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COUNTY: Okaloosa County
LOCATION DETAILS: Approx. 6 or 7 miles South of Crestview Florida on Hwy 85 on the West shoulder, then again on the East shoulder. Take I-10 to the Hwy 85 exit and drive South 7 or 8 miles.
NEAREST TOWN: Crestview, Florida
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 85
OBSERVED: NW Florida, March 22, 2013. Me and my brother were driving South (me behind the wheel) on Hwy 85 about 7 miles south of Crestview Florida at 1:30am when we spotted what at first we thought was a really big black bear on the side of the road (West shoulder) next to the woods. I decided to make a U-turn at the next open medium to get a better look as big bear sightings in this area are not all that common; Usually they are very small black bears. We took a U-turn at an open medium about a 1/2 mile from the initial sighting and started heading back North. We got to the point where we had first seen what we thought was a large bear and started looking across the median for it. My Brother looked to his right and spotted the thing that we had seen. It had apparently crossed the highway putting it now on the East side of the road. When we looked we saw a large upright walking (like a human) black big foot type of creature. It paused, looked like it turned its head toward us, and ran into the woods. It was too large to be a human and it definately was not a bear. I'd guesstimate approx. 8' 6" to 9' tall.
ALSO NOTICED: None to my knowledge, though I didn't get out of my car nor go back.
OTHER WITNESSES: My Brother
OTHER STORIES: Not yet!
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 1:30 AM, clear skies, good enough light from both my car and sky to see the shape, size and dark color appearance.
ENVIRONMENT: Edge of a large pine forest (Eglin AFB reservation) and Highway.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Mick Minnis:
I initially spoke to one of the witnesses by phone, a couple of days after the incident. The details were very fresh in his mind, and he was able to share with me the specifics of his encounter.
The witness told me he is very familiar with black bears, having seen them on numerous occasions. We discussed the general size and appearance of black bears common to northwest Florida, and were able to quickly conclude it was not a bear that he saw. What he saw was much too large to be a bear, its hair was too long, and it did not move like a bear. Its very common for the mind to initially reason that it must be a bear, since there is nothing in our knowledge base that matches what is seen. After a few seconds of serious thought and reason, that initial idea is quickly dismissed.
We then spoke about the possibilities of it being a man in some type of suit. Even the idea that it could be military personnel doing some type of maneuver. However, the military does not do any operation within a certain distance to public roads. Also, it would be highly unlikely that one individual would be hunched over then standing facing the witness' car, then turn and take giant strides into the woods. Its actions were not human like, and it stood much taller than even the largest of humans. The witness is 6' 5" and he was clear to me that what he saw was much larger than him. The witness was able to get a good look at this thing and said he was left dumbfounded as to what it was.
As a skeptic concerning the existence of large, hairy creatures aka sasquatches roaming the woods, he was very reluctant to admit that this is what it most likely was. However he has no other explanation.
We were able to meet in person one week later at the site of the incident. I found the witness to be very credible and quite clear in explaining exactly what he saw that night. There is no doubt in my mind as to what he saw. We both concluded it could not have been a man, military or civilian. Though the witness still had a hard time grasping what he saw, and admitted to me he was definitely a skeptic. He now admits to the possibility of the existence of an unknown large hairy hominin roaming the Florida woods.
A few weeks after meeting with this witness, I was able to speak with his brother, the second witness to the incident. He was able to validate and confirm all the details his brother revealed. In addition, he was able to add his perspective. Firstly he told me very unequivocally that he was a skeptic before this incident. He told me he and his brother had never discussed the subject of large unknown primates aka wildmen at all, ever. He said he was 100% sure it was not a bear, and 99% sure it was not a man. He also stated it would be practically impossible to hoax what he saw. Someone would have to move as fluidly as this creature moved, wearing an extremely impressive costume, with stilts attached to his legs, and navigate a downslope into the woods. Of course doing this at the precise time to be seen by these brothers, at 1:30 AM. No way, he told me. Also he said it was just too random to be a hoax. I can tell you he was definitely very confused and baffled by this incident. It has thrown his skepticism into a spin. He told me he doesn't know what to think about all this. He said, "I don't know what it was that I saw, but I know what it wasn't". Referring to a bear and a human. Details he emphasized, was that its hair was shaggy and around 3-4 inches in length. It was very tall, and its arms hung much longer than a humans. Another key point to me is that he told me he has seen black bears on many occasions up close. Since his job has him out before dawn in neighborhoods that are notorious for having bears getting into trash cans. The last point this witness made to me is that he thought there was a possibility, there were two creatures rather than one. He said the creature they saw on the other side of the road after they turned around to get another look was larger than what they initially saw. He was 100% certain of this. He did add that maybe it was larger or appeared that way because it was standing differently than it was at initial observation. Regardless of whether there was only one or two, I am confident after speaking with this witness, that what he saw would fall into the category of large hairy unknown primate or hominin.
I have hiked and investigated the exact area where the creature was seen entering the woods. It is a heavily wooded pine forest with rolling hills and numerous creeks. The terrain is quite difficult to navigate off trail, and is abundant with wildlife. I have seen literally hundreds of deer in the area of the incident. Also, within half a mile I have seen a black bear crossing the same highway that the creature was observed. I have heard wild hogs and seen tracks within 200 yards of the exact location of the sighting. There are also blueberry bushes throughout the area. I say all this to qualify the fact that there are food sources, great terrain, and plenty of fresh water to accommodate a large predator.
The Eglin AFB reservation has had other sightings and incidents over the years. Locals, though reluctant to admit publicly, have told me personally of encounters they have had. With the continued expansion into Eglin AFB forested lands it is possible we may have more such incidents in the future.
About BFRO Investigator Mick Minnis:
Mick Minnis currently resides in Cresview FL. He is the owner and operator of Bigfoot Moving Services, a moving and delivery company that operates throughout the state of Florida. He is an avid hiker, climber, and also enjoys running and practicing martial arts. His interest in Sasquatch has taken him throughout the United States on numerous personal expeditions and also visits to interesting places such as the Bigfoot Museum in Willow Creek CA. He has attended the 2011 and 2013 North Florida Expeditions.