Minerva Park Monkey Business

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So apparently there’s a monkey running loose in the village of Minerva Park, Ohio. Not just any monkey, mind you. A howler monkey. That’s right, a howler monkey. How are such things possible? Not sure, to be honest with you. But let’s see if we can at least shed a little light on the subject.

It would seem that all this monkey business came about on Thursday, February 4th, when the Minerva Park Police Department posted the following to their Facebook page:

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Couple of things to point out. First, notice the wording “it may be a medium sized Howler Monkey.” Then look at how the accompanying photo is described as having “been picked by the witness as the monkey they saw.” In other words, the witness wasn’t sure what they saw and just picked out a photo of a howler monkey because that’s what it might have been.

Now, let’s all pause for a moment and envision the hysterical image of the Minerva Park Police Department holding some sort of marsupial lineup where they marched in a bunch of monkeys (in my mind, they’re all wearing bandit masks) behind a 2-way mirror and told the witness “it’s ok, the monkeys can’t see you behind this glass. Now, can you point out the monkey you saw?” Or maybe they just took the witness on a trip to the Columbus Zoo and asked them to point out the perpetrator.

OK, back to being serious for a minute.

My point is that the witness saw something that looked like a monkey, got shown some photos, and picked out a Howler Monkey. Does that mean that’s what they saw? Maybe. But there’s a big difference between “it may be a howler monkey” and it IS a howler monkey, which is what everyone is saying now.

Things got a little stranger when news channels, including WBNS-10TV, picked up the story and began reporting that the original witness was actually a Minerva Park police officer. Some speculated that the witness being a police officer made the story more credible. Others, however, pointed to the curious fact that the officer was never named or identified.

Regardless, residents of Minerva Park spent the weekend looking up into trees and listening for the telltale grunts from a renegade howler monkey. Everyone came up empty-handed, leading some to believe the whole thing was, at the very least, a case of mistaken marsupial identity. That is until Tierra Sullivan was finally able to capture photographic evidence of the Minerva Park Howler Monkey:

–from 10TV.com

Or not.

Since The X-Files is back on TV, it seems only appropriate for me to say “I want to believe”. Trust me, if there’s anyone in Ohio that wants there to be a monkey running around the state, it’s me. And yet, that has to be one of the most un-monkey-like photos I have ever seen. Looks more like a bear or a dog. Maybe even a big, fat house cat. Not buying “monkey” on this pic, though. But I do need to give a tip of the cryptid hat for the photographer following proper procedures and protocols for taking pics of “mysterious creatures” and ensuring said photo is as blurry and fuzzy as possible.

And because nothing about this story makes any sense, that same exact picture has been attributed to two different individuals. 10TV said the photo was taken by Tierra Sullivan in their article entitled Columbus Woman Reportedly Snaps Photo Of Elusive ‘Minerva Monkey’. Columbus’ NBC4i, however, ran the story Minerva Park Monkey Update: Witness Says He Has A Picture with the identical (albeit uncropped) photo, stating the photographer was a man by the name of Eddie Rogers:

–from NBC4i

Granted, Rogers said he was with his unnamed niece at the time, one could assume Rogers and Sullivan were both present at the time the photograph was taken. But when you’re dealing with such outlandish claims as a tropical monkey running rampant through central Ohio, I don’t think it’s asking too much that reporters take a minute or two to confirm who actually snapped what is, to date, the only known photograph of the creature.

As far as to where this alleged howler monkey could have come from, no one seems to know. Nobody’s come forward to claim the monkey, either. Officials say that’s because (surprise, surprise) it’s illegal to own a howler monkey in the state of Ohio. The Columbus Zoo doesn’t have any howler monkeys, either. So the whole thing is just one big mystery.

I’ll post updates as they come in. But as of Tuesday afternoon, February 9th, the monkey (or whatever it is) remains at large. Officials are telling people to stay away from the creature if you see it and to simply call 614-525-3333.

However, if you spot the monkey and said monkey appears to be smoking a cigar, please let me know ASAP. I have it on my Bucket List that I’d like to smoke a cigar with a monkey.

And no, I’m not making that up.

–from Pets Foto

UPDATE #1 (2/10/16):  According to This Week News, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been asked to help identify and capture the reported howler monkey. ODA spokeswoman Erica Hawkins was quoting as saying that while there were web cams in place over the weekend near the initial sighting, “no monkeys” ever showed up. ODA also did “some initial tracking on Feb. 2 and 3, but didn’t come up with anything.” Admittedly, though, that’s a little confusing since that would have meant they were “tracking” the monkey days before the initial sighting on February 4th.

Hawkins also stated that the photo alleging to show the howler monkey on the loose (see above) “didn’t give any clear indication what the animal could be.”

In the same article, Minerva Park police chief Kim Nuesse was quoting as saying that they “have nothing more to go on” and that “Friday morning was the last reported sighting”.

You can read the entire This Week News article here.

Want more Ohio News Of The Weird? Check out the archives here.

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