There’s a monkey mystery in a Portland, Maine neighborhood.
On both Monday and Wednesday, multiple people reported seeing a monkey right outside of Tandem Coffee + Bakery on Congress Street in the city’s West End.
"My friend Chloe said, 'oh my God, is that a monkey?' I said yeah, I thought it was a monkey too!" said Anna McMurchy, explaining that the pair had spotted the creature as they were driving to a bus stop.
"From a distance, I thought maybe it was a chipmunk," recalled McMurchy, adding that the creature moved too quickly for a photo to be captured but grabbed a fence post in a way that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for an animal like a squirrel.
Another eyewitness to the monkey, Sophie Richards, who works at Tandem Coffee, said she saw it as she was helping close the business on Wednesday.
"The monkey, looking all scraggly and mangy, was sitting on the dumpster here," said Richards.
"We have a mean banana cake, that’s probably why it was here," she joked.
McMurchy also posted about the monkey sighting on Facebook as well, to which multiple people responded, including a mother of a 3-year-old girl responded, saying that her daughter had seen the monkey but she did not believe the story until reading about the puzzling primate sightings.
McMurchy and others in the West End are now speculating where the alleged animal may have come from, with theories ranging from it being an escaped research animal to it perhaps having a previous life as an illegal pet.
According to Maine state officials, possessing a monkey is against Maine law unless you are an exhibitor like a zoo or a researcher, either of which would require a permit to bring the animal into the state and keep it.
As for the monkey’s or mystery animal’s future, McMurchy and Richards both say they hope it is found and cared for properly.
On Thursday afternoon, there was indeed a very visible banana peel on the sidewalk of Congress Street.
It was not immediately clear if this was crucial evidence confirming the monkey’s presence.