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COUNTY: Marion County
LOCATION DETAILS: Ocala National Forest in a primitive camping area a couple of miles off and to the west of the main forest road. The entrance road to the camping area was a few miles north of the southern entrance, the Welcome Center, of the park. The campsite was surrounded by high brush nearly all the way around three sides, the back side faced the woods. There was a small bathroom at the entrance to the camping area, which was about 100 yards or so from our campsite. This site was the last site before the woods began. There was a trail that dropped out almost right into this site. There was a small lake on the south side of the campground.
OBSERVED: In the summer of 1994, my husband, daughter and I went camping in Ocala National Forest. I love to be out in nature, but frankly, I'm a little freaked out at night. But, nonetheless, I tough it out. Despite my nighttime reservations, I told my husband I wanted a primitive campsite, away from any other campers. We found a gorgeous spot in a primitive camping area that was surrounded by high brush nearly all the way around three sides; the back side faced the woods. We chose this particular site in case other campers moved in. This spot was secluded and private from the adjacent campsites. I have always been an extremely light sleeper, especially when it's night and there are flexible walls between me and the outdoors. I would love to sleep under the stars, but I'm much too chicken.
We had brought sodas with us on the trip and were putting the empty cans in a plastic bag that we left laying next to the picnic table. The first night we were there, I was just dozing off when it sounded like something hit the bag of cans pretty hard. I was, immediately, awake shaking my husband, who can sleep through an explosion, and asking him to get up and check it out. He refused and went back to sleep. To the best of my knowledge, this is when I must have become aware of the screams far off in the distance and to the north. I lay there, awake, for the longest time listening to these screams, trying to figure out what they were. I don't know why, but it seemed to me that they must have been about a mile away. They sounded like whomever or whatever they were, was very upset. I lay there for what seemed like hours listening to these screams. They were almost continuous. I told my husband the next day that it sounded like the (extinct) Timucuan Indians were having a war party and were screaming most of the night. I figured their spirits were reenacting a battle or something. It might not have been going on for as long as it seemed, though; when something is disturbing your sleep in the middle of the night, it can seem like forever. Indians fighting was the closest sound I could equate it with, until this evening when I listened to the newest, March 5, recording from the couple camping in Washington. Now, I have heard the Puyallup and Snohomish recordings many times, but never put it together with what I heard that night. The reason is, these earlier recordings are of a single scream, but just as the March recording clip ends, there is a scream which sounds like it is immediately answered by another scream. These 2 screams on top of one another, instantly, clicked in my head. Hearing these screams together were, EXACTLY, like the screams I heard that night. I was never frightened nor did I feel threatened by them. They were too far off, and besides, I never knew a Bigfoot type creature existed in central Florida, at that time. I thought they were exclusive to the Everglades. Only recently, have I found out that they have existed all over Florida.
Even though they were far away, they were very distinct to me; as I recall the night was very silent and still. The one thing that helps to calm me at night are the familiar night sounds, but these were absent on this night. By the time I drifted off to sleep the screams were dying down, as well, but had not, completely, stopped. The first thing I did the next morning was listen for the sounds, but they were gone. I thought I might have been imagining them, but hearing this latest recording confirms to me that, maybe, I wasn’t. However, your website infers that this type of scream/howl seems to be limited to the Pacific Northwest. But I can tell you, I heard these same screams right here in the largest nature preserve in Florida. When you hear something like that, you never forget it, and I will never forget that night or those screams.
When I awoke the next morning, I expected to see our bag of cans scattered on the ground, that is how loud the bag of cans rattled, but nothing was disturbed. The cans were, still, all wrapped up in the bag. Nothing else had been disturbed, either. The other thing that has always baffled me about that night was as soon as I spoke to my husband, the cans stopped rattling, and I didn’t hear another sound, except for the distant screams. I was raised out in the sticks, as it is called, in the foothills of North Carolina, and I know that your average nocturnal critter, raccoons, opossums, etc don’t just flee at the sound of a quiet human voice. The sound those cans made was much louder than a small animal rooting around, but still, it could have been any average nocturnal animal. I didn’t look outside the tent, and since I was unaware of the possibility of a Bigfoot creature in the area, it didn't occur to me to check for prints.
The next night, after we had gone to bed, a group of young people pulled in to a site about 20 or 30 yards from us and partied until about 2:30 a.m. After they left, I listened but heard no screams, that night. The night sounds were back, so I slept much easier the second night. Other than the partiers the second night, there were no other campers in this campground the entire time we were there. If anyone else had moved in during the night, I would have heard them. But this campground was nearly vacant, except for us, of course. We were, quite possibly, the only campers for, at least, a few miles from this spot.
I’m not saying, for certain, that what I heard, that night, were Bigfoot calls, but now, I have a good explanation for what has mystified me for years. My husband, who is in the military, recently, transferred to the north central part of the state. Soon, we will be moving to the Alachua/Bradford County area. We are hoping to purchase some acreage out in the country. I can’t wait! My Bigfoot radar will be at peak level!
ALSO NOTICED: Just the rattle of the cans at our campsite.
OTHER WITNESSES: Only me. My husband and daughter were asleep.
OTHER STORIES: Only those on the BFRO website.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: After midnight. Clear and very dark. No precipitation.
ENVIRONMENT: I'm not sure the exact species of trees, but near as I can remember, I haven't been to the area since, there are pine, palm and hardwoods.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
We discussed this experience at length by phone. Her description of the screams has been described the same way in other reports. She has had plenty of experience in the woods over the years and was not able to place the screams on any other animal she has heard. Research on the computer was done trying to find anything similar. We found possible bigfoot screams on the internet that she stated were very similar. Several reports have been submitted from this area of Florida. The campground is in the same region where the BFRO Florida Expeditions were held.
About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
- Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
- An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort. Currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
- Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Attended and assisted with numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
- She and the Florida BFRO organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
- She and the Michigan BFRO organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011, Michigan UP Expeditions in 2012, 2013 and 2015. She will be co-organizing the 2016 Michigan UP Expedition in October.