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COUNTY: Lake County
LOCATION DETAILS: From I95 south take the LPGA BLVD exit near Daytona, turn right, follow to end and turn right onto International Speedway BLVD (17/92), continue on 17/92 into DeLand, Turn left onto 17, turn right onto 44 west, continue on 44 approximatly 10 miles. Cassia is a very small town, look closely for the sign. Once in Cassia, the area where this took place is now called Camp Boggy Creek, I believe, which will be on your left, a sand road. It is just before the Blackwater Creek bridge (small bridge). Unknown who the land owners are now if any.
NEAREST TOWN: Cassia
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy. 44
OBSERVED: Hello, I contacted someone from your organization about a year ago regarding my encounter in central Florida back in the middle 80s. I was called away to work and was unable to continue with the call. With that said, I would like to finish sharing my experience. I was working as a fence contractor in central FL during the 80s. We had obtained a job to build 10 feed plots for deer in a remote area off of hwy. 44 near the Blackwater Creek area of the Wekiva River Basin. The acreage is vast and was utilized for big game hunting. Since there was a deadline, we had all of the fence material trucked in and we set up camp at the end of the access road. This allowed us to be onsite until all work was complete. On the second day of our stay, we (myself and a helper) were surveying and clearing a fence line in the early morning hours, it was still misty with little light coming through the trees. There was four of us total working, so we split up into two teams to knock out the 10 plots. While my helper and I were clearing brush we were commenting and joking about an odd odor (skunky/sulfer like) we had been smelling a few minutes before reaching the site of the first plot. As we were pulling a string line, abruptly, a dark, bipedal form stepped into our fence line about 60 yards ahead of us. At first we thought it was one of the installers working with us, but as it moved closer to the clearing you could clearly see it was not a human. It appeared to be mostly covered with orange/brown hair, un-human long arms and an odd shaped head (wide, pointy and large) with a very short neck. Once it stepped out, it seen us as well, and when we shouted out the names of the other workers it quickly vanished into the treeline. We viewed the creature for what seemed to be 60 seconds or so before it bolted off. My helper and I were stunned at what we had seen. We spent a few minutes trying to rationalize it but there was no doubt we witnessed something extraordinary. I was carrying a side arm so we walked up to the clearing but could not see anything through the trees, however we did hear something moving rapidly away from us for a few seconds. That was the first of two encounters. The second encounter happened on the fourth night of our stay. All four of us were at camp which was set up on the bank of Blackwater Creek, about 15 feet from the waters edge. That area of the creek is approximatly 12 feet in width from bank to bank. We had began to cook dinner and were still carrying on conversations about our sighting of a hairy creature two days prior, with the other installers ribbing us saying we must had been drinking on the job and such. There was a cooler that we had tied to a rope and placed in the creek to keep the contents cool. As we were eating a loud splash from across the creek startled everyone. One of the other installers ran down to the creek and found that our cooler was gone, as well as the rope and stick it was tied to. We all walked down to the creek bank but there was no sounds other than the normal water movement. The missing cooler was chalked up to raccoons or an alligator. As we settled back into eating, one of the guys walked away to relieve himself, as he returned to the truck everyone looked at him, he was silent and all the color was gone from his face, he just looked at me and said "I'm sorry, I will never doubt anything you tell me again, ever". Not sure what he meant at the time, I asked him what happened, he quietly turned and pointed, saying "someone or something was standing on the other side of the creek watching me pee". It was obvious he was actually scared speechless. I grabbed a spotlight and we all walked down to the spot where he was standing. As I was hitting the treeline with the light there was no sight of any movements, eyeshine or anything so I stepped as close to the waters edge as I could. As soon as I turned the light back on and the beam hit the other side of the creek, we heard a loud grunt, almost similar to a pig, I panned to our left and that's when it all happened. A large bipedal, hair covered animal stood up from behind a group of palmetto bushes. It stood fully erect, the light shine of the eyes were almost gold, it reacted to the light hitting its eyes like a person would, by throwing it's forearm up in front of its face, let out a chilling sound (not a grunt, more like a short howl) unlike anything any of us had heard, it then turned and fled, vanishing like before. All of that happened in just seconds and all four of us witnessed it. We immediately packed up our gear, went to a motel and stayed at the motel until the job was finished. Three of us later went to the FL fish and wildlife office and reported what we had seen. It was during that report when I first heard the term "skunk ape" or even that there had been other sightings of this type. I can honestly tell you, without any doubt, it was not mistaken identity. I grew up as a hunter and outdoorsman and I know what bears look like and also how they act in the wild, it was not a bear, it was definately a primate of some type. Till this day I am effected by the encounters.
