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COUNTY: Middlesex County
LOCATION DETAILS: The sighting occurred just north of a crest in the road, where you could not see the trough until you had actually gotten on top of the crest. The road rose again, but not quite as steep as it was going downhill. The sighting took place on the downside of the hill, almost towards the bottom.
NEAREST TOWN: Either Jamaica or Church View
NEAREST ROAD: Rt 17
OBSERVED: This incident has been bothering me for 25 years. And I'm glad I found your sight a few years ago.
In 1978, my girlfriend (now my wife) and I were driving back from Virginia Beach back to Baltimore on Route 17. As I was driving over one hill, I noticed a dead animal in the road, on the slower lane about a half a mile ahead. It appeared to be a large dead dog.
As I approached it, I had to change lanes and started to notice a smell that reminded me of muck we use to pull out of the creek near where I grew up. The odor got stronger and I thought it was an unusual smell for a dead animal, which now appeared to be the size and color of a german shephard.
As I drove around the animal, I watched it so I would not accidentally hit it as I went by (it straddled the lane markers a bit). I also noticed out of the corner of my eye, what I thought was a little old black man, crouching in the woods behind a leafy branch, waiting for me to pass by.
The edge of the woods was about 10 yards away, although I can't be sure of the exact distance. My immediate thought was that he was coming out to get his poor dog that got run over. So I curiously watched him in my rear view mirror. What I saw surpirised me.
Since the car had a loose rear view mirror, I held it as still as I could to see the action. The figure came out of the woods, certainly bigger than I had thought it would have been. But what amazed me was that it reached the middle of the road in three strides. It looked down at the dead animal just as another car was coming over the crest behind me.
It stood in a crouch, with its hands well below its knees, sort of in a monkey like position. It appeared startled as it jerked its head looking towards the oncoming car, I saw what looked like two long furry ears (possibly dread-lock type hair) swing around, following its head. My first impression was that it looked like one of those old aviator hats with the long "ear pieces" but with hair.
As soon as it was startled by the other car, it turned and took another two and a half steps back into the woods. What amazed me was the length of the stride.
My then-girlfriend asked me what was the matter. She said I looked like I saw a ghost. For some reason, I reacted like I just saw something I couldn't explain, and started to to get physically shaken.
We stopped a few minutes later at a roadside store in Jamaica, VA and bought a soda to sooth my nerves. That's when I realized that I might have seen an animal and not a man. To this day, I can not tell you exactly what I saw. But it was definitely NOT what I originally thought it was.
The combination of the rancid odor, the long quick strides it took, the "floppy" ears, the size (certainly bigger than an old man), and its color (black/dark brown) now makes me wonder if I saw a sasquatch.
Now, in looking at the map, I notice that that part of Rt 17 goes through a swampy, desolate area.
ALSO NOTICED: Dead animal carcass in the road
OTHER WITNESSES: My girl-friend, now my wife was in the car. At that time, she was oblivious to many things that went on around her (that's why I married her ;) lol!). To this day, she says she does not remember the incident.
OTHER STORIES: no, although I keep track of any other reports from Virginia around the same time and area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Just moments before dusk. Clear day, typical hot-sticky weather for Virginia in August, occassional cloud covering the sun.
ENVIRONMENT: Forest on either side for miles. The highway is divided with a large median between sides. No other noticeable landmarks. Although, my map shows a nearby swamp called Dragon Swamp that parallels the highway
Another local report that refers to an animal's "Rasta" type hair.
Follow-up investigation report:
Upon further investigation, the witness added the following:
You said the incident occurred over 25 years ago, and that you found our site a few years back. Why have you waited until now to submit your report?
I actually submitted it a few years ago, and hadn't heard from anyone. It was at a time when the website was going through some changes (about 2 generations ago), so I assumed my report took a back seat. I just waited until now to resubmit it. Also, I was waiting to see if anyone else had submitted a report for the same area or county or surrounding counties.
I had told my kids about the "encounter" and always made great pains not to embellish the story, and to leave the decision of what I saw up to the imagination of the listener. I did make it a point to not mention what I thought it was. I always said, "I don't know what exactly it was I saw, but I can tell you what happened. You decide."
'Best guess' - how much time elapsed from the beginning to end of your encounter?
Maybe 15-20 seconds, possibly up to a minute if you include driving over the rise, noticing the dead animal, to seeing the subject run into the woods.
