Cryptid Profile: Mogollon Monster
In 1903, I.W. Stevens told the The Arizona Republican newspaper that he came across an unknown creature near the Grand Canyon. Stevens described the creature (which he called “the wild man of the rocks”) as having long and matted white hair on its head and a long white matted beard that grew down to its knees. It also appeared to have gray hair covering a majority of its body. He came upon it while it was kneeling over a recently killed cougar and eating the meat of the dead animal. Even though Stevens reported being extremely still and quiet while watching the creature, it appears that creature became well aware of his presence when it quickly turned, locked eyes onto Stevens and let out “the wildest, most unearthly screech you could imagine.” This display of anger from the creature caused Stevens to take off out of the canyon and head for the safety of home.
The range in which the monster was first sighted is known as the Mogollon Rim, and it is this location that had given the creature its new name, The Mogollon Monster. But the creature appears to travel and has been sighted around Prescott, Williams, Alpine, and Clifton Arizona. The majority of the sightings occur in the Ponderosa pine forests of the area. Sightings of the ape-man like creatures are reported as going back to the early 1800’s when settlers of the area started having run ins with the monster in the canyons and forests of the region. Local Native Americans within the region have also long told stories about big hairy men who lived within the forests and canyons. But one of the biggest reports of the monster comes from the mid-1940’s encounter during an overnight Boy Scout trip.
Don Davis (who would go on to become a Cryptozoologist) was 13yrs old at the time of the encounter and a member of the scout troop that was camping. Davis stated that his troop were camping near Tonto Creek when something woke him and some other boys up late in the night. It sounded like someone was rummaging around and going through everyone’s stuff. Davis, thinking it was another boy, yelled out for the scout to stop and go back to bed when the intruder stopped and turned in his direction. The unknown visitor approached Davis (who was in his sleeping bag) and stopped above him, standing directly over his sleeping bag. This terrifying unknown creature caused Davis to pull his sleeping bag up over his head and hope the monster would leave him alone. Eventually, the monster lost interest in the scouts makeshift campsite and took off back into the wilderness. Davis reported an extremely strong and terrible odor coming from the creature and described features that many other witnesses have spotted.
The Mogollon Monster is described as standing around 7ft tall and being very large in overall body build. It’s body is covered in black or reddish hair that is noticeably long and matted. The face, hands, chest, and feet appear to be without hair and showing a dark skin tone. The hair of the creatures also appear to turn dark gray as they age. The head is almost “square like” and the eyes are set deep in the skull under a large brow. The upper arms of the creature are said to be very large (appearing to be 6in in diameter) and they hang down to the knees. Like most ape-men sightings, the feet are said to be huge, tracks left by the creature measure around 22in long. It takes gigantic, inhuman strides and sways its arms as it walks, it seems to have no problem with different types of terrain. The odor the creature produces is said to smell like that of a dead fish mixed with a skunk and bad body odor. It also appears to be omnivorous and can be extremely territorial, it is not afraid to aggressively approach people to make them leave its claimed area.
Many campers and hikers in the area of the Mogollon Rim claim that the Mogollon Monster has ventured into their camp during the night and rummaged their personal belongings. It rips open bags, tosses furniture, knocks over tents, and steals food. While walking and hiking the trails in the area, people have had stones thrown at them from within the forest and have heard loud screams and sounds that almost sound like a “woman or man in great distress.” Along with the reported loud shrieking/screaming sounds, people have also heard howling, whoops, whistles, and wood knocking coming from within the woods. These are all common reports and signs of communication between ape-men.
Members of the White Mountain Apache Nation have also had many encounters with the creature. In 2006, Collette Altaha was quoted as saying, “…there have been more sightings than ever before. It cannot be ignored any longer.” Another member of the Nation by the name of Marjorie Grimes had her own encounter along one of the roads that goes through Whiteriver (the primary town in the area), she is quoted as saying; “It was all black and it was tall! The way it walked, it was taking big strides. I put on the brakes and raced back and looked between the two trees where it was, and it was gone!” The Tribal police are also well aware of the creatures presence, police Ray Burnette is quoted as saying; “A couple of times they’ve seen this creature looking through the windows. They’re scared when they call.”
Sightings of the creature are not as prevalent as the reports of its pacific northwest cousin, but they do continue to happen. In 2014, a 28yr old woman was hiking through the Canyon Point Trail when she came across an extremely odd looking creature on its knees drinking water. Curious as to what the creature was, she decided to try and take a photo of it. When she reached into her bag to grab her camera, the creature quickly turned its head in her direction and stared directly at her. Now, extremely frightened by the large unknown creature staring directly at her, she began to try and scare the creature off, she started waving her arms and yelling as loud as she could. The creature then stood up onto its two legs and took off running into the canyon. The woman described the creature as having a human looking face with no hair on it, a thick nose, small lips, brown-red eyes and a body covered in hair.
So what is this creature? A majority of people believe that the Mogollon Monster is a local sasquatch. It appears to have all the commonly described features and traits of other reported ape-men within North America. But other people do not appear to agree with that belief. Scientists claim that it is not possible for a large hominid to remain hidden in this area of the country. They believe a majority of the sightings are a result of hoaxes carried out by other individuals or simple misidentification. The species that are to blame for misidentification most of the time are mountain lions, coyotes, big horn sheep, mule deer and elk. Others point out that up until the late 1930’s, grizzly bears use to frequent the forests of Arizona. Could this be what witnesses are seeing, a large grizzly standing on two legs? Have a small population of grizzlies returned to Arizona? It certainly wouldn’t be expected to come across a large grizzly bear while hiking a canyon, the shock alone of turning the corner and seeing this large hairy animal would cause anyone to instantly turn and run for their lives. The quick encounter could lead anyone to muddle up the memory of the day and because of that, the out of place animal has now become a monster.
But what about the honest and trustworthy people who clearly get a look at a creature that resembles a large human looking ape? What are we to make of their reports. There have been enough of them that people are clearly seeing something in the canyon area. But that simply brings the subject back around to its beginning, what is it?
- The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Google