DHS Squirrel
Geographical Index > United States > Florida > Monroe County > Report # 24241
Report # 24241  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Thursday, July 24, 2008.
Family has a strange and terrifying encounter while fishing in the Everglades National Park
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YEAR: 1975-76

SEASON: Summer

STATE: Florida

COUNTY: Monroe County

LOCATION DETAILS: It wasn't in Flamingo Campground, but as my dad said, along one of the zillion canals in Everglades National Park.

NEAREST TOWN: North Key Largo

NEAREST ROAD: Flamingo Lodge Highway

OBSERVED: I've thought about posting my experience here for awhile, but since I was so young, I have faded memories of the event. Therefore, I wasn't sure it would be so useful. However, after looking at the BFRO data base for the area, I couldn't help notice the similarities in occurrences, specifically BFRO report 1283. Also, report 15170 was in the exact same area.

I emailed my mother and father about the event a year ago, and I'll edit to protect the names/paraphrase what they had to say about it.

In an email, I asked my dad if he remembered the night, remembered throwing a rock in the woods at what we heard, and what exactly happened, here's his response:

"I remember that night very, horribly, well... We had been camping at the very Southern tip of Everglades National Park. If the same camping area still exists, I think it's now called the "Flamingo Campground." Nice name. If you don't quite recall, here's the link -

Anyway, we set up our campsite, and I believe it was on the first night that we chose to do some night-fishing along one of the zillion canals in ENP. We had the little orange '73 Honda Civic parked on the side of a canal. As you recall, we heard the leaves rustling s-l-o-w-l-y as something or someone moved back and forth. Although I don't remember it, I probably did throw a "rock", aka "rock sponge", aka, a piece of uselessly light coral. Nothing happened, so I shone our huge, massive, bright flashlight with a big 6V batttery right at the source of the sounds. Of course, the vegetation was too thick for decent light penetration, but NOTHING was revealed. And, most chilling of all, what/whoever it was, pacing back and forth, continued to pace back and forth in a most non-wild-animal way. I/we shouted, to no avail, and I got a series of impressive chills down my spine. I said, "Let's get in the car!" and we took off down the little side road while Mom said, "Do you think it was the Skunk Ape?". I was carrying our surf-casting rod with my hand along the roof of the Civic, and was really, really glad to be out of there."

I then emailed him back and asked him if he smelled anything:

"No, I don't remember any smell. In the cold light of dawn, I thought that it was probably just an armadillo or some other exceptionally stupid animal that didn't know how to be afraid of light at night. It didn't even stop moving, let alone run away, when I turned on the flashlight and swept it around the area the sounds were coming from. I remember being so afraid that I didn't think there was time to break down the surf-casting rod, so that's why I carried it with my hand, gripping the roof of the car with the rod against it. It was the most scared I've been in my adult life."

Here is my mom's response to my original email:

"I remember that I was sooo scared I didn't even open the car door I shoved you thru the window and you piled in on top of a bunch camping gear, cooler ect... Dad had to drive backwards too. I have to say it was one of the most scariest things that has happened to me."

Personally, I remember mostly being terrified as a child, because my parents were. My dad in particular, is not one to scare easily. On top of that, he is a lifelong scientist who views all 'strange nature' occurrences with a very stern skeptical eye. So as an adult, to think back on his fear, and have him admit how scared he was, means that something instinctual kicked and told him to haul butt out of there. If he thought it was a person, he would have confronted them immediately. I've seen him do exactly that on many occasions.

I wish I had been a bit older when this happened, but I figure any bit of detail can help the larger cause.

OTHER WITNESSES: 3. My father, my mother and myself. We were fishing.

OTHER STORIES: Only the reports which sounded familiar, as I listed above.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was after Sunset. Typical FL weather, humid, but not too hot.

ENVIRONMENT: Dirt rd next to a canal. Very narrow road. Typical So FL everglades forest behind us.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:

I spoke to JG over the phone and he had these details to add.

-During the summer of 1975 or 1976, when the witness was about five years old, he, his father and his mother stopped at a canal next to a narrow dirt road in the Everglades National Park to do some night fishing.
-The time of day was late evening and the temperature was much cooler than during the day.
-Sometime during the late evening, or after dark, something behind them, across the narrow road, began rustling the foliage and moving back and forth, in a purposeful movement. The father, not a man to be trifled with, according to the witness, picked up a piece of rock, which was light, possibly a piece of coral, and threw it towards the sound. Nothing happened so the father picked up his 6V spotlight and aimed it towards the foliage. Being that the foliage was so dense, they saw nothing, but the back and forth pacing continued in a methodical manner. The father, now worried, shouted towards the unseen perpetrator and they got no answer.
-Now, startled by the lack of a response, the father and mother began to get an overwhelming sense of uneasiness, or fear, which to the witness, was not in character for his father.
-They threw the five year old witness into the back of the car through the window, and not taking the time to break the large fishing rods down, the father and mother held them to the top of the car while they sped away in reverse.
-According to JG, his father, a scientist, is a very practical man who doesn’t scare easily. It was in his habit to take his family to remote environments in order to view alligators in the wild, to collect snakes, or to watch and study other animals in their natural settings. He is very familiar with the fauna of the Everglades and could routinely identify an animal just by the noises they made. He also has a reputation of being ‘fearless’ when it came to protecting his family, choosing to confront any threats rather than to back down from them. So when his father chose to flee, JG knew that whatever was stalking them couldn’t have been something ‘normal’. It was something that terrified his father and mother so much that he fled the scene, rather than facing it head-on, which he would normally do.
-JG was very matter-of-fact in relating this experience. Although he was only five years old at the time, he can vividly recall his mother and father's emotional response to the incident, and knew that whatever was in the brush was not anything normal. He feels that they were in the presence of an animal with behavioral characteristics similar to that of a skunk ape or a Florida bigfoot as they have been described in this same area. He feels that humans or other typical Floridan wildlife would not have had such an effect on his parents.

I found JG to be sincere and stalwart in his description of what happened on that summer night in the Everglades.
He feels adamant that his encounter was something more than an ordinary 'animal', namely because the methodical manner in which it stalked these witnesses, and because of the terror in which it evoked in them, particularly the father, which is completely outside of his usual nature.

I also spoke to JG's parents, and this is what they had to add-
Mr G told me that while fishing with live shiners, something 'huge' began pacing back and forth in the woods behind them. Although he shined his light at it and threw rocks and hollered at it, it didn't seem to respond in the usual manner that the animals in the vicinity should have.
Mrs G told me that whatever was in the brush behind them paced back and forth in such a purposeful and methodical manner that it didn't seem natural. She describes the noises as 'breaking large limbs' and 'pushing over bushes' and that it was 'big' and 'slow'. She stated that the encounter lasted about five minutes and that those five minutes were the 'scariest time' in her life.
Mr and Mrs G are very experienced campers and well accustomed to the wildlife of South Florida.

About BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:

Cathy has been a nurse for over 27 years and currently works in a busy ICU. An amateur naturalist, Cathy has been intrigued by the bigfoot phenomenon from an early age.
Attended the following expeditions:
- The 2006 Florida Expedition
- The 2007 North Carolina Expedition
- The 2008 South Florida Expedition
- The 2008 North Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Central Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Utah Expedition
- The 2010 TN Survey Expedition
- The 2011 East Texas Expedition
-The 2012 North FL Expedition
-The 2013 Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition
For more information, please see the Florida BFRO

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