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COUNTY: Orange County
LOCATION DETAILS: Feel free to post, but also let me know what you think I may have seen.
NEAREST TOWN: Orlando
NEAREST ROAD: Florida Turnpike near Ocoee exit
OBSERVED: I moved to a small, rurual area outside of Orlando, FL (from Missouri)just a few months ago and I'm still learning my way around the area. Subsequently, my wife and I often drive around on the weekends to get better familiar with our new home town.
Today, (Saturday Sept 2, 2006) we struck off to go to a shopping mall called Waterford Lakes and it was en route to the mall that I saw something peculiar.
My wife was driving today, so I was relaxing looking out the passenger side window at the various swampy patches that are so common in central Florida and I must confess that I'm always looking for wildlife.
My wife teases me because she knows that I'm primarily looking for aligators and thinks that it is such a "tourist thing" to be doing.
However, on a couple of occassions I've actually spotted aligators sunning themselves, as well as numerous deer and turkey, so I feel justifed enough to keep looking.
Well, we were traveling south on the Florida Turnpike and just saw a sign for the Ocoee exit when off to my right I saw a man walking in a very swampy & rugged section of meadow about a hundred yards to the right of the turnpike.
As he was going in the same direction as we were heading, I was able to watch him for about 5 to 10 seconds and really didn't think too much about him other than he was pretty gutsy to walk in that area all by himself, considering that he seemed to walk with an odd gait.
Another strange thing was that he seemed to be dressed in all brown from the head down to his knees (the tall grass covered his lower legs, so I can't say if this guy was wearing shoes or socks).
Please note, this took place at about noon, on a very clear Florida day and I believe that the temp was about 93 degrees, so seeing a guy walking around such an area without a hat, or short sleeved shirt is unusual.
Well, by this time we passed the fellow and I kept looking off to the right to see where he might ultimately be headed, but for the next few miles all I saw was more swamp and grass.
As I stated, my wife was driving and didn't see the man, but I was talking with her about it as it happened and she asked me a few questions (she thought he was probably homeless).
When I started describing the man to her, I started to question whether or not the "fellow" I saw was necessarily human. For example, either his hair was very, very bushy, or this guy didn't have much of a neck. Actually, his head looked a little pointed.
He must have been fairly big, because I could clearly see him even at 100 yards distance, yet try as I might, I couldn't identify a single article of clothing on him.
Finally, I couldn't even confirm his skin color, because I literally only saw dark brown over his entire body, including his hands.
I must confess, I'd be thrilled to think I might have seen a bigfoot, but I just don't know because my first thought was that this is just some poor idiot who was going to pass out from the heat in the wilderness. But on reflection, I think could be wrong.
One thing I can say for sure is that he didn't seem frightening or monsterous in anyway. I would imagine a bigfoot encounter to be much more exciting than this. However, I was at a very safe distance and in a moving auto, so I might feel differently if I met him on foot. Any thoughts?
OTHER WITNESSES: No, my wife was driving and didn't see a thing.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Noon, on a very warm and clear day
ENVIRONMENT: Banked meadow near side of the highway. Tall grass, swampy area with virtually no trees between the highway and the furthermost part of the clearing.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
After driving by the area again the witness believes he saw the creature from less than 50 yards away. It was walking with the traffic, on the bank alongside FL Turnpike 429. The gait seemed odd to him, even after considering the uneven slope. He described the build as square and wide. He thought he was looking at a person with a dark complexion and brown hooded clothing covering every visible body part. This would be very difficult for any normal person to stand considering Florida heat.
I found this report especially interesting since I have looked at these areas near Florida's major highways and often considered that they may be ideal for such creatures to travel along, offering shelter and food. They are full of water, swamp-land, vegetation, wildlife and no humans - except for those driving by at normally high rates of speed. The area is close to populated areas, but with Florida's rapid growth and development, travel routes may necessarily change.
This is a Class B siting since the witness is not sure what he saw. He is hoping that maybe other motorists will come forward with similar sitings in this area.
About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
- Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
- An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort. Currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
- Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Attended and assisted with numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
- She and the Florida BFRO organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
- She and the Michigan BFRO organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011, Michigan UP Expeditions in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and Wisconsin 2018.