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STATE: New York
COUNTY: Essex County
LOCATION DETAILS: Pine Pond -area can be accessed by an old snowmobile/bike path that enters from Rt 86 in Ray Brook. This area is also one mile south of Oseetah Lake -site of the 2002 ESPN outdoor games. It is located at the base of Mt. Ampersand.
NEAREST TOWN: Saranac Lake NY
NEAREST ROAD: NY Rt. 86
OBSERVED: In August of 1996 myself and six friends were camping at Pine Pond in the lower Saranac Lake region. It was around dusk and my friend and I were fishing in our canoe. The other members of our party were at camp preparing supper, about a quarter mile away through the forest from our location on the canoe in the middle of the lake. My friend and I were speaking openly, not attempting to be quiet in any way. I was scanning the northern bank of the lake, which I knew quite well, when I noticed a strange shape on the edge of the wood line. It was about 50 yards away. Immediately I pointed it out to my friend and he spotted it instantly. The shape was about 3 1/2 feet off of the ground at its highest point. At first we both thought it was a black bear standing broadside but after a few seconds I realized that was not the case. We started to row towards it somewhat cautiously. Just as my friend whispered "it's a bear" the thing stood up. It had been crouching there on its feet like a catcher from a baseball team. It was about seven feet tall and was very dark brown in color. Its face was hairy yet fleshy around the upper cheeks. Its eyes were dark in color but clearly visible and had a brightness about them. Upon talking afterwards, we both agreed that we saw slight movements of its head and hands. It stood there for what seemed like ten seconds looking at us. It tilted its head slightly up as if it were sniffing the air. As if all this wasn't strange enough, we then heard the snapping twigs about fifty feet behind it. The creature turned its torso to the left and looked to its side. It immediately turned back towards us and then spun 180 degrees around and darted into the wood line like a cat. We then heard the sound of movement for about ten more seconds then we heard nothing. To this day I have no idea what made the noise behind it. After staying put in the canoe for about ten minutes my friend decided (against my wishes) paddle to the spot on shore and investigate for tracks. There were only two discernable markings in the sand which were obscured from the pivoting of its feet when it turned around. The whole experience was very, very upsetting. Although I can honestly say it did not attempt to threaten us in anyway it was scary as hell. That night I did not sleep one wink because I was so focused on every little noise that I heard. The next day we left. The other people in our party are convinced we saw a bear. It was no bear.
OTHER WITNESSES: One other wittness. We were fishing in our canoe.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Approx: 8:00PM
Well into dusk-period. Sun was below horizon but sky still illuminated. It had been a typical clear, sunny summer day.
ENVIRONMENT: Mixed coniferous, mixed deciduous. Dry, think, underbrush under tall dense forest. Difficult to bushwack off of trail.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Paul J. Mateja:
The witness and a friend were in a canoe fishing when they saw a dark object approximately 50 yards away along the north, northwest shoreline of Pine Pond, . They thought it was a bear and started to row towards it. When they had closed the distance to about 40 feet the creature stood up. They immediately realized it was not a bear, stopped rowing and paddled backwards.
They observed it for about 25 seconds. However, details of the creature’s appearance were rather vague because it was standing in the shadows and light levels were low at that time of day.
The report states is was about seven feet tall, but, in retrospect the witness believes it was a little less than that. It was very similar in size and moved in a fashion similar to the creature seen in the Patterson film.
The witness is not sure what was making the noise behind the creature. It did not seem alarmed by the noise. But, rather, seemed to know what it was and it was at this point it turned and left.
Pine Pond is about 10 miles from Lake Placid host of the 1932 and 1980 winter olympic games.
About BFRO Investigator Paul J. Mateja:
Paul is a network administrator and systems analyst/programmer for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, NY. In addition, Paul and his wife Teresa own and operate a small organic farm in western New York State. He has attended and organized expeditions including New Mexico (Jicarilla), New York (Adirondacks), Pennsylvania and West Virginia.