May 07, 2018
I imagine there is a part of you that so badly wishes Bigfoot to be real.
I do too. It's a desire you can probably credit to the dwindling list of true mysteries left on Earth – the hope that something, that is by all scientific accounts a myth, actually exists. It's why stories about reported sightings of Sasquatch are so enticing, and it's why when news stories pop up about the creature of folklore being spotted in South Jersey, we can't resist.
Tricia and her husband David were driving in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in early April — specifically, in the Brendan T. Byrne Forest in Ocean County — when they decided to stop and take their dog for a walk near a pond, according to the sighting reported to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.
David smelled a strange "musty mildew odor" which "kind of freaked my husband out," Tricia wrote in the report. They went back to the car and drove away, turning onto Buckingham Whiting Road in the middle of the forest, stopping at a bridge so Tricia could take pictures.
They started driving off, and that's when Tricia claims she saw it:
I am driving and in a split second I saw something brown on 2 legs and about 6 feet tall sprint behind the car in the area we were just in. I caught it in my rear view mirror. I was kind of thinking to myself that my eyes were playing tricks on me but I just couldn't shake it. I stopped the car and husband told me to go in reverse. As we approached the area he thought he heard branches snapping and a splash into the water. He didn't see anything so we drove on.
Tricia wrote that despite not seeing anything upon driving back, she had heard something underneath the car while she was driving. David checked under the vehicle and didn't see anything, theorizing that maybe whatever she saw was giving her a warning.
The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization bills itself as "the most credible and respected investigative network involved in the study of [Bigfoot]." If there's a news article about a reported Bigfoot sighting or a study casting doubt on the existence of Bigfoot, there's a good chance someone with BFRO is interviewed in it.
Tricia's report was classified as a Class B sighting by BFRO, which means a there wasn't a clear view of the possible Bigfoot but it was still a first-hand account.
BFRO investigator Eric Spinner followed up with Tricia's report, conducting a phone interview with her and even meeting with the couple at the spot of the sighting to try and recreate what Tricia saw.
The mildewy smell can probably be attributed to the elevated iron content in the soil, Spinner wrote, and after spending a couple hours in the area investigating, he didn't report finding any hair, tracks or other evidence.
In their recreation of the sighting, Spinner played Dave while Dave played Bigfoot. Here's how that went:
After checking for potential track ways, we did a recreation of the incident, with me as the passenger, and Dave would try to leap across the road. Art [another BFRO investigator] remained back with Dave, as Tricia and I drove down the road to where she glanced in her rearview. Dave could barely make it halfway across the road, but he is having some issues with his ankle. She also noticed that his height was close to that of the creature, so that would put the height of the individual around 6ft to 6.5ft tall. The clearance from the creature to the ground was greater than when Dave tried to leap, and Dave was much slower as well.
Spinner doesn't come to any definitive conclusion about the sighting. He did write that he found Tricia and Dave to be credible, noting that Tricia wasn't a "believer" before the incident but now isn't sure what to believe.
The New York Post article about the sighting is predictably dismissive and snarky ("Why did the 'Sasquach' (sic) cross the road? To give us another reason to make fun of the Garden State.") But who can really say for sure what Tricia and Dave saw in the woods? It's probably more fun to never know and let it remain a mystery.