What made you classify the creature hiding in the bushes as ' a little old black man'? I.e. what facial features did you see? Did it look humanoid, and if so, what characteristics made it appear human?
As I was passing by, I only saw the subject out of the corner of my eye, and did not get a head-on look at it. Please remember that my focus was on avoiding hitting the road kill, and that my eyes were definitely diverted away from the road in front of me for a split second.
It was in this split second that this figure caught my attention, enough to look back in my rear view mirror. As I passed it, I did not catch any facial features, only that it had a dark complexion (not Caucasian).
I thought it was a bit odd, and in that split second, wondered why someone would be just inside the edge of the woods as most of us would be just OUTSIDE the edge of the woods if we were waiting to get a peek at something in the road.
This is what raised my curiosity to look in the rear view mirror to see if anything had changed and to see if the subject had approached the animal. I was given the distinct, split second impression that he/it was hiding at the edge of the woods, waiting for me to go by. I cannot explain what gave me that impression.
Please estimate the creature's height in feet, approximate weight, shape of head.
As I had no frame of reference in my rear view mirror, I can not give you any estimate as to the exact size. However, I remember having the distinct impression that what I was looking at in my rear view mirror was not what I thought I saw out of the corner of my eye a few moments earlier.
I do remember thinking that this subject was bigger than I had instinctively thought. And what really did catch my attention was the size of its gait. The impression I had out of the corner of my eye was that, whatever or whomever it was was in a squatting position. I would say that I had the impression that it was bigger than I was at the time (I was 6'3" and about 225 then).
Honestly, I am having trouble remembering the shape of the head. I think it was about the same shape as a human, but the dreadlocks, or ears (whatever it was) really set what I saw apart from what I was expecting to see.
Also, as the road was taking a slight bend to the left, up a slight incline, I was not concentrating on the figure but on the road again, and all I was able to make out was more of a silhouette at this point.
You said the creature resembled a monkey while standing in the street. Would you classify this animal then as more ape-like than human?
What I meant by ape-like was that it briefly stood, hunched over the road kill, with its fingertips cupped, extending slightly below the knees, in a stance unlike us normal humans. The knees were bent slightly.
Please remember that what I saw at this point was more like a silhouette. The lighting, combined with the vibrating rear view mirror did not allow me to get a good look at any distinct features.
When the animal looked in the direction of the oncoming car, did it turn just its head or entire upper torso?
It turned its head then its torso as it ran off. It must have been looking down at the road kill, and must have seen the lights of the oncoming car out of the corner of its eye. The car obviously got its full attention away from the road kill. By the way, it really was not dark or dusk enough to have lights on. But for some reason, that particular driver had them on.
Estimate the distance in feet for each stride.
It would have had to been 4-6 feet per stride in order to get back into the woods with 3-4 strides. I have the lasting impression that its stride was not by "stretching" or extending it normal "let's get out of here" gait, but was rather natural and effortless/smooth/normal.
Again, I remember thinking or wondering how in the world whatever I saw could only have taken such few steps to get back to the edge of the woods. It was this thought that shook me up, then thinking I had just seen something very unusual. It was at this time I remember being mentally shaken, and my wife (then girlfriend) telling me that I looked like I had just seen a ghost.
If you can think of any more information, please don't hesitate to add it. Even very minor details you might think are irrelevant may afford valuable data to our scientists.
The only thing that was noticeable was the swamp like stench that permeated the area. It reminded me like the times, as a kid, when we would get stuck in the muck at the edge of a creek, and the smell of the muck was definitely distinctive on our shoes/sneakers. I do not remember the smell lingering after I had passed the area in question.
Even now, I still can not legitimately say I saw a Bigfoot
animal/whatever. I can only report on what I saw. I know enough not to draw conclusions based on a viewing through a shaky rear view mirror in a car moving away from the subject. Again, I just wanted to at least give a report of a "POSSIBLE" sighting. I am making no claims as to the exact identity of the subject.
For all I know, it could have been a big black guy, wearing a hairy aviator cap (dreadlocks weren't in vogue then), who could run at a fast pace with huge strides, and who didn't have the best posture in the world. In addition, perhaps this report may draw out others who could give you a more definitive experience.
I just hope I'm not wasting your time. But the experience has
stayed with me through the years. I just started retelling the story as my son had been in scouts and made for a good campfire story. But please remember that I took great pains not to embellish the experience.