Location: Florida/Alabama state line
As a Young Man I grew up in a small town in northern Florida or you could also say Southern Alabama because our town limit sign was also the Alabama state line. It was a small town of no more than 4500 people, Graceville Florida.
One of my grandfathers was a preacher in the town and the other owned a small fruit farm which my mother, father and two other siblings and I lived on as well. We had about 14 different kinds of fruit and nuts on the farm, as a matter of fact, we had the largest muscadine vine in Northwest Florida which the local grocery store used to purchase from us to sell them their produce department.
Other people would buy them from us directly mostly Moonshiners or others that wanted to make wine. Now that I’m done with explaining my geographical area I will get on with the story. We lived off of a small two-lane Highway. Being a small town most of the roads weren’t paved except for the ones going through town and leading perpendicular out of town.
Across the highway from our property was a huge swamp called Mill Creek Pond. My father grew up there fishing because he lived on the farm all of his life and just as well would take my brother and I fishing there with my grandfather. Not many people would go down there and I always wondered why we never seen anyone else there, never!
We would take the old Jon Boat, of course, you couldn’t use anything but paddles they are because of the lily pads. Even a trolling motor would get hung up so as you can see this was a real swamp full of cypress trees, which was beautiful by the way. My family were people who loved to hunt, and as you may know, they passed it down to me.
My grandfather even own hound dogs, blue ticks a lot of the food we ate was from hunting and we also raised ducks, so as you can see we were what most people call Country Folk. I got my first shotgun at 5 years old, Revolution 410. Not to offend anyone so understand we didn’t hunt for sport we hunted to survive. It got to me so deep by the age of 10 that my father wouldn’t let me take my gun out on my own so he bought me an air rifle.
That was common for most kids to have where we lived, it’s still 177 caliber which almost packs the same punch as of 22 rifle. I was a loner for the most part except for my little brother following me around everywhere I went except when I went to go out into the woods hunting with my air rifle. By the way I taught by my grandfather to be an expert shot. So at times I would bring home squirrels and doves that was my main objective for hunting.
We were never allowed to stay out after dark and I always wondered why and soon I’ll find out. It was about dusk one night and about time for me to come home and I was roaming out and about in the woods around the farm, I knew them like the back of my hand.
I was being quiet and sitting still watching a squirrel jump through the tree line, squirrel I noticed was going through the tree line like it was being chased, and then all the sudden I realized how quiet it was all around me, it was a quiet that I realized even as a 10-year-old boy that something wasn’t right.
Off in the distance, I heard something that sounded like a baby cry. I’m not talking about a baby deer whining it sounded actually like a baby crying. remember I’m deep in the woods, and this was very unsettling to me. It might sound funny but it froze me I did not move.
This went on for about a minute and it got quiet again still I heard no other sounds in the woods and that squirrel was long gone. Being dusk I knew I had to get home soon or I’d be in trouble and I thought about getting up to walk through the woods to go home and that’s when it happened. There was a loud scream and it was terrifying.
It sounded like a woman that was shocked incomplete horror. Almost like a cry for help. It was only one scream but it rattled me to the Core as you could probably understand a 10 year old boy in the woods alone.
I did not move I knew which direction it came from and I kept my eyes peeled in that direction. After about 10 minutes I’m not hearing anything I don’t know if it was fear or common sense, but I got up and ran as fast as I could until I hit the tree line and from that point got on the dirt road leading home and I never slowed down till I got home.
When I walked in my father could tell something was wrong and he asked me so I told him exactly what I heard. He brushed It off and blamed it on the Wildcats in the area. now I was only 10 years old and had been in those woods all my life and I had never heard a sound like that, there was something I wasn’t being told. Well being on a farm I was always wondering around.
I also had a horse named Popcorn and he was my best bud. My morning chores before school consisted of feeding the ducks and my horse. this was just the very next morning as I was doing my chores it was barely daylight I was standing in the horse corral feeding my horse and that scream happened again.
I’m not talking about a holler I’m talking about a blood-curdling scream. This time I didn’t freeze knowing that the house was only about 50 yards from me. I was mortified and I couldn’t pay attention in class all day, but I will have to say above the fear my curiosity had gotten the best of me.
