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STATE: South Carolina
COUNTY: Horry County
LOCATION DETAILS: The location of the incident was just past the Little Pee Dee River on Hwy 917 between Marion and Mullns, SC
NEAREST TOWN: Mullins, SC
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 917
OBSERVED: The year was 1998, September. I was in the Air Force, stationed in Sumter, SC (Shaw AFB) and was traveling home to N. Myrtle Beach, SC with my two young sons (7 and 5)--they were asleep in the back seat. I had worked that day and had spent time with my neighborhood friends after work. I was a single parent and my children hated to ride in the car, so I had intentially started my trip very late--about 11pm. Trip was pretty much uneventful (as always) until about 1am. As I was traveling one of the many shortcuts I had found (hwy 917) and just passed the Little Pee Dee River, I noticed what I thought was a dog in a ditch. As I approached, the animal turned and looked at the car and I immediately knew that this was no dog. It was stooped over in the ditch, maybe eating a deer carcass or some other road kill. When it turned there was a couple of things that I noticed first... It's face almost looked like an orangutan's, there was no fur on the face and it had lips that had no real shape to them, the mouth was wider than a man's, the lips were pursed together and very narrow. It's head seem to be wider than normal with scraggely fur on top. The fur had an orange-brown tint to it (thus the thought that it was a dog). It was in the process of standing straight up when it turned to look at me, almost picking itself up in the process. Therefore, I know that it was not an animal that I had ever seen before. I did NOT get a chance to look at it in it's full length since I passed and could not see it in the mirror. It did not appear to have a neck, and was much broader in the shoulder and chest area than it initially appeared. Again, I did not notice much about the legs since I did not see much of them--I will say that the chest was MUCH larger than the mid (and butt) section and it never turned fully around--but what I did notice was the arms. They were very long and what appeared to be fingers were curved up into it's palms (not a fist)--therefore, making me believe it was some sort of ape--that maybe it mostly walked on all fours like a chimpanzee). It was covered from head to toe (with exception to the already mentioned facial area in the orange-brown fur...It had two apparent arms, I never really saw the legs since they were underneath the animal and hidden by the ditch and was much larger than I had initially thought. The ditch was probably 3 to 4 feet deep and the animal (stooped or bent over) rose above the ditch about 4 to 5 more feet. Another reason why the dog scenario did not fit the bill. The reason I knew the animal was stooped or bent over was because when it turned to look at me, it had to push itself up out of the ditch with it's arms (hands, I assume) and turn around--it was initially facing in the direction I was driving (SSE) and was apparently standing, still slightly stooped over, when I passed. It was a very dark night and I could only see the animal with the headlights. I was driving about 65 and when I saw the animal, I slowed down--thought it was going to run out in front of me--I had deer do that to me before... When I passed I looked in the mirror, but it was too dark to make any discernable shape in the ditch. I certainly did not stop as I was sort of tripped out and I had my two young sons in the car with me. I retired from the Air Force in 2007 and have only told a very few people this story thinking they would believe I was crazy! I live in Texas now and have never seen another thing like that.
I am looking for any explanation that you may have for this. I have perused your website, as well as others, and have not found any in the area that I had my sighting. Any explanation would be greatly appreciated.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just me, my children were in the back seat.
OTHER STORIES: Not me personally, other than what I have read on websites and in books
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Around 1am, clear, warm. Very dark night--so dark in fact, that when I looked in my rear view mirror, I could not see behind me. Not other vehicles on the road at the time.
ENVIRONMENT: Forest/bottom land with lots of soggy marshy areas
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Don Tart:
I contacted the witness, CS, to discuss the details of his experience along the banks of the Little Pee Dee River in the Lowcountry section of SC. This secondary road is through a vast section of swamp between Mullins & Myrtle Beach, SC and at the area of the witness' sighting, there are 3 bridges which cross over the Little Pee Dee. As he describes, the road embankment drops steeply into the swamp on both sides of the road. The woods run right up to the embankment and offer a quick pathway into the swamp for any wildlife crossing over the road. There are many deer, turkey, raccoon, opossum, and a vast assortment of fish and vegetation for food sources in this swampy abode. The climate is temperate, but during the summer months the humidity can be quite brutal. The human population is sparse and made up mostly of small farms and mobile homes until you get closer to the beach.
Just past the spot of this sighting is a dirt road to the left when heading south on Hwy 317. This forest road meanders off into the dismal swamp where few dare to venture except during hunting season or the occasional fisherman. I ventured down this roadway close to dusk looking for sign of any activity. There were many game trails zig-zagging off into the mixture of scrub pine trees and cypress trees. I looked for tracks. There were plenty of deer! No other sign.
I find CS's story to be credible and that this was the perfect spot to have an encounter with our "Big Friend", especially along this deserted road at this time of night. As CS crossed over that bridge that night the road stretches out into a long straightaway and affords you time and a good view to see down the embankment just as he described. His story adds credence to the other sightings throughout the swamps and rivers bordering North and South Carolina. There are multiple reports all within an hour of his sighting. CS has provided additional insight into our research in this area and we appreciate him coming forward with his experience.
About BFRO Investigator Don Tart:
Don T. is an I&C/E Engineer in Seneca, SC. Don is an avid outdoorsman. He is a Life Scout, member of the Order of the Arrow and a Boy Scout Commissioner for Oconee County,SC. He attended the 2006/2007/2008 NC Expeditions. He supported the pre-scouting activities for 2007 SC Expedition & 2007 Ga Expedition. He was a guide for the 2007 SC Expedition and the 2008 Florida expeditions.Don was the sponsor of the 2011 SC BFRO Expedition. Don is a founding member of SE BFRO Tracking Team.