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COUNTY: Hillsborough County
LOCATION DETAILS: It was at the Hillsborough River State Park on one of the bike trails
OBSERVED: I went down to Florida with my family while my dad was working there. We didn't want to stay in a hotel because we had just bought a camper so we decided to go camping. So we stayed at the Hillsborough River State Park. One day I took my bike out around 2 in the afternoon. The camp had a few trails to ride on so I decided to take one. As I was riding my bike, I stopped and looked over the ledge at a few alligators I spotted. I heard a rustle in the trees and thought maybe it was a gator so i got steady on my bike and got ready to take off. As I was looking around I noticed a tall dark brown hairy figure just standing there looking at me. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me so I looked harder at it and It took off running. I would also like to note that it was running on two feet, not four. I rode my bike back to my camper as fast as I could and elaborately told my mother and my sister that I just saw Bigfoot. They both claimed I was crazy and told me it was a black bear because the camp guide told us not to leave food out because they had some of them in the area. But I am most certain that this was not a bear. this "Thing" stood at least 7 1/2 feet tall and ran upwards on two feet. I know what I saw,and ever since then I've been fascinated with this creature. I know its out there!
OTHER WITNESSES: no
OTHER STORIES: Yes I was skeptical about my sighting until I saw three other sightings in the same area
TIME AND CONDITIONS: afternoon. roughly 2-3 pm
ENVIRONMENT: It was cool out, probably about 70 degrees
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
I spoke to JS on the phone, and he had these details to add to his report:
In January 2001, 16 year old JS was visiting Florida with his family. They were camped at the Hillsborough River State Park. Between 2PM and 4PM on a sunny day, with temperatures at about 65 degrees, JS decided to ride his bike up a trail that parallels the Hillsborough River. About a mile up the trail, JS noticed a place that he recognized from a previous canoe trip, so he stopped to see if there were still some alligators there that he had spotted earlier.
"I was looking down a steep embankment towards the river, when I heard something rustling some bushes to my right. I thought that it might be an alligator, but when I looked I saw a big thing standing there in the bushes, just five feet away from me," recalled JS. "It was frozen, just looking at me while I looked at it, then it took off into the bushes. It was BIG."
JS stated that he had about 10 seconds to observe it before it ran away. "I think it freaked out, and thatís why it ran. When I spotted it, it was sort of standing there in the bushes, frozen, like it was wondering if I would notice it. It didnít seem like it wanted to hurt me. I think I scared it as much as it scared me". After the creature ran off, JS stated that he got back onto his bike and "peddled faster than Iíve ever peddled before". "It took me until halfway back to the camp to really realize that I had just seen a bigfoot. Then I started thinking, what if itís chasing me, and steps out of the woods to clothesline me? But it didnít. Deep down inside I knew that it didnít want to hurt me, but I was pretty scared by then. When I got back I told me mom and my sister that I had seen a bigfoot. My mom told me that I had probably seen a bear. But it wasnít any bear. Bears donít run on two feet. It was a bigfoot."
JS stated that he saw the upper-half of the creature, from the chest up. "I was about 6 feet tallí, stated JS, "and this thing was about 1 Ĺ foot taller than I was, so it was about 7 Ĺ foot tall."
Its shoulders were very broad, about three feet across. "I didnít notice any muscle definition because the hair was so matted, but it must have been pretty muscular, because the shoulders were huge," recalled JS.
JS didnít notice any hands. The arms were kept at its sides. "It didnít pump its arms like when we run. They just sort of swung at its sides."
It was covered with "dark, dark, brown" hair that appeared dirty and matted. When it ran, JS did not observe any movement of its hair. "It was definitely hair, not fur, but it was all matted and dirty and didnít move much while it was running. Maybe it had been swimming in the river. Maybe thatís why it looked matted and dirty."
"The face was really dark", stated JS. "I couldnít tell what was hair, or what was skin, because the color of its whole face was so dark". (From the description JS gave me of the terrain and his point of reference, he would have been standing to the north of the creature. Since it was after noon, on a sunny day just after the winter solstice, the creature's face could have been partially, or totally silhoutted by the direct sunlight. So it is feasible that JS could not determine the dark skin from dark hair on the face, even from five feet away.)
The eyes were also very dark. JS compared them to dogís eyes, when there are no whites showing.
It had a "smashed in" looking nose. JS compared it to being a half-human, half-ape nose.
The mouth and lips were wide and dark. There were no teeth seen.
No ears were seen.
The head was elongated, and oval-shaped. "It was sort of pointed at the top, but not a sharp point."
JS could not determine a gender.
There was no odor present.
It didnít make any sounds when it ran away, except for the breaking of limbs.
JS told me that he wished that there was somebody else with him when he had his sighting, "Then they would believe me."
I found JSís story to be very credible and believable. He was sincere, forthright and did not attempt to embellish any details.
The sighting took place in the Hillsborough State Park, a 16,000 acre watershed that borders about 10,000 acres of other wilderness and protected areas. It is part of an established wildlife corridor that extends from South Florida to North Florida.
Rich in wildlife, the terrain topography consists of swamps, pinelands, hardwood forests, prairies and grasslands, as well as the Hillsborough River and its many tributaries. It's an ideal bigfoot sanctuary.
About BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
Cathy has been a nurse for over 27 years and currently works in a busy ICU. An amateur naturalist, Cathy has been intrigued by the bigfoot phenomenon from an early age.
Attended the following expeditions:
- The 2006 Florida Expedition
- The 2007 North Carolina Expedition
- The 2008 South Florida Expedition
- The 2008 North Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Central Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Utah Expedition
- The 2010 TN Survey Expedition
- The 2011 East Texas Expedition
-The 2012 North FL Expedition
-The 2013 Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition
For more information, please see the Florida BFRO