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Geographical Index > United States > Florida > Jackson County > Article # 673

Media Article # 673

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Wild Man Of Ocheesee Pond

Jackson County is blessed with an
abundance of alleged sightings of the
monster that some call Bigfoot...Reports of
these creatures have come from virtually all
parts of the county. In the swamps and
remote woods around Parramore and Two
Egg in eastern Jackson County, for example,
many stories are told of the Two Egg “Stump
Jumper,” a sort of mini-bigfoot that is often
seen in the headlights of cars at night or
lurking in the darkness around rural homes.
Similar sightings have been reported in the
swamps along the Chipola River, particularly
in the Forks of the Creek area between
Malone and Campbellton. Other reports have
come from the swamps along the
Apalachicola River and the vast cypress
forests of Ocheesee Pond.

It was in this last locality in 1884 that a party
of searchers pulled off one of the few
documented captures of a Bigfoot-like
creature that in the parlance of those days
was called the “Wild Man of the Woods.”

Sightings of the Wild Man were nothing new
in the 19th century South. Indians told early
settlers of a strange man-like creature that
roamed remote swamps and woods.
Covered with hair and much taller than
normal humans, the monster was
considered dangerous and most who
encountered him would not approach him.

...Located below Grand Ridge and Sneads in
the southeast corner of Jackson County,
Ocheesee Pond was a focal point for early
settlers. More than three miles long and
nearly that distance wide, the clear water
pond fills a vast shallow basin. While there
are some sections of open water, primarily
along its southernmost reaches, most of
Ocheesee Pond is covered with a dense
growth of cypress and other swamp trees. It
is a strikingly beautiful place, but the swamp
can easily feel a bit foreboding as well.

The Wild Man traditionally favored such
dense and swampy locations, but in 1883
local residents nevertheless were surprised
when their neighbors began reporting
encounters and sightings of one of the
creatures. He seemed to live on berries and
other edibles that grew wild in and around
the pond and was often seen swimming or
wading as he moved from island to island.
He tried his best to stay away from humans,
but his cries often shattered the nighttime
stillness of the farms and homes nestled
along the shores of the pond.

As the number of sightings increased, so too
did concerns about the safety of local
families. Residents of the pond area
gathered and discussed the situation and
finally decided that an effort should be
launched to capture or drive off the monster.
Men assembled with guns, boats and
horses and a plan was devised by which they
would converge on the creature’s last
reported location from various directions at

Many of these men had served only twenty
years before in the Confederate Army. They
knew the pond well and had seen far scarier
things in their lifetimes than a man covered
in hair...It did not take them long to find their
prey and on August 18, 1884, startling news
went out from Columbus, Georgia:

News brought by the steamer Amos Hays
from Lower River is to the effect that the wild
man captured in Ocheecee Swamp, near
Chattahoochee, and carried to Tallahassee,
did not belong to a Florida asylum, and that
all inquiry proved unavailing to identify him.
He had been swimming in Ocheecee Lake,
from island to island, and when taken was
entirely destitute of clothing, emaciated, and
covered with a phenomenal growth of hair.
He could give no account of himself, and the
theory is that he escaped from an asylum of
some other state, and spent his time in the
woods, living on berries, &c.

Other reports followed, but the details were
consistent. The captured Wild Man acted
insane, was covered with a thick growth of
hair and had lived deep in the swamps.

The newspapers of the time, however, were
silent on the eventual fate of the Ocheesee
Pond Wild Man. Despite the fact that his body
was covered in thick hair, he was human
enough in appearance that his captors
believed that he probably had escaped from
an asylum. No asylum reported such an odd
escapee, however, and his captors became
even more baffled by the Wild Man.

Bibliographical Information:

A 19th Century Bigfoot Capture

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