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STATE: New Jersey
COUNTY: Burlington County
LOCATION DETAILS: Near Country Lakes (Please omit exact location)
NEAREST TOWN: Country Lakes
NEAREST ROAD: Rt. 70
OBSERVED: Being an avid outdoors man and interested in various types of wildlife since childhood, I've had my share of camping, canoeing, hunting, fishing, finding Native American artifacts, and hiking, etc. On one particular sunny spring day during 2011, I decided to walk some trails adjacent to Brendan T. Byrne St. Forest opposite Rt. 70. On one side of the sandy/gravel trail is a pine forest, on the other a downward slope into a densely wooded swampy area where a stream flows. At one point a few yards into the swampy area, I heard an unrecognized sound similar to a cross between a bird call and a whistle type noise at which I stopped dead in my tracks in attempt to see what made this unusual sound, but saw nothing. Within a few seconds just to the side of this noise I heard the smashing and crashing of large wet logs on a level the likes of which I have never heard before. This ruckus appeared to be purposeful in origin as if the creature was attempting to make as much noise as it possibly could...And it was succeeding! Having known several friends and family members who declared witnessing large bipedal hairy creatures in New Jersey, I immediately surmised this, too, must be a Bigfoot or Sasquatch type creature. After all, I've worked several seasons with very large animals at Great Adventure's Safari Park. I've touched, fed and/or pet elephants, rhinos, American Black Bear, European Brown Bear, tigers, leopards, bison, elk, etc., therefore I feel I have slightly better idea as to the average person, what size animal could make such a disturbance. In addition, I have a fair understanding of a variety of large North American mammal's behavior, and this seemed to fit nothing other than Bigfoot. As I stood there mostly in silence, the animal slowly proceeded deeper into the swamp, all the while smashing and crashing. Since I understood that bigfoots normally don't harm humans, at one point I quietly verbalized to myself, "MAN, THIS IS REALLY COOL." On the other hand I thought that if this thing is as angry as it sounds, I didn't want it to come bebopping onto the trail, since there was likely little or nothing I could do to protect myself.
As the ruckus began to dissipate, it seemed as if the creature wanted me to believe that it was further into the swamp than it actually was. I estimated it to have stopped at approximately forty five yards away. I stood there quietly for a number of minutes but heard absolutely nothing, not even a bird. I then slowly proceeded down the trail in search of any type of tracks, but saw nothing other than mine. Some distance down the trail, I came upon where the creek is at its closest, then heard what sounded as if either a very large animal jumped into the stream, or another large wet log was smashed, about forty five yards away. I stood there silently for a few more minutes but heard no further noise, then I proceeded home. At one point I had realized this creature must have paralleled me from the time I first heard it, to the last smash or splash, and yet during that period I didn't hear so much as a twig snap! After further contemplating the matter, I feel there may have actually been two creatures; one making the initial vocalization, and yet another the ruckus. After going on-line listening to recordings of alleged bigfoot vocalizations, I came across one in particular that sounds nearly identical to what I heard yet quite unlike any other animal with the exception of a chimpanzee. [The high pitched sound of the 1972 aggressiveness and whistles from Al Berry and Ron Moorehead.] From time to time I revisited the location and on Sept. 3rd, 2016, I strongly feel that I had found a stick formation right between where I heard the initial sounds and the last smash or splash. From 2011, until now, I am convinced that the weight of the animal smashing through the swamp must have been at least twice the weight of a fully grown male black bear, or equal to that of a male grizzly bear, at least 600 pounds.
ALSO NOTICED: May have found stick structure on 9/3/2016
OTHER WITNESSES: Only me.
OTHER STORIES: several in Ocean county. Two different visual sightings by friends,another by father, and one possible near encounter by grandfather at same location as on one particular sighting, eighty some years prior.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: between 10 & 11 a.m. sunny.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest on north side of trail, swamp and creek on south side of trail.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Eric Spinner:
I spoke to the witness at length by phone. The incident occurred back in 2011, but he felt compelled to submit his report based on new findings in the area.
Jeff restated the events of that day back to me, as was submitted in his report. There was no visual aspect, but the sounds he reported are definitely ones that could unnerve even the most seasoned outdoorsman. I found it interesting that he thought it was "Cool" to be experiencing the thrashing sounds, and he also said that he thought it might have been trying to get him to think it was moving out of the area, or that there could have possibly been a second individual nearby. Jeff has personally had a tremendous amount of experience working with large animals, and I believe that he could easily distinguish between a known forest animal, and one that may be out of place for the region. He continues to venture out on hikes and on his dirt bike into the woods near his home.
The area that this took place is in the Pine Barrens, a vast area of land that has had numerous sightings over the years. There are many streams and lakes, plenty of sources of food, and ample ground cover, and definitely could support the existence of a large as of yet undiscovered primate. I found the witness to be credible and truthful, and I give this report a Class "B" rating.
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.