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COUNTY: Polk County
LOCATION DETAILS: The south end of Cleveland Heights Golf Course just West of Willow Ave.
NEAREST TOWN: Lakeland
NEAREST ROAD: Willow Ave (small street)
OBSERVED: I just read one of these stories and I wanted to let you know about an incident that happened in the early fall of 1974. I still remember it clearly even though it has been 30 years. It took place on the West side of Lakeland, Florida in Polk County. This took place about 8 miles from the Saddle Creek area near Lake John which is at the end of Willow and Redwood Avenues.
The area at that time was significantly more rural than today and there was wooded, swampy area nearby (the end of Cleveland Heights Golf Course). I could show you specificaly on a map, but it was just northwest of Willow Ave. We were sitting outside looking toward the northwest. The sun had just set. We heard wood being chopped or tapped just behind the house on the other side of the street. The sound was muffled- further away than the house. We stood up and looked to see if we could see anything behind the house when something that looked like a very large upright monkey crawled up one of the pine trees and jumped to another one. It looked around for a moment and jumped down; what must have been 20 feet.
ALSO NOTICED: Sound of wood being chopped or tapped.
OTHER WITNESSES: 2 - watching the sunset
OTHER STORIES: I just read on this site about the other incidents and added this one.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Just after sunset- still twilight. Enough to still see color.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest on the edge of a swamp area.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
Very credible witness -- Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology. Ten years-old at the time. Saw it from about 250 feet away, along with his father. These are Florida pines, no branches until you are near the top and about 1 - 2 feet in diameter. He estimated that it was 6 - 7 feet tall. Color being brown and skinnier than what he described as "gorilla type". It was only about 200 feet behind houses with a deep creek nearby. Surprised enough that it has stuck with him until this day. When he told one of his neighbors what he had seen, her mother said "that was a skunk-ape".
About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
- Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
- An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort. Currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
- Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Attended and assisted with numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
- She and the Florida BFRO organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
- She and the Michigan BFRO organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011, Michigan UP Expeditions in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and Wisconsin 2018.