’ve seen. Most think of them as harmless, but
certainly not a myth.
Many Floridians are clueless about the myths,
monsters, massacres and legends that surround
them. This book can change their minds and
influence their actions.
“We hope the book draws attention to some
of the fun and off the beaten path places to visit.
We love disproving some legends, but are just as
excited to find new legends to explore.”
When asked their writing preference between
embellished or non-embellished legends the
authors said they enjoyed researching the embellished
ones and digging out the nuggets of truth
behind them. “Sometimes the truth is way scarier
than the legend,” they said.
One Florida structure featured in this book is
the Bloody Bucket Bridge in Wauchula. In the
middle of Florida, there is an area off the beaten
path of tourists. Southwest of Lake Seminole and
northwest of Lake Okeechobee is an area many
call the “Florida Plains.” This area is notable for
little-known towns and forgotten homesteads.
It is criss-crossed with small
roads that lead to old farms and quarries.
Ghost towns like Popash once
dotted the area. Now with Florida’s
growing population, even this area is
expanding and developing quickly. The
once-abandoned heart of Florida is
beating again. Every ghost town and
abandoned building in the area
has some haunted history
The journey to discover
Florida's hidden history will not
end with this book. After traveling so many
thousands of miles for this book, never leaving the
state of Florida, they said the journey never ends.
They just sent the third book in their series off
and it will be released this fall.
made a positive
influence on both
authors. “We constantly
and emails with
even more stories
said. “ We
some point soon,
but there's plenty
obscure Florida history will guide your
imagination inside dark places. As you continue
on from one story to the next, consider packing
for a few overnight destinations if you dare to
zigzag down back roads through dank swamps,
past abandoned schools, and over burial grounds
that continue to haunt our everyday lives across a
familiar landscape waiting to be re-discovered.
Mark Muncy is the creator of Hellview
Cemetery, an author of horror and science
fiction, he has spent more than three decades
collecting ghostly tales and reports of legendary
beasts. He lives in St. Petersburg, on the remains
of an ancient midden with his fiancée, Kari
Schultz. Occasionally, he said, he is visited by his
daughters when they remember he is still there.
Kari Schultz is a varied illustrator at Fox Dream
Studio who enjoys fantasy and horror. She has
been working on art as long as she can remember
and reading folklore and horror almost as
long. She has a short comic featured in “Uncanny
Adventures: Duo #2” from 8th Wonder Press.
This is her second work for The History Press.
She has a thing for foxes, and occasionally ventures
out of her dwelling in search of cryptids.
She can also, at times, be lured forth with ice
Visit EerieFlorida.com for updated
information. You can purchase Freaky
Florida in most bookstores and on