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DATE: February 21, 2004
COUNTY: Collier County
LOCATION DETAILS: I believe Alligator Alley is now called I-75. I haven't been back there since.
NEAREST TOWN: The closest town would have been Naples. But we thought it was too far to lodge or get a meal.
NEAREST ROAD: Tamiami Trail. I don't know the name of the road which joined Alligator Alley with Tamiami Trail
OBSERVED: In may of 1973 I and my father were working for XXXXX XXXXXX Drywall in Boynton Beach, Florida. We had just finished a job and came into the office for a new assignment. Frank told us he had a "special job" and would consider it a favor if we did it. The developer of Boca Teeca had a couple of hunting cottages, in the everglades, and it wouldn't take us more than a couple of days. We would have to camp over since it was too far to drive and there wasn't any lodging around. Now my wife was over 7 months pregnant and I wasn't crazy about doing the job. However, Frank was persausive, "If you want to continue working for me you'll do it!" I didn't have health insurance and was making payments to Bethesda Hospital, in advance, for my wife's upcoming hospital stay. So I caved in and took the job.
The next day we packed some camping gear in the station wagon. My idea of camping was a state park or KOA camp. We set off. The directions were simple: take the Florida Turnpike south and go west on Alligator Alley, about halfway across you will see a gravel road to the left. Pass it and take the next gravel road to the left. The work site would be halfway between Alligator Alley and the Tamiami Trail. Looking back I would say this would have put it in Collier County, Florida (the beginning of everglades country).
We taveled miles and miles, under the hot sun, on Alligator Alley, for what seemed miles and miles of miles and miles. Coming to the second gravel road we turned left and traveled more miles and miles down a washboard gravel road. I had packed fishing gear and a .22 cal. magnum pistal (with holster) and two .30 cal.M1 carbines. A canal ran parralel to road and I had at least wanted to get my hook wet. I talked him into stopping for 15 mins. or so (to stretch our legs) and I dropped a line in the canal. It was full of alligator gar which were stacked up like cord wood. My father spotted a water moccasin on the other bank and I took my .22 mag, aimed behind the head, shot and took its head clean off.
We started up again and after many more miles saw a sign " XXX XXXXX Site." We arrived in the early afternoon. The two cottages turned out to be two houses. Each identical and 2 stories high. The developers had a drive made by dumping a pad of coarse gravel, about 2.5 to 3 feet high, about 300 yeards back into the swamp. At the end, and right, of each drive was a big square of gravel the houses were built on. This was going to be more than a 2 day job. We started taping the houses. While I was working I could hear something rummaging around out in the bush. I couldn't see anything but there was a strong odor similar to the pig farm next to my grandfather's farm (in Ohio). XXXXX XXXXXX had a reputation as being a boar hunter and I assumed it was a boar. We worked till dark and cleaned and packed up our tools. I had Dad start a camp fire on the part of the drive that went past the house (you had to do a 3 point turn in the car port area to turn around). I set up the cots and put on my holster and .22 mag revolver (just in case we encountered a charging boar).
Dad brougt a slab of bacon (his idea of camp food). Oh well, he was doing the cooking. It smelled good too. One thing about Dad, he's a master chef when it comes to ruff grub. We ate bacon and beans and home fries and then sat around the fire talking.
The whole time I kept hearing the rummaging around in the everglades. The sound seemed to be getting nearer. It occurred to me if it were a wild boar, or anthing as larges as the sounds indicated, the .22 mag probably wouldn't be too effective. I decided to go get one of the carbines.
