It's had more sightings than Elvis.
They call it Yeti in Nepal, Yowie in Australia and Sasquatch in Canada. In Florida, it's called Swamp Ape, Skunk Ape, Stink Ape or Stink Man. More plainly put, Bigfoot.
For one man, finding the creature has become like searching for the Holy Grail, and he is teaming up with other believers the first week in November for a field research class through Florida Keys Community College. He hopes to bring back proof of its existence.
"I know it's there. I know it on several levels," said Scott Marlowe, a founder of Pangea Institute in Winter Haven and instructor of an online class in cryptozoology, the study of creatures that may or may not exist, through Florida Keys Community College.
"Of all the species on Earth, man is presumed to be the only one that has one example of its genus -- the only genus that has only one species still alive. All other species have more than one."
Marlowe isn't the only one with faith that the creature exists.
Patricia Edwards of Lakeland has seen what she believes is the Swamp Ape in the Green Swamp. Although her sighting was in the fall of 2002, it was not until she read about another sighting that she decided to go public.
It began when she was going to visit a relative in an Ocala hospital. The morning was clear, and she was driving along Country Road 471, a long, straight stretch of road through the Green Swamp. She said she saw something less than half a block away.
"If I live to be a couple hundred years old, the story will not change," said Edwards, 69. "There was very little traffic and I see something that ran out in front of me. It looked like a giant sloth except I know they're slow moving -- this one moved fast and dove down into the edge of the road into a ditch area."
"It started out running, galloping on fours like a dog, but when it dove I could see the arms come up. It was sizable, almost like a bear, but not a bear, not the way its arms moved."
Chester Moore is a Bigfoot researcher from Orange, Texas, who will be attending the Florida expedition. He is also an outdoor journalist, has a degree in zoology and is founder of Project: Zoo Quest and the American Primate Conservation Alliance. The Alliance recently awarded Marlowe the J. E. Smokey Crabtree Cryptozoology Steward of the Year award for 2005.
Moore said he has also seen and heard Bigfoot.
"I've gone far past the point of trying to answer the question for myself -- these animals are real, not paranormal," he said.
Since 1999, he estimates he has logged about 300 days in the field tracking the creature. He said although he and three friends saw it in 2000, it was the vocalizations that made the biggest impression. He said the closest thing he has heard is a howler monkey.
"It's a serious pursuit and a fascination," Moore said. "I write for dozens of publications about all sorts of thing, but this is the biggest, hugest prize."
There will be about 20 participants in the field research class, said Marlowe.
Experienced hunters will be teamed with neophytes, most of whom have already taken some of Marlowe's classes.
Because the Swamp Ape is believed to be active at dusk and dawn, the daytime will consist of coordinating data and workshops, while the night hunts will rely on infrared cameras and night vision.
The location of the hunt will depend on a reported spot of Swamp Ape activity, but Marlowe said possible locations include Collier, Monroe and Levy counties and the Okeechobee and Green Swamp areas.
To learn more about the field study, log on to pangeainstitute.us.