Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Long Island Bigfoot Report #8

This post is a guest post by researcher Karl Sup and part of a series. The entire series can be found on the right hand side in the favorites posts (LINK).

Long Island Sasquatch #8 

Central Long Island, New York (City Withheld), June 2016

The springtime had been a very exciting time of hiking and researching in the woods (see reports #6 and #7), and I truly looked forward to the longer days and good weather. The forest was now cloaked in a full canopy and the undergrowth and even some of the trees bloomed in proliferation. Monday, June 6th was the first day I was able to get into the woods.

The ferns were particularly lush and dense. In May they were just barely breaking through the forest floor. Moss was abundant on rock outcroppings and fallen trees and stumps. Traces of fall leaves still graced the nooks and crannies of the forest, but winter was now but a dim memory. I traversed the trails throughout the woods until dusk but didn’t notice any ground glyphs like I did in April and May (see Report #7). 

Overall, it was a beautiful hike but there was no obvious evidence or interaction. I hiked until dusk and headed off to dinner. The next few days saw rain and a busy work schedule, so I didn’t get a chance to return before I left that week. In fact, with a short excursion to Iowa for a family wedding, I didn’t return to New York until Wednesday, June 22nd, when I was allocated to work ten days straight on Long Island. For this over-the-weekend trip, I decided to bring my HS-324 FLIR Command thermal camera to stay out late and do some night investigating. 

I also decided to head east on Long Island to research some other sites that were of interest to me. This was based on ‘haunted woods’ reports that I had reviewed for all of Long Island at a far earlier date. As specific as I will get, all of these research sites were in Suffolk County. Nassau County, while it does have some natural areas, has a higher population per acre than Suffolk County. Cursory on-site research done in Nassau County revealed no evidence, even though many areas appear to have ideal habitat. I believe it’s just too congested.

On Saturday the 25th, I headed out on the 495 east toward the far end of the island to research the specific area I had pinpointed. Later I planned to head to Greenport, NY for a well-deserved lobster roll and crab cake. 

I pulled up to the forest preserve and found myself to be the only car in the parking lot. I surmised everyone else was out boating or fishing on Long Island Sound this beautiful day. I hiked a loop trail on the west side of the preserve, but didn’t find any collateral or obvious signs of Sasquatch. The eastern trails were far more productive.

It didn’t take long before I came across an inhabitant of these woods… a female Eastern Box Turtle. She seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere and didn’t seem to mind my intrusion until later. Their shells are remarkable with intricate design. 

I continued hiking down an overgrown trail that eventually turned into an old overgrown service road. Just to the east I found a single tire and a racquetball in the middle of the woods within 6 feet of each other. 

Further down this abandoned road I found the first tree break in these woods. It was very purposeful and was blocking the old road from any vehicle access. The break was about 5 feet from the ground, and the trunk. I have run into tree breaks many times in Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Georgia and now New York that will block trails and restrict or deter access to specific areas. 

Sometimes it is a natural tree fall blocking the path. On one particular old logging road in Arizona, the tree actually fell unnaturally uphill. Once I traversed around the tree break I found three prints in the forest litter on that road. Rather large prints I might add; estimated at 17 or 18 inches. None of them were cast-able, but the three prints bisected the path at a 45 degree angle with a 68-inch measurement from heel to heel.

Typically, when I find prints like this, they rarely follow the trail but instead, cross it. The forest litter was pressed firmly into the ground and broken from weight. When I stepped in the leaves to recreate these prints, I didn't make nearly the impact nor the damage these prints exhibited. It was a left and right print, with a partial print (assumed left, based on the trackway).

Locating prints like these can be very difficult and easily passed over if you’re not vigilant and observant. Once you find a single footprint like this, determine the direction of that print and (depending on the foot size) look between 50-80 inches before and after that print. Subsequent prints may be extremely subtle and can only be located using this method. Using that technique, I once located a 17-print track way of 15 inch footprints. Once the stride is determined between the first and second print, it becomes easier to locate them. In this instance, only two full prints and one partial were located.

Further down the trail, two more trees blocked my way. The largest trunk was pushed over with the rotted root ball attached. The smaller trunk did not have corresponding stump, and had been brought to that location. Another 100 yards later I found another set of double tree trunks blocking the road. This time, the larger trunk had been placed there from a location unknown. The smaller tree was still alive, and had been pushed down from its location on the edge of the road. I estimated that it had been pushed down within the past two years. There were no prints or ground disturbances nearby. 

About 40 feet past this blockage, 60 feet off the trail, was another small tree break. 

The old road finally ended 800 yards later at the pavement that bisected it and bordered an exclusive housing development. I turned around and returned to the forest preserve. Along the way back, I ran into another forest inhabitant, a very active small Eastern Garter snake.

It was about that time that I encountered something on Long Island that I had never encountered before: TICKS! They were only wood ticks, but my legs were crawling with 40-50 of them. After a brief 15 minute intermission for inspection, picking, plucking and swiping; I felt I was finally tick free but stayed vigilant the remainder of the day.

I became a little paranoid, as Lyme disease is a serious infection that attacks the immune system and can cause paralysis, encephalitis and meningitis. The first symptom is a red circular skin rash at the bite site, which subsides after a week or two followed by a high temperature, muscle pain and joint swelling.

