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YEAR: About 1995
COUNTY: Polk County
LOCATION DETAILS: Go down 60 back toward mulberry over on the right hand side large car dealer ship there is a ball park down the road a bit. First set of ponds by the park.
NEAREST TOWN: Bartow
NEAREST ROAD: hwy 60
OBSERVED: I saw something, but I am unsure. it was near the large park in bartow where they play baseball etc. We were on the top of the hill fishing and the others were checking the lines. There was something in the water staring at me very dark colored black looked hairy. I was in a trance and couldn't move. It was stuck out of the water at least chest high not sure what it was. When the others came back I started telling them. I started to point to show them where I saw it and it was gone. I had sat there and stared at it even closing my eyes and then looking again or averting my eyes and then looking it kept staring. Then it when the others showed up it disappeared.
ALSO NOTICED: Just weird.
OTHER WITNESSES: no
OTHER STORIES: not untill reading here saw a few all these years I still think about it. No smells I don't recall of. Or noise just a stare.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Afternoon I think or early evening
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
I spoke to the witness at length on the phone and then met her at the location where this happened (in 1995), just off of County Route 555. A fence kept us from going to the exact spot. She is not able to recall an exact date but remembers it being a hot spring afternoon during baseball season, as she could hear games going on at the time.
The figure was only visible from the waist up. A head and shoulders could be seen as it stood among the reeds. She didn't recall seeing its eyes, but she did sense that it was looking right at her and not moving. When she looked away to show her boyfriend it disappeared. After this incident, she insisted on not being left alone while fishing.
These ponds are on the edge of phosphate mining territory and low populated areas of Florida wilderness.
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.