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STATE: New Jersey
COUNTY: Ocean County
NEAREST TOWN: Browns Mills
NEAREST ROAD: Route 70 and 539
OBSERVED: My husband and I were taking a woods cruise and were driving in the northern section of Brendan T. Byrne Forest on St Mary's road. It came to a dead end so we stopped to look around and there was a pond and a little path so we decided to walk our dog for a bit. We had only gone in a little ways when we smelled kind of musty mildew odor typically not smelled in the woods. This kind of freaked my husband out and he wanted to go back to the car. So we started back the way we came and then turned down Buckingham Whiting road. We drove this for a bit and came across a little bridge. We stopped because I like taking pictures of the water. After a bit we started to drive off. I am driving and in a split second I saw something brown on 2 legs and about 6 feet tall sprint behind the car in the area we were just in. I caught it in my rear view mirror. I was kind of thinking to myself that my eyes were playing tricks on me but I just couldn't shake it. I stopped the car and husband told me to go in reverse. As we approached the area he thought he heard branches snapping and a splash into the water. He didn't see anything so we drove on. We just kept talking about what I saw and if it was a bear a deer a person. I said it was definitely on 2 legs. It was quick and it was light brown but thin. We drove a little more and turned around and went back. On our way back I thought something was rubbing in my brakes because we heard like a wuh wuh wuh wuh wuh - we stopped and he looked under my car and didn't see anything. He thought maybe it was what I saw making a warning call.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just my husband was with me. He did not see it. I was driving away and caught it in the rear view mirror.
OTHER STORIES: My husband told me there were sightings by kids on motorbikes around this area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Its an overcast day. Sun barely peeking out. Around 1 pm.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest near lake or pond like area
Bigfoot in New Jersey? 7 dozen sasquatch sightings across the Garden State
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Eric Spinner:
I contacted the witness by email the morning after the incident, and requested a phone call. I reached out to my fellow BFRO investigator Art Mack, and asked him if he was available to assist, and he was willing to head out with me.
As I was putting on my boots, I received a call from the witness. She was still having trouble wrapping her mind around what she had observed the day before. It isn't very often that we get the opportunity to speak to a witness so soon after the encounter, and I was eager to hear the details first hand.
Tricia restated to me the encounter as it was written in the report, and her husband Dave added some details in the background. She explained that after taking some pictures of the wetlands, they got back in their vehicle and she started to drive on down the dirt road, and she glanced back in her rearview mirror and saw a tall, and lanky brown haired biped leap across the entire road. She described how the legs were splayed like a dancer - each leg pointing opposite - and the arms too were moving back and forth.
She stated that it was 50 to 100 feet behind her, but she couldn't be sure of the distance. She told me the entire incident lasted less than 30 seconds, and she brought the SUV to a stop and told Dave what she saw. He told her to back up, and the windows were down so as they backed up he could hear something crashing through the woods followed by a loud splash in the water.
They didn't get out to investigate, and then proceeded farther down the road discussing the incident. At some point they turned around, and as they approached the same section of woods they heard a noise coming from outside the vehicle - sort of a huffing or grunting noise. They stopped and Dave got out to check if there was something caught under the SUV. There was nothing underneath.
Art showed up at this point, and Tricia and Dave agreed to meet us so I ended the phone interview. We headed out to the designated location, and waited for them to arrive. After some conversation, we headed to the encounter location. Art rode in their SUV, and me and my girlfriend followed in my truck. We kept in radio contact during the ride. We turned off the road into a prime area for supporting a large primate, with ample food and water, ground cover, and old growth forest. We crossed over some old abandoned RR tracks, and wound up at a large marsh. This was where they reported smelling the musty odor. Dave pointed out that the smell was stronger near certain large trees, and that it had dissipated by the time they headed back to the truck. I could tell what they were probably smelling, was the Cedar bog water so commonly found in the Pine Barrens. It has a musty/ mildew quality due to the high iron content in the soil. I noticed a few strange breaks of some saplings near the marsh, and we hiked down the trail where they had walked the dog. We headed back to our trucks and proceeded to the sighting location.
We spent a couple of hours in the area, and did a thorough search for any tracks, hair or other evidence. We also measured the distance across the road, and determined it was 19.5ft. After checking for potential track ways, we did a recreation of the incident, with me as the passenger, and Dave would try to leap across the road. Art remained back with Dave, as Tricia and I drove down the road to where she glanced in her rearview. Dave could barely make it halfway across the road, but he is having some issues with his ankle. She also noticed that his height was close to that of the creature, so that would put the height of the individual around 6ft to 6.5ft tall. The clearance from the creature to the ground was greater than when Dave tried to leap, and Dave was much slower as well.
After exploring a bit more around the area, we said our goodbyes. It doesn't get much better than to have the chance to do an interview so soon after an incident. I found both witnesses to be credible, and Art also agreed. We saw no reason why they would fabricate such a story, and Tricia was a non-believer. Now she's not sure what to believe, but was grateful to have an organization like the BFRO around to contact, without the fear of ridicule.
About BFRO Investigator Eric Spinner:
Eric Spinner is the owner of a health food store in Medford, NJ - a town that borders the Pine Barrens. He is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, and a Shiatsu Practitioner. Eric has attended the 2008 NW Pennsylvania Expedition, the 2009 Sunshine Coast BC Canada Expedition, the 2016 & 2020 So NY Expeditions, and 2021 & 2022 PA Expeditions. Eric has been an investigator for the BFRO since 2009, and has been organizing New Jersey Expeditions since 2014. He has made numerous solo excursions into the NJ Pine Barrens, Pennsylvania, and has done investigations in Missouri and Florida. He was most recently involved in the production of the South Jersey Sasquatch episode of Finding Bigfoot and was one of the witnesses featured during the Town Hall meeting.
Eric is cofounder of NASBRO, and cohost of Squatch Talks Podcast.
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