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Geographical Index > United States > Arizona > Graham County > Report # 41447
Report # 41447  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Monday, June 17, 2013.
Campers on Mount Graham are frightened by late-night visitor

YEAR: 2013

SEASON: Summer


DATE: june 16

STATE: Arizona

COUNTY: Graham County

LOCATION DETAILS: Mt. Graham at Riggs Lake Elevation 10200 ft.



OBSERVED: I was camping at Mt. Graham about 1:00 am when I awoke and heard some rhythmic tapping of some type. About 30 yards away in a very wooded area. Seconds later I heard steps walking around my tent. No breathing occurred just the sound of something walking. And it never went into the reflection of my tent and my lantern light. My sister, husband, son and their hound dog were in a tent 10 feet away and I could hear their dog whimpering. I awaken my dad and told him I think its a bear. So we got our shoes, gun and flashlight. My 3 nieces were sleeping in the tent adjacent to my sister's tent. Then from inside this tent my niece screamed. (Later they told us they all heard steps and heavy breathing, and heard sounds from two individuals she said sounded like they where communicating and could hear them run away.) When we heard my niece yell in fear we got out of the tent fast with our flashlight aiming in their direction. But it was gone. It had to move extremely fast or just be hiding and did not make a sound because we were out of the tent in 2 seconds of the scream. We were already getting up to check some noise and do the late night restroom when at 4:00 am we could hear rocks and chattering within 1 second about 50 yards in the dense wooded area.

ALSO NOTICED: n/a besides neighboring tent 20 feet away

OTHER WITNESSES: me (39), dad (65), niece (14), niece (20), and friend (14), tent next to us heard noise and their 2 dogs reacted by whimpering too.


TIME AND CONDITIONS: about 1:00 am
and 4:00 am

ENVIRONMENT: Heavily wooded pines and ferns, lots of ridges and private areas. Temperature was around 65f at night and days were about 75-80f.

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 a small lake, at approximately 8,800 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 #41350, which is a similar incident that occurred three weeks earlier in the same general area.

I spoke with the reporting party (RP) extensively by phone. He appeared very troubled by the experience, and advised that he would probably never return to this location to camp again.

He added:

- His extended family was camping in four separate tents where the road ended at the far southern end of the lake. Due to the topography, the tent where he and his father were sleeping was located somewhat up-slope from the rest of the tents, meaning that he had a clear view over the other tents from the entrance to his tent.
- Earlier in the day RP and the three girls, ages 20, 14, and 14, had hiked to the top of a nearby ridge. While up there, they heard someone else coming up the trail, walking slowly and breathing very heavily, and saw an elderly Native American woman hiking to the top of the ridge. At the top, the woman began singing and chanting, while facing to the southwest over a steep canyon. They thought that this was interesting but quite unusual, they did not speak to the woman. RP returned to camp, and the girls remained on the ridge for another 45 minutes or so, then they also returned to camp.
- RP woke up at 1 AM (per his watch) to the sound of what seemed like rocks clicking together. He characterized this as rhythmic, and that it did not sound like small stones, but rather medium-sized rocks. Shortly thereafter, he heard footsteps outside his tent. In one of the other tents was a family member’s dog, which he could hear whimpering. He characterized this dog as being an active dog, who had spent the previous day “barking at everything,” but in this case the dog only whimpered. Thinking that it was a bear, RP woke his father, and they both quickly got up, grabbing flashlights and weapons and were starting to come out of the tent just as one of the girls screamed. RP said that they were out of the tent and shining lights around “in two seconds,” but did not see anything.
- The girls also woke up to the sound of footsteps and heavy breathing. They said it sounded like there were two individuals and that they were communicating. (I was unable to get any additional information on the type of communication heard, whether it was in the form of noises or whether it seemed like actual talking. I asked RP if I could speak with the girls who heard it, but they were not available at the time. I will try to do some additional followup on this.) This scared one of the girls to the point that she screamed, and they then heard additional footsteps as the intruder(s) quickly ran away.
- When the intruder came into their camp, it only approached the tent where the girls were sleeping, seemingly ignoring the other tents and some food that had been spilled near the campfire. The girls’ tent was somewhat illuminated by the lantern that had been left on. RP was very disturbed by this, and thought it may have been a human intruder, however he did not think that a human could have moved fast enough to escape without being seen, nor did he think that a human could have made his/her way through the thick brush in the total darkness outside of the circle of light from the lantern. He also stated that the footsteps they heard did not sound like a bear or other four-legged animal.

RP appeared very articulate, sincere and credible, and there was no reason to believe that he was being anything but open and truthful about what his 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.