CML is my tutor at USC. She is 22 and a fourth year student at USC. She lived in Knoxville for 15 years. She learned about local culture at school learned urban legends from family and friends that were commonly spoken about. CML told me this piece of folklore during one of our tutoring session.
“Have you ever heard of the Skunk ape?”
No what’s that?
“It’s like a yeti, little smaller than a normal Bigfoot, wonders the hills of eastern Tennessee, has a horrible smell. It comes from the Appalachian mountain and it eats people’s chickens. Sort of a silly thing, like people don’t take it seriously, I imagine it like a little thing, a nasty little skunk ape. No sympathy by people if a possum eat your chicken, but if a skunk ape eat them…oh shit”
There is not too much to a meaning to it but you want sympathy and try to make the story more dramatic and get attention rather than just having your chicken eaten by a common possum (because that would be a boring and uninteresting story)
For more information on the skunk-ape, see http://www.newanimal.org/skunkape.htm