As I stood up and started to go to the wagon I turned and saw two eyes staring from about 20 foot away. First thougt... an owl. But then I realized what I was looking at. I froze in my tracks. Next thought a bear. Only I was staring level in its eyes. I was on a gravel pad about 2.5 to 3 foot higher than it was. I am 5 foot 6 inches. My God... it was 8 to 9 foot tall. My hand went for my gun. I drew it and was going to fire. Only I realized if I shot this thing all I was going to do was really piss it off. Also, it wasn't acting threatening. It was just watching. It had a face more human than a bear or ape. Closer to an Australian aborriginal. I could also see its skin. It didn't have thick fur. It had sparse, long and whispy like strands. The hair was more like an orangutan. Only these were things I put together later. At the time I was just plain scared. As a Viet Nam verteran, with a purple heart, I wasn't overscared either. Let just say I had a strong sense of self preservation. I made a bee line for the house and momentarilly thought about stopping to get the carbine from the wagon. However, my feet took me into the house and up the stairwell. My Dad was hot on my heels.
I went to the window which faced the camp fire. As I looked out the window I asked Dad, who was across the room, "Did you see that?" He said, "No." I told him, "then what the heck were you running for?" He said, "I saw you draw your gun, then didn't shoot and then run off. I figured you had a good reason." I told him, "we need the carbines. You go out and get them and I will cover you." He wouldn't do it. Still looking out the window I noticed we left the slab of bacon on a log near the camp fire. Then I saw it come out of the brush. I told Dad, "There it is. Come over here and look at it." He woudln't do it. I don't know if he could have got across the room in time any way. It crossed the viewable area, may 100 ft. in a few strides. As it walked it scooped up the slab of bacon. It didn't really bend over. It just dropped a shoulder slightly. It was walking upright the whole time. I might add it was walking, not running. It was casually strolling as if it didn't have a care in the world. It dawned on me that it didn't mean any harm. It justed wanted the bacon. Anyway I went to the wagon and got the carbines. Even though I wasn't sure what I saw and I concluded it didn't mean any harm I wasn't taking any chances. I told Dad we were going to take two hour watches. He decided to sleep first. I woke him up in two hours and told him to awaken me in two hours. I woke up in the morning and he was fast asleep. Whatever it was could have had us. If it had wanted to. The doors had not been installed yet.
I went out and looked for tracks. Nothing on the gravel. I didn't expect any. I climbed down to the ground. I thought it would be soft. It was dry and there was a thick pad of pine needles. There were a few scruffed places but the distance between them looked too far apart to be foot steps. I thought about venturing out and looking for a soft spot but at the time I wasn't trying to prove anything but to myself. If my Dad wasn't such a chicken, and had seen it, then I would have been more resolved to look further. Only now I was beginning to wonder if I had imagined the whole thing. I really didn't make the connection until a few weeks after I came home and there was a newspaper article about Sasquatch sightings in the area I had been in. I just made a mental note to ask if any circus or zoo animals had escaped, in that area, and if so I would call and tell them what I saw.
I am not relating this encounter to make you a true believer. At that time I know I saw something and this is a report on what I thought I saw. After 28 years I now question it myself. The more time that passes the sketchier the recollection is. I only offer this record in hopes it might help those who are seriously looking for it. I have one reservation. If this creature is real, and is it found, will that doom it to extinction?
ALSO NOTICED: There was also smell of smoke. The everglades had been on fire due to drought. The fire was south and may have drove the creature to where we were at.
This creature did not have ape facial features. It did not have a pointed crown. It did not have thick fur. It walked on two feet, fully erect. The walk was slight bent at the knees as if ice skating. I assumed it smelled like a pig. Could it have been stalking a boar which was near by?
OTHER WITNESSES: The only witness was my Dad and he claims he didn't see it.
OTHER STORIES: Over the years I have read stories in the Palm Beach Post.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Just after twilight. The weather was hot and the skies were clear. We were in a canopy of small pines.
ENVIRONMENT: Everglades swamp in a forest of small pines.
Follow-up investigation report:
I spoke with the witness at length via telephone. It has been 31 years now since this incident and over 2 years since he submitted it to the BFRO. His account did not waver in the slightest in recounting it. The creature had long, "whispy" hair - not fur - that was very sparse. He was able to see the skin, which appeared to be light colored, "like a pig." It was dark with only the light of the camp fire, so the color may have been influenced by that fact. The hair appeared to be about 8" to 10" in length.
It is my impression that this witness is absolutely credible.