A listener writes “I am originally from Miami, Florida. I lived with my grandparents in Clewiston, Florida which is right by lake Okeechobee. They lived in an unincorporated community called pioneer which is about 23 miles from Clewiston. And about 80 miles from Big Cypress preserve.
A very rural part of the country indeed. I was about 10 at the time the encounter. It occurred during the summer time. So bearing this in mind many of the canals in the area were low of water. My grandparents owned a couple of acres of land, so they were far apart from neighbors. I loved being outside trying to find different animals and trying to catch black racers, rat snakes, and different turtles in the area. The surrounding area around the property were full of palmettos which were towered by evergreen trees. I would like the fence in the back of the property to go catch reptiles. I walked a half a mile deep in the woods and hit a small dry creek bed, which is where I found different animals from time to time. The creek extended to about a mile which fed into a canal. As I was looking for reptiles heard the brush move from across the creek bed. I was used to rustling in the wood, so I didn’t pay attention until I saw something step out from the brush out of the corner of my eye. What I am about to tell you still haunts me to this very day. What stepped out was 7 ft tall ape looking thing. Its fur was a deep reddish brown. It was almost boxy in shape with legs longer than its body. It almost seemed designed to live in the swamp. I just froze. I knew it would not be wise to run through this brush.
So I did something that learned from years of watching nature documentaries. I crouched down and pretended I was eating leaves. I remember seeing a documentary about Diane Fosse, and I recalled she would do this as to not provoke the silverback. I was too scared to do anything else, and whatever I was doing was keeping me alive. Every so often I would glance up at it, and it was just standing there tensely examining me. It would also look back and forth almost over me almost to assure I was alone all the while making a huffing sound. The only thing separating us was a dry creek bed. Which may have been 15 ft of space. It was doing this for about 3 minutes, but it felt an eternity. Then that’s when it went down on its haunches and squatted. I felt the courage to raise my head and look at it. We were just examining each other. At this time I noticed it was female due to the breasts. I also noticed at the time that she wasn’t alone. I saw small arm draped over her shoulder. We just kept looking at each other for about another 5 minutes. The whole time my body was telling me to run. Like some primordial instinct saying danger, but my mind remained extremely calm. At the same time I was expecting to smell a stench, but none ever came.
I only thought this because I have heard what a skunk ape was and heard the stench they exude, but she wasn’t smelly. After five minutes she reached behind her never taking her eyes off me the whole time and held her baby. It was looking at me with intent. Examining me like its mother. It couldn’t have been more than a month old. It was kind of small but bigger and more advanced than a human infant. She must have given birth to it last month. I felt as if she was teaching her baby what a human was, but at the time I think she may have been confused what I was considering my skin is dark brown like hers and I had long curly black hair. While she was holding her baby, I could notice scars on her face. I figured she was old. Never did she bare her teeth at all during this encounter. About 6 minutes later she stood up and turned her body, slung her baby on her back, and stared down the creek bed when I noticed a bigger one of these things was standing 50 feet away. He was staring directly at me with disgust. This one bared his teeth at me.
He looked kind of like Caesar in rise of the planet of the apes only taller and more muscular. He may have been half a foot to a foot taller than her. I noticed the stench and she also began to reek of this smell. I can only describe it as hot garbage, and dead animals mixed into a vat. I later concluded maybe they only smelled when they’re stressed, or angry. They both started to puff up. Meaning that they were trying to make themselves bigger than they were. The female then positioned herself between me and the male. As if to almost protecting me. Maybe it was all those motherly hormones in her that told her this. The standoff lasted for maybe at least two minutes. Then the male walked back in to the brush on the side where the female came out of. She then without looking back at me began to make her way back in the brush as well. I think she was making sure that male didn’t follow me, I have no idea. I turned to leave very quickly and didn’t turn back till I was back inside the house. I never went back in the woods ever again behind my grandparent’s property. I tried telling my mom what happened, but my mom was more of a city woman, so she did not believe me. That really hurt me. I did however tell my grandma what I saw, and she simply said, “I believe you”. I never knew if they had any encounters with them considering none of them ever came on the property.”