It is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, found in the digestive systems of animals like as mice, pheasants and deer. When a tick bites an animal carrying this bacteria, they can become infected with it. The tick can transfer the bacteria to a human by biting and attaching itself to a person's skin. Lyme disease is transmitted only if the tick remains attached for more than 36 hours. Although you may think it easy to tell if a tick was on your body, they are only a few millimeters in size and do not hurt, so are easy to miss. I found one that I missed the next morning! Be very careful out in the woods and always double check yourself!

After my creepy-crawly scare, I made a turn on a path that headed east past the tire and ball and ended up in a large, bare area of the woods that was well over an acre of sand and fine gravel. I traversed this area looking for prints, but found nothing really conclusive. I was getting hot and sweaty and decided to start back for the car. I hooked up with a trail to the south and continued on that path. After getting back into the dense woods and heading west about 1000 feet, I thought I could hear some additional footfalls to the south of me. I instantly recalled the ‘haunted’ story that brought me to this location in the first place.

"It is said the spirit of an old man still lurks about the woods. Visitors have reported hearing footsteps and growling, as well as the sensation of being watched and followed.”

I stopped walking and listened. Sure enough, one additional step was taken. I repeated this three more times with the same results. At my last stop, I gave out a little whoop! No response came back from the woods. 

I got out my FLIR, but couldn’t see any heat anomalies through the dense woods. I let out another little whoop, then started speaking words that had previously been recorded of conversations between Sasquatch in Texas and Oklahoma (audio below). No response again was heard after 10 minutes of attempted communication. I raised my hand and said ‘Friend’, then continued west on the path. I didn’t hear additional footfalls anymore as the trail turned toward the southeast and began to rise toward the parking lot. 

audio of Karl Sup's calls and words utilized in the woods in hopes of a reaction

Once I got to the top of the hill, I stopped for a breather and to listen again. I didn’t hear anything for a minute, then a quick, successive three-hit rock clack to the northeast of my position in the same direction the footfalls were before. I took my pack off and said, ‘REALLY?’ and picked up two rocks and clacked them in two series of three, with a long pause in between to listen. Without any response, I once again raised my hand and said ‘Friend!’ and finished the hike out to the parking lot.

Once I got to the rental car, I took off my pack and thermal camera and put my phone on the charger. I grabbed a water bottle to rinse my hands and face. While I was pouring out the water, I was startled by a howl from the woods. It was a mimic of a dog howl, and sounded like ‘Ahhhh-oooooo wooo wooo ahhh-wooooooo’. It was such a horrible imitation that I started laughing out loud, and repeated the howl back (audio above). It was close enough that you could hear the wind passing over its lips. I waited for a reply to my howl back, but didn’t get any further communication. Once again, I raised my hand and said, ‘Friend’ then got into the car and drove off east.

I still ponder why it had chosen to communicate in this fashion. In replaying the events in my mind, I must assume that no one had ever 1) communicated back in a fashion familiar; 2) talked to it; 3) showed no fear. Whatever the case, I felt honored to have experienced that. I wasn’t able to return to this location again, but I will certainly never forget it!

I headed east past potato farms that were now wineries, to the sleepy little town of Greenport for some dinner. Sitting out on the dock of the restaurant, looking south toward Shelter Island was a much needed respite. 

The cool winds off the water and watching sailboats pass by are one of the things I love most about Long Island.

On the way back, I stopped by beautiful Lake Ronkonkoma to investigate what I could in the waning daylight. Lake Ronkonkoma is Long Island's biggest and deepest lake; it measures about 70 feet at its deepest point. 

Myths and legends surround the history of the lake. The most prevalent legend is about Princess Ronkonkoma, an Indian princess who died at the lake in the mid-1600s. One version of the story is that she was walking across the ice one winter when she met and fell in love with an English woodcutter who lived across the lake. However her father, chief of the Setauket tribe, forbade their relationship. After all those years of being kept apart from her love, she rowed to the middle of the lake and stabbed herself to death. 

I'm not certain that a vengeful princess spirit is out there waiting to drown you, but there is no denying that Lake Ronkonkoma is one of Long Island's most whispered-about points of interest. 

Nearby I also investigated a chain of small lakes in Ronkonkoma County Park preserve where people have reported hearing the sounds of a girl screaming, presumably from a woman who was raped and left for dead by her friends. Also there are claims of a bright glowing light throughout the park; presumably the spirit of that woman that still haunts the grounds of the park. There have also been claims of hearing Indian chanting from a distance. People have also claimed to have seen shadow people here as well. Any one of these paranormal claims could be attributed to Sasquatch. 

I didn’t have much time before darkness enveloped the park. In my short excursion there, I didn’t find any markers or evidence of Bigfoot in the area. The preserve was ideal habitat though. I did find beauty, however, in a solitary swan feeding on a pond that was smooth as glass. Sometimes it’s the small things in life that allow you to reflect and contemplate. Three days later, it would get very interesting....

-More to come on Karl's next installment-

Karl Sup is a software architect, developer and analyst, and an avid Bigfoot researcher working in the mountains of Arizona for many years. During this research and in other states including New York, Maryland, Iowa, Missouri, Georgia and Wisconsin, he has been fortunate enough to interact with and view multiple subjects over the years. Karl also has had decades of audio analysis and editing experience, and assisted in helping M.K. Davis clean up and enhance audio from VHS tapes he had been studying and discovered the presence of infrasound within those recordings.

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