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COUNTY: Chesapeake City County
LOCATION DETAILS: I don't care if it's posted online, I just don't want to be named or included in any of this. Location is off of Route 17 Business towards the end. The entrance to the Dismal Swamp Trail is located on Rt 17 Business.
NEAREST TOWN: Chesapeake
NEAREST ROAD: Route 17
OBSERVED: My wife and I were walking down the Great Dismal Trail which is the old Route 17 before they made a 4 lane version between Chesapeake VA and the North Carolina border. We had walked approximately 1 mile down the road and were sitting at one of the benches they put along the way. It was quiet and cool out, around 50 degrees. We started hearing what sounded like someone walking parallel to the canal on the other side. We heard the typical crunching sounds of leaves and twigs snapping. These sounded like the footsteps of a man (as in 2 legged). They started to our right as we faced the canal and in the span of about 5 minutes ended up being in front of us. Once the were near our center, we started hearing steps coming from the left side. We continued to listen as they seemed to be intercepting each other. A couple minutes later we heard what sounded like chattering or popping sounds from the center point and then the same sounds coming from our left. My wife and I were somewhat spooked at this point as we've never heard those sorts of sounds before. I was carrying a small, thick pine branch which I hit against a mile marker post a couple times to try to produce some sort of a response. About 10-15 seconds later we heard a similar sound come from the area of the footsteps but it seemed like it was deeper in the woods. The steps continued and it sounded like it was about to pop out on the other side of the canal. The canal is approximately 40-50 feet across and very deep at that point and the brush on the other side was essentially a wall as it's so dense. We never did see anything but I decided it was time to leave. My wife was hesitant as she wanted to see what it was. We headed back to the gate of the trail and there was a park ranger sitting in his vehicle waiting to close the gates (the trail closes at sunset which is 5:00pm at this time of the year). There's frequent blackbear sightings in this area so I asked the guy how bears typically sound in the wild. I told him about the chattering and asked if they could do that but he didn't think they produced that sort of sound. We talked a bit longer and started towards the car. About 20 feet from the car my wife and I heard a loud but short scream coming from the direction of the swamp. The best we can describe it is a cross between a woop and a woman's scream. My wife thought it was my cars alarm sounding but I said it doesn't make that sound when unlocking the door. I have absolutely no idea what we heard but it was completely unlike anything she or I had heard before.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing else noteworthy other than we were spooked after this.
OTHER WITNESSES: Yeah, my wife.
OTHER STORIES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Around 4:00 - 4:30pm. Sun was low in the sky and it was scattered clouds. Temperature was around 50-55 degrees.
ENVIRONMENT: We were on an old 2 lane road sitting on a bench between the road and the canal. The side which the sounds came from was very dense (to the point of not being able to see anything). It was large trees and lots of scrub brush. I have no idea what it looks like beyond the wall of brush on the other side of the canal. I do know the trees go back as far as the eye can see.
Follow-up investigation report:
Spoke 45 minutes with witness who seems very credible, and is familiar with local wildlife and has hunted outdoors in the region. The following details can be added from our conversation:
- The witness is a amateur photographer and on that day was enjoying the scenery and listening to the sounds of nature with his wife.
- He had the impression that the footsteps were careful in placement, not wanting to make too much noise, distinctly bipedal, and something large by the sound of the crunching leaves.
- Before the footsteps merged was when the popping/clicking sounds began, and he notes two distinct sets of these sounds, coming from slightly different directions in front of them, as if communication was taking place between the sound sources. The sounds from the two locations were of similar pitch, without much variance, and lasted about 15-30 seconds. He likens the noises to a jaw click or pop that sometimes occurs when chewing. He admits that it could have been rocks being hit together, but does not think that was the case.
- As the witness and his wife headed back to the trail entrance, they kept stopping to see if they still heard the footsteps, and one set of footsteps seemed to be keeping up with their progress along the trail. At this point they hastened their pace back to the entrance, never again stopping.
About BFRO Investigator Dr. Robert S. (MD):
Robert S. is a physician practicing in California. He has attended the 2006 Florida, New York Adirondack, and Washington expeditions, the 2008 West Virginia expedition, 2013 N. Florida and Alabama expeditions, and 2014, 2015 N. Florida expeditions.