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YEAR: 1952 or 1953
DATE: can't remember
STATE: New Jersey
COUNTY: Burlington County
LOCATION DETAILS: I believe the access road into the park was off Rt 70, but you can also access this park area off Rt72 which takes you to the jersey shore through the northern part of the pine barrens.
NEAREST TOWN: Chatsworth
NEAREST ROAD: Rt 70
OBSERVED: This was a girl scout camping trip to what is now the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. Back then it was called the Lebanon State Forest. This is in the northern region of the New jersey Pine Barrens. We were a scout troop of about 20 girls ages 8-10 and 3 camp counselors. The camp counselors had prepared a huge pot of spaghetti and meat balls for our dinner the first night there. To get to this camp site you drove into the remote area on a one car wide sand road. The sand was very soft and cars would get stuck in the sand. Then you parked when that road ended and hiked through the forest to a lake, I believe it was called Cedar lake. We were to set up a camp site on the bank of the lake. This was in the month of June I believe so it was hot and very dry, clear night, moon shine everywhere after it got dark.
Well, it wasn't long after we made a camp fire and started unpacking our gear that the counselor came around very upset, saying the the huge pot of spaghetti and meatballs was missing, no one had any idea where it was, she had placed it with other gear near the fire and it just disappeared. So, no dinner that night. She had us all come around the fire so she could keep an eye on us, do head counts. Then, it started, the thrashing of the bushes just past the campsite in the woods around us, it circled around and around, then tree knocking over and over again, then loud whistling, not a bird, something with a large lung capacity, long eerie sounds. They were, first on one side of the campsite then on the other, like they were communicating with each other. The counselors decided we were all to stay right near the fire where they could do head counts, everyone was very afraid. We were told to stay in our sleeping bags all around the fire and not move or leave our sleeping bags. Across the lake there was a boy scout troop camping at the same time. The counselors called across the lake, not a big lake, for them to come across and help us. The boy scouts and counselors did and sat with us at the fire and listened to the continuing knocking sounds and whistling and thrashing. It was not a prank. The boys scouts were afraid just like we were and decided we weren't to leave until daybreak because it would be too dangerous to hike back through the woods to the cars. There were no cell phones back then so everyone had to wait until we could run through the woods to the cars and get to a phone to report this. The boy scout counselor did that and the State Police were arriving as we drove away and out of the park at about 5:30am. My mother told me first that I was never going camping again, and second that the police told the girl scout counselor that they found nothing anywhere around the campsites or in the woods, the spaghetti was never found. Back then, you would attribute such things happening to the jersey devil, but in this case I would have to say after all the information today, that it was a bigfoot or a couple bigfoots who just did not want us there. It also made no sense to think that it was a human or humans who wanted us out of there, If a human had stolen the food, he would have gone far away so not to be caught, certainly not scare us so bad all night long so that we would call the police.
ALSO NOTICED: All around Chatsworth NJ are, were, cranberry and blueberry farms, as well as pig farms. It would seem to me that if I was a bigfoot that would be an ideal area to live.
OTHER WITNESSES: many, 20 girlscouts, several boyscouts and about 6 scout counselors, 3 boyscout counselors, 3 girlscout counselors.
OTHER STORIES: I heard many stories of the pig farmers and the dairy farms all around there finding their livestock killed and half eaten or necks broken or just dragged away and disappeared. Their incidents were legendary in South jersey at the time. I do not believe there are any more dairy farms in the area but this was reported over and over again. My father owned 2 blueberry farms near Medford Lakes NJ, so we were in contact with the local farmers and knew what was going on.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: After nightfall about 11pm, clear and dark with some moonshine.
ENVIRONMENT: Scrub pine forest with swamp called cedar swamp and a lake, I believe the lake was called cedar lake. This entire area is all sand with the scrub pines and the cedar trees, the lake is a dark brown, from the resin of the cedar trees.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Eric Spinner:
I spoke to the witness at length by phone. She was able to recall to me the details of the events with relative ease. She told me that back then, they all attributed the events to being related to the Jersey Devil, but more and more she became convinced that they were more likely due to a Bigfoot. She came to this conclusion based on programs she had viewed on TV.
I have done extensive research in the area the encounter occurred in. I have had numerous other reports provided to me over the years from this exact location, that reinforce the possibility that what she and the other scouts and counselors experienced that night over sixty years ago, could have been a legitimate encounter.
About BFRO Investigator Eric Spinner:
Eric Spinner is the owner of a health food store in Medford, NJ - a town that borders the Pine Barrens. He is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, and a Shiatsu Practitioner. Eric has attended the 2008 NW Pennsylvania Expedition, the 2009 Sunshine Coast BC Canada Expedition, the 2016 So NY Expedition, and is the organizer of the New Jersey Expeditions. He has made numerous solo excursions into the Pine Barrens, the Pocono Mountains of north eastern Pennsylvania, and has done investigations in Missouri and Florida. He was most recently involved in the production of the South Jersey Sasquatch episode of Finding Bigfoot, and was one of the witnesses featured in the Town Hall meeting.