Werewolf Radar: Mogollon Through The Motions
By Nate Balding
Published Issue 115, August 2023
They say there’s somethin’ up there. Somethin’ that ain’t no human but ain’t no animal. Somethin’ that’s made the Mogollon Rim Trail in Arizona its personal huntin’ ground.
It has a 22-inch track and walks all wide-style, like it just finished riding a tornado or has an upsetting amount of sweat in an unfortunate place. It’s a mimic, uttering noises normally made by birds or coyotes depending on whether or not some of those bones it ate made it through its digestive tract a little too intact on exit.
It’s been known to decapitate deer and other prey before consuming them, tearing at ‘em like a condemned man with a mountain of lobsters before he makes the walk down dead man’s corridor. It builds giant nests out of leaves and twigs and unsurprisingly investigates camps for better ideas, accidentally snapping tent zippers and wishing it knew how to produce nylon as it picks pine needles out of its hair.
With such a superlative compounding of traits, surely it has a ferocious name — something to merit the terror one must feel when encountering it. Skull-Gnasher; Bone-Puller; The Arizona Rimjob; Empty Nest Starring Richard Kill Again; something that makes a teenager with a leather jacket carve it into their homeroom desk with a switchblade.
Instead they went with the Mogollon Monster. The desks of Arizona remain unscathed.
First sighted in 1903 and reported to The Arizona Republican by I. W. Stevens who described more of a time-displaced missing link than a giant monster, citing its long white beard and hair, a light coating of gray hair over most of its body and 2-inch claws that could easily be unkempt fingernails. You know, the way we all looked during quarantine.
Allegedly it charged at Stevens with a giant club and, just as Stevens raised his rifle, it stopped, distracted by a mountain lion. Stevens, noticing the lion had two cubs, shot and killed it instead of the thing attempting to beat him to death and, being a great sport hunter, told the cubs he’d be back for them next year before fleeing to a boat in an act of total cowardice.
The Mogollon Monster wouldn’t be spotted again until the mid-1940s. 13-year-old Don Davis was on a camping trip with his Boy Scout troop near Payson, Arizona. One night he was awoken by the sound of rummaging. Fearing that his candy stash or lascivious pinup calendar of World War II bombers would be uncovered, he leapt into action and eked out a high-pitched, “Wh-who’s there?”
Davis couldn’t make out any features at first but as it approached he could see how huge it was. Much bigger than the Scout leader at night, Davis thought, breathing a sigh of relief. He was overtaken by its acrid stench which, in recollection, he chuckles thinking initially he’d “messed his sleeping bag.” An assertion he has yet to withdraw. The eyes were either black or shadowed by their depth inside the beast’s head. Unlike the Stevens encounter, it seems the monster intended no harm and simply walked away, leaving an imprint on a child that would lead him into a career as a cryptozoologist as an adult.
Sightings have continued at least into the last decade. Between 1982 and 2004 Marjorie Grimes witnessed a hulking, black thing walking with massive strides on multiple occasions. In 2014 an unnamed student hiking around the Payson area, where Davis’ life-altering confrontation occurred, ran afoul of what she described as a troll lapping at the surface of a pool of water. Talking to Cryptozoology News, a site I think we can all agree is definitely reporting only absolute truths, the student said it was an expressionless, large human-looking thing with no hair and covered in bumps — if only it’d stolen a BIC from a camp decades earlier it might have been nicknamed Ol’ Razor Burn but, alas — with brown-red eyes and a big nose. Startled by another presence it sped off at full tilt.
Despite the wide variety of characterizations and likelihood that at least one of them is an obvious fabrication by an overzealous outdoorsman, it seems clear that somethin’ is up there and, if anything, it needs a cooler of shaving cream and aloe. If you’re reading this, Ol’ Razor Burn, get ready for a glam up.
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It’s a big, weird world. Don’t be scared. Be Prepared.
Nate Balding is a freelance humanoid who occasionally manifests in print and can most likely be seen at Werewolf Radar. Should you wish to hear him manifest audibly you can do so at the aforementioned Werewolf Radar’s associated podcast on Spotify and Apple, and if anything ever becomes humorous again, on a variety of stand up stages around the nation. If you’re truly craving further content there’s always @Exploder on Twitter — even if it is only a form of digital self flagellation at this point. His one thing that he considers actually accomplished was this time he was published in the journal Nature and then later collected into a volume called Futures from Nature, still available in places that have things.