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COUNTY: Taylor County
LOCATION DETAILS: HWY 98 West to the Econfina River Grade, Left on said road to Snipes Island Grade, Back near the Marshlands.
NEAREST TOWN: Perry, Fla
NEAREST ROAD: US HWY 98 West
OBSERVED: During November -December hunting season in 1981 my stepfather took us hunting many times in the Snipes Island Grade/Econfina River area area. His family had owned many acres of land in that area for years. We spent quite a bit of time in the area camping out sleeping in makeshift lean-tos. Numerous times while being left alone I can remember the eerie sensation like we were being watched and the hair standing up on the back of my neck. One evening it all came to a climax. After a day of hunting discussing how astounded we were as to how quiet it had been and how still the game was. There was no sound of crickets or nothing, not even a bird making a noise. There was one noise we did hear occasionally which sounded like a hoot owl on steroids. (After listening to some vocalizations on here I am sure they are the same) We did discuss a very distinct odor which smelled like a skunk or worse. My step father said it was just a wild hog or so he thought and we made nothing of it. Hours later I remember being awakened by my step father setting up and screaming at something to get away. He quickly fired several shots of a rifle up into the air. ( The same stench at this time was terrible and gut wrenching) We could all hear a loud crashing noise as whatever it was ran off into the woods. As we sit up and was talking he described a tall looming figure which walked up and was looming over the lean to was looming over it. He guessed at least 7 feet tall.
A loud hoot owl like noise several times during the night . All over animals had been quiet that day and not even any insects making a noise.
ALSO NOTICED: For several weeks prior and even after-wards,my stepfather and his friend had been hunting quite extensively. He often commented on the eerie silence and how nothing, even bugs seldom if ever made a noise. The days we were camping out we all experienced "hair standing upon our necks and we felt like we were being watched.
Also, About a week earlier, my stepfather and a friend had shot a young buck. The buck was in a dead run like it was running from something. Again he marveled at how quiet the forest was. He marked the area the deer had fallen and went after his friend to help him retrieve it. No where when the returned could they find the deer. A few months later they were in the area and found the deer in an entirely different area. He recognized the skull as the deer had a unique set of horns. He knew because he watched the deer fall and knew where it should have been.
OTHER WITNESSES: Family Members, all were asleep under a makeshift lean to.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Middle of the Night, between 12-4 am
ENVIRONMENT: Swampy Terrain, Mixture of Cabbage Palm Trees, Mixture of hardwoods and Pines, within walking/hiking distance of the Gulf of Mexico.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
I spoke to MA over the phone for about an hour. He was very sincere and forthright in relating the experience he had in 1981.
MA had grown up in Taylor Co, FL and had hunted and fished his whole life. When he was approximately 16 years old, he accompanied his stepfather, RT, as well as the rest of the family and an older friend, AG, to a remote and primitive hunt camp that was on property owned by the family, for a weekend of camping and hunting.
The area they camped at had been used several times by the family. There were rugged, homemade lean-to’s that were to be used to sleep under, as well as a fire pit. MA had remarked that both RT and AG, very experienced woodsman, found it extremely odd that the ‘usual’ animal noises were eerily absent during this particular outing. “I remember thinking that it was really weird.” commented MA. “Usually we would hear lots of frogs and insects and stuff. But this time the woods were just dead. No animal noises.”
During the days leading up to the encounter, the whole family would often hear vocalizations that they could not explain. MA stated that they mostly sounded like ‘whoop’ calls, starting out low and gaining a higher pitch at the end. He said that they were sometimes a singular vocalization, or at other times, multiple vocalizations from different parts of the woods, “like ‘they’ were calling out to each other. Each sounded sort of the same, but you could tell a difference between each one because the tone was different. It was sort of like two people saying the same word, but you know that it’s from two different people. Even though it sounded kind of like an owl, it wasn’t like any animal noise I’ve ever heard before.”
MA also remarked that the family would sometimes encounter a ‘horrible’ smell while hiking through the woods. MA described a ‘feeling’ of ‘being watched’ that ‘made the hair on the back of my neck stand up’ when he was alone. They would often hear 'Lots of knocking', that, like the vocalizations, were sometimes singular in nature, or coming from different parts of the woods. “You might hear two or three knocks, then it got quite. Or you might hear two or three knocks in one direction and a few minutes later, two or three knocks coming from somewhere else. It sounded like a big, solid stick being banged against a tree. We really didn’t know what was going on.”
Sometime during that night, between 1100pm-200am, MA awoke to the sounds of gunfire and the sound of his stepfather 'yelling at the top of his lungs'. Just after the gunfire and yelling ceased, MA heard something that he describes as ‘huge’, running into the woods, breaking limbs and crashing into trees. By then the whole family was awake and wondering what in the world was going on. MA states that it was his stepfather, RT, that had fired the rifle, and that he appeared agitated and ‘scared’. About 10 minutes, they all heard the sound of two or three distinct wood-knocks that came from the area the ‘intruder’ had headed.
RT would later describe what he saw that night to MA. He stated that he couldn’t sleep because he just felt that ‘something’ wasn’t right. At some point during the night he was about to get up to stoke the fire when he heard ‘something’ creeping up to his lean-to, and saw, what he described, as ‘a tall figure, about 7-8 foot tall’ looming over him, peering into the lean-to. He refused to talk about it in any detail, only saying later that it looked like a ‘big, hairy ape’. And he was adamant that it wasn’t a bear or a human. (When I asked MA if his stepfather had shot at the ‘intruder’, or up into the air, MA stated that he really didn’t know.)
According to MA, RT was not the type of person to scare easily. He had done a few stints in jail and was known for his brusque manner and as a ‘tough-guy’. But for the rest of the night, stated MA, RT sat up for the rest of the night ‘to keep the fire burning bright’. At sunrise, RT packed up the family and according to MA, ‘Got the hell out of there’. According to MA, his stepfather appeared ‘scared and nervous’ until the time they left.
Just after his stepfather fired his gun, MA stated that when he awoke, there was an over-whelming, ‘horrendous’ odor that permeated the area around the camp. He stated that it was sort of like a ‘skunky’ smell, but worse. He said that he had smelled skunks in the past, and this was far, far worse. “It was like nothing I have ever smelled before, or since.”
When asked how he could recall these encounters in so much detail, MA stated that “I was so damn scared, I remember everything in vivid detail. You just can’t forget this kind of thing.”
After this incident, MA has refused to go back to that area. He continued to hunt from time to time, but he has vowed never to go back to that area again, even though his family had owned the property.
When asked about the whereabouts of his stepfather now, MA says that he had lost contact with him. He also stated that his younger sister refuses to talk about the incident. The only contact that he could think of that might recall and talk about the incident was his stepfather’s friend, AG. He has since tried to make contact with AG.
This incident occurred outside of the northern border of the 4400 acre Econfina River State Park. The property has since been purchased by the Florida Government to be used as state wildlife preserves. This area encompasses a vast network of highlands, lowlands, rivers, and salt marsh estuaries. Wildlife flourishes in this area, including turkeys, white tailed deer and bear. Outside of the State forests and protected areas there is still little development, even to this day.
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