Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mogollon Rim

Scriptor Senex mentioned on his blog the other day that his friend was in Payson, Arizona by the Mogollon Rim. Ever since moving to Arizona, we hear in the spring about how the weather pattern has to develop over the Mogollon Rim (pronounced mo' gee on) to create the monsoons. I'm still not sure what weather pattern that is, but we wait for it every year.

Here are some interesting facts about the Mogollon Rim:

The Rim is an escarpment defining the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, and along its central and most spectacular portions is characterized by high limestone and sandstone cliffs. It was formed by erosion and faulting, and dramatic canyons have been cut into it, including Fossil Creek Canyon and Pine Canyon. The name Mogollon comes from Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, Spanish Governor of New Mexico from 1712-1715.

Much of the land below the Mogollon Rim lies 4000 to 5000 feet (1,200 to 1,500 m) above sea level, with the escarpment rising to approximately 7,000 ft (2,100 m). Extensive Ponderosa Pine forests are found both on the slopes of the Rim and on the plateau above.

The Mogollon Rim's limestones and sandstones were formed from sediments deposited in the Carboniferous and Permian periods. Several of the Rim's rock formations are also found in the walls of the Grand Canyon. In many places the Rim is capped or even buried by extensive basaltic lava flows.

The Rim's uppermost sandstone stratum, the Coconino
- Sandstone, forms spectacular white cliffs, sometimes several hundred feet high. This Permian period formation is of eolian (windblown) origin, and is one of the thickest sand-dune-derived sandstones on earth.

Interesting, but I also LOVED reading about this!

The Mogollon Monster is an alleged creature that has been written about and sighted in central and eastern Arizona along the Mogollon Rim. It is most often reported to be a Bigfoot or ape-like creature although descriptions vary. No physical evidence has been found, and the existence of such a creature is doubted by biologists.

Due to its elusive nature, physical characteristics can be hard to find for this creature. Based on the multiple sightings listed in the book "The Mogollon Monster, Arizona's Bigfoot" by Susan A. Farnsworth the monster is described below.

The Mogollon Monster is a bipedal humanoid whose height ranges from 6-8 feet with a weight of approximately 250-300 pounds. Its body is covered from head to toe with long black or dark brown hair, with the exclusion of the face. This creature gives off a strong and pungent odor like that of a decaying fish. Large eyes are the most prominent of its facial features.

This creature is said to be very shy, has inhuman strides, and is nocturnal. The monster is generally reported to explore campsites after dark, emit unusual whistle sounds, and hurl stones from locations that are hidden from view.

Based on multiple reports, monster sightings along the Mogollon Rim range from Prescott, AZ, north to Williams, AZ, east to Springerville, AZ, south to Hannagan Meadow, AZ, and west back to Prescott. Most sightings center around the city of Payson, AZ.

The oldest known documented sighting of the Mogollon Monster was reported in a 1903 addition of The Arizona Republican, today called The Arizona Republic. In this documentation by I.W. Stevens, near the Grand Canyon, he describes the creature as having "long white hair and matted beard that reached to his knees." He later states that after he discovered the creature drinking the blood of two cougars, that it had just beaten with a club, it let out an "unearthly screech".

Arguably the most famous of the first documented sightings was accounted by cryptozoologist Don Davis. During the mid-1940s he was on a boy scout trip near Payson, Arizona. One night, while sleeping, he was suddenly awakened by someone digging though his personal items. After advising this unknown "person" to stop, the intruder approached his bed. Upon realization that this was not a human, Don Davis 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."

In 2008 a member of a Mogollon Monster field research team reported the following account "On our way down the steep little two rut road, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see the Mogollon Monster stand up in front of some rocks. I slammed on the breaks which caused a curious reaction of the Mogollon Monster. It was only 50 yards away and I could see it's face. Its countenance was "OH C***! I've been seen!". The author then reports that “I took my eyes off the monster long enough to find the gear shift to slam it into reverse and look back. Within that short of time, it had covered nearly 30 yards and was entering a thicket of trees.”

Today sightings are a no longer kept a secret by the White Mountain Apache Nation in Arizona. One local by the name of Collette Altaha states that “We're not prone to easily talk to outsiders, but there have been more sightings than ever before. It cannot be ignored any longer.” “No one's had a negative encounter with it,” said Marjorie Grimes, who lives in Whiteriver, the primary town on the reservation. When asked about her encounter she reports that “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!” In regards to the locals, Tribal police lieutenant Ray Burnette states that “A couple of times they've seen this creature looking through the windows. They're scared when they call.” He then goes on to report that “The calls we're getting from people — they weren't hallucinating, they weren't drunks, they weren't people that we know can make hoax calls. They're from real citizens of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

Well, that was fun!


amuse me said...

Interesting stuff. I'm going to pass along this article to my sister-in-law in Arizona. :) M

Dan Felstead said...

YEOWEE! That is a beautiful picture! Would I like to see that in person...yes I would.

I am going to sound like a conspiracy person here...but I really think there must be something to these sightings...not only here but all over. Sure, most are hoaxes but really believe that there are some that are legitimate...I would love to know that they are!


septembermom said...

Thanks for sharing all this info! I'm going to tell my boys about the Mogollon Monster. I'm sure they will be very interested and want to google for pictures :)

Cynthia L. H. said...

Fascinating, SG!!!!
Another place to add to my list of MUST VISIT!!!!
(We have some of those "Monster" stories, too....)
I think that there has got to be some aspect of truth to them....
don't know how, though....

GB said...

It's really good to read about places you don't even know exist. As the world I know gets ever smaller and reachable the more I realise just how huge even that part of the world is and how much more of it I will never even know about, never mind see. Thanks for filling in one of the tiny gaps.

Anonymous said...


Flora & Fauna

Books I have known & loved

  • Life of Pi
  • A Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Kite Runner
  • The Way the Crow Flies
  • Fall on Your Knees
  • Poisonwood Bible
  • East of Eden
  • Shantaram
  • I Know This Much is True

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