Mogollon Monster

The Mogollon (/mʌɡɪˈjn/ or /mɡəˈjn/)[1] Monster, also known as the Arizona Bigfoot,[2] is purported to be an ape-like creature, similar to descriptions of Bigfoot, reported to dwell in central and eastern Arizona along the Mogollon Rim.[3]

Mogollon Monster Wood Carving


The Mogollon Monster is commonly described as a large bipedal creature, over 7 feet (2 m) tall with large, red eyes. Its body is said to be covered with long black or reddish brown hair, with the exclusion of the chest, face, hands and feet.[4] Reports claim it has a strong and pungent odor described as that of "dead fish, a skunk with bad body odor, decaying peat moss and the musk of a snapping turtle".[5]

Anecdotal reports indicate the creature is allegedly nocturnal, omnivorous, territorial and sometimes violent.[4] It is generally reported to: walk with wide, inhuman strides; leave behind footprints measuring 560 millimetres (22 in);[5] mimic birds, coyotes and other wildlife; emit unusual whistle sounds; explore campsites after dark; build nests out of pine needles, twigs, and leaves; and hurl stones from locations that are hidden from view. The creature has also been said to decapitate deer and other wildlife prior to consumption.[6] In numerous reports, the monster has been said to emit a "blood-curdling" scream; described as sounding like a woman in "great distress".[4] Accounts of the creature describe an "eerie silence prior to the encounter, an appreciable stillness in the woods that commonly surrounds predatory animals".[5]


The majority of Mogollon Monster sightings are said to occur in the Ponderosa pine forests of the Mogollon Rim.[4][5]

Reported sightings range along Arizona's Mogollon Rim, from Prescott north to Williams, southeast to Alpine, south to Clifton, and northwest back to Prescott.[4][5]

The oldest known reported sighting was in the 1903 edition of The Arizona Republican, in which I.W. Stevens described a creature seen near the Grand Canyon as having "long white hair and matted beard that reached to his knees. It wore no clothing, and upon his talon-like fingers were claws at least two inches long." Upon further inspection he noted "a coat of gray hair nearly covered his body, with here and there a spot of dirty skin showing." He later stated that after he discovered the creature drinking the blood of two cougars, it threatened him with a club, and "screamed the wildest, most unearthly screech".[5]

Cryptozoologist Don Davis reported that during the mid-1940s he was on a Boy Scout trip near Payson, Arizona, and gave the following account, "The creature was huge. Its eyes were deep set and hard to see, but they seemed expressionless. His face seemed pretty much devoid of hair, but there seemed to be hair along the sides of his face. His chest, shoulders, and arms were massive, especially the upper arms; easily upwards of 6 inches in diameter, perhaps much, much more. I could see he was pretty hairy, but didn't observe really how thick the body hair was. The face/head was very square; square sides and squared up chin, like a box".[7] Marjorie Grimes, a Whiteriver, Arizona resident, claimed to have sighted the creature a number of times between 1982 and 2004. She described the creature as black, tall, and walking in big strides.

A number of people on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation also claimed to have seen the creature.[8]


Professor emeritus of biology, Stan Lindstedt, of Northern Arizona University, dismisses the idea that a large humanoid creature would remain hidden in such a large area of the country. "I put that in the category of mythology that can certainly make our culture interesting, but has nothing to do with science."[9]

Generally the scientific community attributes creature sightings to either hoaxes or misidentification. As recently as the early 1930s, grizzly bears roamed the forests of Arizona.[10] Other large mammals such as black bears, mountain lions and elk may also account for sightings.

Popular cultureEdit

The Mogollon Monster has become an object of Arizona folklore.[11] One such story involves Arizona pioneer, Sam Spade, building a log cabin on land adjacent to what is now Camp Geronimo, only to be attacked by the creature. Later his son Bill Spade and his soon to be wife are killed by the creature on their wedding day. Other stories explain the origins of the Mogollon Monster implicating a tormented Native American bent on revenge, or an chief transforming to scare away his former clan. Another story involves a pioneer who is attacked by Native Americans, escapes, but is cursed by the spirits and goes insane. Still another story describes the creature as the "phantom of a white man who, as punishment for murdering a Native American woman, was hung from a tree by his hands, stretched to a height of eight feet, then skinned alive and left to die. Damned by the spirits, his ghost continues to roam the woods as the tragically misnamed Skinwalker".[5]

The monster is also a topic in guides on local color and works of fiction, including the following:

  • "Abstracts of folklore studies". 10–11. American Folklore Society. 1974. ISSN 0001-3587. OCLC 1460586. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • "Weird Arizona: Your Travel Guide to Arizona's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets". Sterling Publishing. 2007. ISBN 978-1402739385.

The creature also lives on musically in the work of Dolan Ellis, who used a song named "Mongollon Monster" in a campaign against littering, especially in the wilderness areas of Arizona, claiming that the monster targeted those who carelessly littered in its territory.[12]


  1. ^ "Mogollon". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ Benedict, Adam (18 August 2018). "Cryptid Profile: Mogollon Monster". Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  3. ^ Ford, Erin (24 October 2017). "Searching for the Mogollon Monster". Grand Canyon News. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Farnsworth, Susan A. (1996). The Mogollon Monster, Arizona's Bigfoot. Mesa, Arizona: Southwest Publications. ISBN 978-1-881260-09-7. OCLC 37022193.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Wesley Treat (2007). Mark Moran, Mark Sceurman (ed.). Weird Arizona. New York: Sterling Publishing. pp. 78, 80–81. ISBN 978-1-4027-3938-5. OCLC 173400034.
  6. ^ Farnsworth, Susan and Maj Mitchell Waite (2011). More Mogollon Monster, Arizona's Bigfoot. Mesa, Arizona: Southwest Publications. ISBN 978-1-4680-6471-1.
  7. ^ Clay Thompson (4 March 2005). "Mogollon Monster a hairy tale". The Arizona Republic.
  8. ^ Davis, Scott (September 2, 2006). "Story, video: Apaches go public with Bigfoot sightings". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "Bigfoot hunter searches Fort Apache Reservation". Casa Grande Dispatch. 6 November 2006. p. 14. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2009.[dead link]
  10. ^ David E. Brown (1985). The Grizzly in the Southwest: Documentary of an Extinction. USA: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2880-1.
  11. ^ Thompson, Clay (29 March 2017). "Ask Clay: Gather round for tales of the Mogollon Monster". AZ Central. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  12. ^ Ellis, Dolan (2014–2019). "Original Songs | Dolan Ellis". Dolan Ellis. Retrieved January 25, 2020.