It emerged from the swamp to terrorize the world. "What may be man's missing link -- a grotesque, hissing creature with the head and upper body of a human and the dragon-like lower body of an alligator -- has been captured alive just miles from here in the Big Cypress Swamp," began a 1993 cover story in a Florida newspaper. In May 2000, the Arab Times in Saudi Arabia published a front-page story about the same beast:"Residents of Dammam have fled the region's beaches in fear after rumors of a terrifying monster lurking amid the sand dunes of the Eastern Province." Both stories featured the samephotograph of Jake the Alligator Man, the main attraction at Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach and quite likely Pacific County's most notorious character.
small mummified creature who appears to be humanlike from the waist up
and an alligator the rest of the way, occupies a glass case in the back
of Marsh's, which also does a brisk business in Jake T-shirts and
The photo in both
newspapers was lifted from a Jake postcard.
Jake has generated a lot of
press, as evidenced by the newspaper clippings mounted on the wall
behind his glass case. The most blaring headlines appeared in four
editions of the Florida newspaper cited above: the Weekly World News, a
tabloid that publishes news no one else thinks of, such as "I Was
Bigfoot's Love Slave!"
The WWN introduced Jake tothe world with the Nov. 9, 1993, headline, "Half-alligator, half-human found in Florida swamp!"
A follow-up story in 1997 announced "Half-alligator, half-human kills Miami man --- and escapes from laboratory!"
The stories produced a tongue-in-cheek warning from the Fort Myers (Fla.) Edition News Press: "Watch out, Southwest Florida!"
Marsh's Free Museum and
Jake have also been written up in Outside magazine, Parade, USA Today
and several newspapers, including this one.
In 2002, the late Grace
Reade of The Daily News took a look at Jake and wrote, "I don't think
I've ever seen anything so weird and gross since Margaret Thatcher
first came to power."
Even Thatcher didn't have the power to terrify Saudi Arabia.
In early 2000, aph......
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