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COUNTY: Marion County
NEAREST TOWN: Salt Springs
NEAREST ROAD: highway 19
OBSERVED: My father and I were riding south in our car down forest road 65, in the Ocala National Forest. We were nearing the point where 65 intersects with forest road 90. The road is sandy and white, and as we were moving along we noticed a figure up in the distance, silhouetted against the white sandy road that was going up hill. We were a good distance away, and we initially thought it must be a man, but there was no campground in that area, and besides in July, it is extremely hot out there. The figure did not appear to be carrying anything, like a hiker would. There is a trail about a mile or two from this area, but the trail crosses the road a good bit south of where we were. Anyway as we got closer the figure just seemed to be all dark colored with hair. It was on the side of the road and as we approached it crossed the road to the other side. It did not appear to be as big as I would have imagined, but was probably about 5 to 6 ft tall. When our car got to the point where we had seen it cross into the woods, we stopped and looked, it was just thick piney woods, and we were both really kind of in shock about all of this. It was a few hours later I realized we should have looked for tracks.
What we saw was most definitely not a bear, because this creature walked on two legs for the whole sighting, besides we have seen many bears out there, and we know what they look like.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two, me and my father.
OTHER STORIES: Yes, the witness's father had a sighting years ago. I inquired about speaking with him, however due to his poor health, I was unable to do so.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Late afternoon, temp in mid 90's, sunny not overcast.
ENVIRONMENT: This area is pretty thick woods, during hunting season I am sure there are alot of people out there, but not in July.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator PSM:
I spoke with the witness at great length by phone. She recounted her sighting to me, adding that the distance was about 150 yards when it appeared that the creature noticed the car approaching. At that time, the creature crossed the road in front of the car and vanished into the woods. The witness stated that when they stopped to see if they could see the creature in the forest, they were so startled that they did not think to look for tracks.
The witness also stated that from where she was, it appeared that the creature was a dark brown in color. It was around 6 - 7 p.m. and there was still plenty of sunlight. She has seen bear in the Ocala National Forest, including one standing on its hind legs. This figure's torso was thinner than a bear's and the arms were long, and she could see them swing as it walked. They drive this route often and comparing it to the trees, she estimated the height to be 5 1/2 - 6' tall and not big and bulky as often described.
The witness also told me of an occasion when her father was hunting years ago and had a sighting. Do to his health conditions, I was unable to speak with him.
About BFRO Investigator PSM:
PSM is a Deputy Sheriff and attended the 2005 and 2006 Florida Expeditions.
He will also be attending the 2008 North Florida Expedition.