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COUNTY: Graham County
LOCATION DETAILS: Cunnigham site, in front of restrooms on corner
NEAREST TOWN: Safford
NEAREST ROAD: Swift Trail
OBSERVED: Memorial Day weekend 2013. Arrived with my husband and two kids to Cunningham site Mt Graham on May 25 2013. Two relatives campers were already at the site set up. We only had a 5 person tent and a car. May 25 was uneventful we camped, ate walked two dogs had birthday party at night with son. May 26, got up early spent time in camp having coffee, did normal camping activities, except around 1030 am went for hike with my husband, daughter(12), son(11). Our campsite was in front of the restrooms at Cunningham site and we hiked the trail behind the restroom on the right. Walked to trail for less than a block and stopped in front of wild raspberry bushes. My husband commented on how he used to go eat these when he was a kid camping in the Graham's. Started walking again, went up a hill, my daughter hit her walking stick on a tree. Seconds later, a large tree is heard falling up in the forest nearby at top of hill above us. We walked a short way and then decided that it was too steep and turned around. Went back to raspberry bush and took pictures for a few moments. Went back to site as we were walking back I was in the back of the group and heard a twig snap behind me as if someone was there. I turned around to watch but nothing was seen. This occurred twice. Went to camp had uneventful day. Went to bed in our tent around 9 pm. One camper that was behind our tent (we had our tent on the corner of the road by the bathrooms.) went home in the early afternoon. With one camper left to our left, we were close to the forest by the bathroom. We went to bed, opening of tent was to the forest. Slept on the left side on a cot. Dogs and kids went to bed quickly. I finally nodded off to sleep. Around 1 or 2 am my husband woke up and needed air. He stepped outside the tent with his flashlight and was there for about 2 minutes. As he came into the tent his flashlight was shining around the tent. Seconds later a person's figure was seen walking quickly in front where my husband was just standing. My daughter and I were both awake and said "someone is outside". She heard slipper feet nearby the tent on the road. We went back to sleep. I awoke later do not know what time to hear someone behind the tent eating. There is no vegetation just trees. It was chewing and lip smacking loudly, like someone with no manners. our tent has side panels which are open but with a tarp on top of our tent because the night before was very cold. I could tell that it was tall because it was above me, and tried to listen to identify it. No bear, no deer not footstep sound. About 15 minutes later, a sound was heard down the road. The chewing stopped. Resumed chewing a minute later. This went on for awhile, no other animal sounds, no birds even though a mexican whippoorwill was singing all night the night before. I turned toward the sound and smelled out the netting and it smelled like an animal. Later, a sound was heard in the distance like someone was out of there camper door. The chewing stopped, the thing was gone without a sound, no footsteps. I went back to sleep. My family talked about it the next day, but went on with our activities and left that day.
I had no knowledge of bigfoot in southern Arizona prior to looking it up a few days after getting home. My friend joked when I got home that if was Bigfoot. I went on line to look up Mr. Graham bigfoot. What a surprise I got. My husband does not believe in any of this, no bigfoot, ghosts, see contact info below.
ALSO NOTICED: No bird sound night of 26th.
OTHER WITNESSES: daughter and I were the only ones that saw a person walk in front of tent.
OTHER STORIES: Read stuff online when we got home. Was not aware of bigfoot in southern Arizona. Knew they were in California and other states.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Early morning between 1- 4 am
ENVIRONMENT: Very cold on 25 at night, nice weather on 26th
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Chuck Jacobs:
This location is on national forest land in the Pinaleno Mountains……one of southern Arizona’s so-called “sky islands.” The sky islands are a group of isolated mountain ranges separated by broad high-desert valleys. The highest point in the Pinaleno Mountains is Mount Graham, at 10,720 feet. The location of this incident is below the peak at approximately 9,400 foot elevation. There are a number of reports of possible activity in the Mount Graham area dating back to the 1950’s on the BFRO database, including actual sightings. See also report #41447, which is a similar incident that occurred three weeks to the day after this incident in the same general area.
I spoke with the reporting party by phone. She seemed surprised that someone from the BFRO would take the time to contact her, and she thanked me for calling. I asked her to describe the events as they occurred, and she confirmed what happened as submitted in the original report almost word for word.
- When they reached the Raspberry bush thicket the first time, she thought she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. She said that it was dark colored and low to the ground, and moved very fast. She only caught a very brief glimpse, and was not sure what it could have been.
- On the way back towards camp after their walk, the daughter reported a vague feeling of being watched, which is why she decided to hit the tree with the stick. None of the rest of the family experienced that feeling.
- The tree that fell or was pushed over sounded like it was a large tree, but they did not see anything from their location.
- The figure seen walking past where her husband had just been standing appeared tall, with a thin build, and was very quick. Nothing else could be determined, as the sighting was very brief and it was dark outside. She said she was surprised that her husband did not see it, as it was quite close to him, but that she and her daughter both saw it.
- The chewing sounds could be heard clearly, lasted a total of 20 minutes or so, and stopped when a camper door opened in the distance. Nothing else was heard after that.
- The animal smell reported was vague and indistinct, and did not match any animal that she was familiar with, including dog, horse, etc.
- The family are fans of the Finding Bigfoot TV show, and she displayed a basic knowledge of common Bigfoot behaviors from that, but she had no idea that they might be found in this part of Arizona. She said that after they returned home from their camping trip they talked about what had happened, did some research on-line, and came to the conclusion that what they experienced was most likely a Bigfoot encounter, which prompted her to submit her report.
She appeared very well-spoken, sincere and credible, and there was no reason to believe that she was being anything but open and truthful about what her family experienced.
Further followup is planned, including a trip to the area for a night investigation.
About BFRO Investigator Chuck Jacobs:
Chuck is a retired fire officer, with an extensive background in firefighting, inspections, investigations, and education. He is also a long-time back country traveler, who has explored some of the most remote areas of the western states by Jeep and camper van. His interest in Bigfoot began many years ago, but he began seriously squatching when he learned about activity in his home area in the Arizona mountains. He has been on numerous trips, both solo and with small groups, and attended the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Arizona Expeditions.