OTHER WITNESSES: 4, working/camping
OTHER STORIES: Only after reporting.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: First encounter was early dawn, misty morning. Second was pitch dark, early night.
ENVIRONMENT: Remote, swamp, forest. Wekiva river Basin.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator R. Monteith:
The witness - a Manager, and his crew was contracted to put up a barbed wire fence that facilitated the owners of the property for hunting. Because the fence was so large the men decided to camp on the property for a week’s time. The first day was uneventful, but that night a noise described as a “squealing whoop” was heard at dusk. After some discussion, the men could not identify the animal sound and it was forgotten. The next day all the equipment arrived and camp was set up. The second day, they woke up early and began to clear an area for the fence posts. While they were running a string, they smelled a foul “sulphury- musky “smell and joked, blaming each other for the smell. Shortly after that, the Manager and another worker noticed what they thought was a fellow worker about 60 yards away standing in the tree line. They yelled out to him and quickly realized it wasn't one of them. The bipedal individual looked at them when they yelled, and walked out of the tree line into a better view. It was about 6 feet in height and stood initially with its hands placed on its chest, so the elbows were sticking out. This enabled them to see that the hair on its arms hung several inches long. The coloring of the creature was brownish-red. When it dropped its arms to its side, they hung past the knees. It turned and looked at them: its face was described as long and “ape-like,” but with a human nose. Its face appeared darker than its body. (Witness was unsure if it was skin or hair that made it appear darker.) It then walked away with purpose, and he noticed it had a protruding forehead, a short neck and it seemed to have a “hunched back.” It walked back into the trees and just camouflaged right into it. The Manager assumed at first that a gorilla must have escaped. The worker, a South American native said out loud, “El viejo hombre de las montañas!” - “It is the old man of the mountains!” He had heard of a bigfoot type legend from his native country, Columbia.
Both men being of the outdoor type, went fearlessly to investigate. They found a game trail where it had come from and returned to. The odor they had smelled earlier was stronger there, and they could hear something moving away from them.
They shared the story with the others and continued working. One worker in particular took pleasure in the continuation of teasing them about “the Wildman". Three nights later during dinner, a splash was heard. One of the men investigated and had found that the cooler full of cold cuts they had tied to a tree was gone. The cooler had been placed in the river to keep it cool. They looked and found no trace of the rope or cooler. Thinking a bear, alligator or raccoon would have chewed the rope and destroyed the cooler, they thought it odd there was no trace of either anywhere. It seemed something had untied the rope and took both. After dinner, at camp the particular worker that had teased them walked out of camp to do his business near the river’s edge. When he returned, the Manager claimed he was very quiet and looked as if he’d seen a ghost. It was clear to all something had happened. He quietly said, “I will never make fun of you guys again. There is someone out there, on the other side of the creek.” The men grabbed flash lights, and began to smell the odor again as they were lead to the spot. From across the Blackwater Creek (about 15 feet across) they saw a dark bipedal figure. The flashlights returned orange/red eye shine. The creature put its forearm up, attempting to block the light and let out a very deep, loud, guttural noise. The Manager described the noise as deeper than a wild boar. The creature backed away from the light and disappeared into the woods. The sulphur type odor hung in the air.
At that time, the men agreed to pack up the camp and go to a hotel. They didn’t want to spend the night with the strange creature so close. The next morning they returned, and found human like, but smeared foot prints.
Later, three of the men spoke to a Fish and Wildlife officer. He was the person who suggested they had seen a Skunk Ape. Up until that time none of the men had heard that term before.
This encounter occurred near the Seminole Forest WMA , Seminole State Forest and Wekiva River basin. These areas run together and create over 12,000 acres of swamp, scrub, pine woods and springs. It has an abundance of all types of native wildlife. An area very near this encounter is under continued investigation by BFRO.
About BFRO Investigator R. Monteith:
Re Monteith has had a life-long interest in Bigfoot and has an extensive background in outdoor land and ocean survival as well as mountaineering. She has tran-sailed the Atlantic, backpacked in remote places throughout the world and has climbed three of the seven summits. She studied International Relations at Florida International University, and is a Financial and Real Estate Consultant. She has participated in many private expeditions as well as the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 BFRO North Florida Expeditions and the 2013 BFRO UP Michigan & Alabama Expedition. She also organized Florida's 2017 Town Hall Meeting. She was an Executive Producer of the documentary film, "Skunk Ape Lives" and featured as a Crypto Expert on The Science Channel's television show, Strange Evidence for seasons 2 - 5.