At this point in my life I had never heard the word Bigfoot or as in Florida, they call him skunk ape. so that afternoon when I got home as always I would grab my air rifle and take off to the woods.
That afternoon I went right back to where I heard the first scream feeling safer because I came there in the afternoon it was about 3:30. I guess I thought in my mind the daylight was my friend and I didn’t have much of a fear. I heard nothing that afternoon.
It was a Friday so we had the whole weekend to do what we wanted to do. As I said earlier we lived off of a two-lane Highway with dirt roads going off to the side where everybody lived.
Northwest from my property was the dirt road that my best friend Steve lived on and we had worked it out to where I was going to spend the night at his house that night. We were mischievious boys always into something and we would roam the woods around his house as well.
You have to remember he was across the highway and their property backed up to the swamp. we had fun that Friday night doing what we did this was around 1981 and video games were not what kids did then. Steve told me that he had seen an old man in the woods.
This really struck my curiosity because we see nobody in those woods where we live. Steve always had a wild imagination so I kind of chalked it up to that and left it there. Saturday we grabbed our air rifles and headed out, I liked hunting with him because he was quiet like me, he was taught to hunt the way I was and he was serious like me.
It may seem childish but we Hunted with our air rifles just as serious as we did with our shotguns.
Anyway, we were about 300 yards into the property away from the house walking through the pine tree grove and on that particular day looking for squirrels. We wood walk about 20 yards and stop to see if we could hear anything moving around in the trees. Our plan was I would watch the trees and he would watch the ground squirrels.
I was in the lead and Steve following, when I stopped to look around in the Treetops and Steve scanning the brush after about 30 seconds he dropped straight to the ground on his belly. I immediately thought this was not normal we always stood up to shoot.
So I followed suit and lay down right beside him and he was breathing so hard it made me nervous. I whispered to him what is wrong and I noticed he would not take his eyes off of what he was looking at to answer me. he slowly lifted his hand and pointed through the woods and quietly whispering the old man.
At first, I couldn’t see what he was looking at but I didn’t say a word I just kept scanning through the woods, then it happened I had seen movement. It was so camouflaged, unlike most people and their story this is different, sitting there on a fallen pine tree was the biggest man-shaped figure almost like someone wearing a ghillie suit.
It felt like all the blood in my body drained out the bottom of my feet. my mind went blank and I don’t think I’ve ever been so still in my life. For about 10 seconds we stared at this thing that I now know was Bigfoot but Steve referred to him as the old man. He was Gray and brown now that I’m older and think about it this one must have been older in age.
After about 10 seconds Steve got up and took off running back towards the house and I froze still laying on the ground. as I said he was sitting on a pine tree and he was looking the other way and I never seen his face but when Steve took off running it got his attention. when he turned sideways to look in the direction of Steve running I seen his face.
This is very taxing to relive this, it was not so much a cone shaped head it was more or less round with a slight peak and no shoulders because I noticed when he looked in the direction of Steve running he had to turn his whole body.
His face was more human and as most people say ape-like, no, his nose was slightly flat but that was the only feature I focused on except for the fact there no hair on it’s central face. you have to remember this all happened within 30 seconds.
Steve takes off, I’m still laying there, the old man, Bigfoot, turns around and I see him look and Steve’s directions, he still has no idea I’m laying there and I have one thought going through my head, I’m getting the hell out of here.
I get up and with everything I had, fear and adrenaline started cutting my own path through the woods. I guess I had been running for about 5 seconds or so and then it all made sense, that scream, the one I had heard hunting, in the horse corral, and to say the least not a wildcat as my Dad tried to tell me. we both made it back to the property and stood there in shock with each other both of us pale and terrified.
We made a pact to never tell anybody what happened and until now I have never told anyone including my Own family. I never crossed that Highway again, not to fish,hunt,or anything. I now live in North Carolina near the Uwharrie Forest and that’s a whole different story. it feels so good to get this off of my shoulders. Thanks, Robert.
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