Posted by: Craig Woolheater on December 19th, 2012
Cliff posted his behind the scenes views for the latest episode of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot entitled “Dances With Bigfoot” on his website.
When people think of Arizona, they often imagine the harsh landscape associated with the Sonoran Desert in the southern portion of the state. However, much of the northern portion consists of high altitude plateaus with expansive pine forests that make for perfect bigfoot habitat. The number of reports that come from this area clearly indicates a thriving population of our hairy friends in the Grand Canyon State.
The evidence that brought us to Arizona was a video obtained by Mitch Waite, a former United States military employee who spends his retirement years enjoying the outdoors. The video was taken by a Moultrie Game Camera at a remote location that Mitch and his team have been targeting for bigfoot research for four years. Over the time that Mitch has been researching this spot, he and his team claim to have had numerous encounters consisting of vocalizations, camp visitations, footprints, and even a couple sightings.
With a year-round spring trickling through the valley, there is certainly enough plant and animal life to keep bigfoots coming back to this location. The terrain would be very strategic for sasquatches because the valley has steep walls that would be perfect to observe campers down below. While a couple ranches can be found in the general vicinity, the nearest one is a half mile up the only road in or out of this location. This valley is a quiet place with few visitors, and any visitors that come would be easily monitored by the local wildlife.
On the night the video was obtained, Mitch, his son, and his grandson went to bed around midnight. The video indicates that sometime that night, a bipedal figure came into camp and took something from inside the cooler (probably a soda) as well as an item off the table. The figure seems to be rather light in color, but is barely visible in the video due to the poor lighting of the camp, and the distance the camera was from the subject (28 feet to the table, and 31 feet to the subject).
Mitch told us that he and his group did not get out of bed that night, so it couldn’t be one of them. With the only road going in or out of the valley just a 30 or so yards away, they would have heard any incoming cars. According to Mitch, nobody else was camping in the campground that night. Finally, with the nearest home being a good distance away, it seems most unlikely that the residents would come that far to steal a soda. Mitch didn’t seem like he was lying, so I chose to weigh his film based on his word.
At a location, I am often faced with the situation of having to come to quick conclusions based on the word of a witness, and a couple brief viewings of the films or photographs. It’s a precarious situation for a bigfooter to announce on international television one’s verdicts on fuzzy footage, but that’s my gig. Very often I don’t get a chance to really investigate footage until after I get back from filming an episode. That’s part of the reason I do these field notes after episodes air.
After I had the opportunity to dissect Mitch’s video, I have a little more information. Based on measurements taken at the location, I have determined that the height of the figure is somewhere between 5 ft 3 in tall and 6 ft 2 in. This is a wide range, but the pixelation of the video is such that more precise measurements could not be obtained. Still, the size of the figure is squarely in line with a typical human. The shoulder width of the figure seems to be somewhere between 16 inches and 21 inches. These numbers indicate shoulders that are quite narrow, even for a human, but they were obtained using the widths of the table which was not exactly on the film plane, thus distorting the calculations a bit. I would think that a bigfoot would have shoulders that are quite a bit wider than this, but I could be wrong.
Also visible in some of the frames of the video is something dark in the middle of the figure’s chest. It seems to swing back and forth in a pendulous motion. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was a pair of binoculars. Could it be that Mitch and his camp was being watched from a distance? It seems unlikely, but it’s at least possible. Another possibility is that the artifact is indicative of breasts. This seems unlikely to me because a sexually mature bigfoot, in my opinion, would be a little bigger in bulk. The only known photograph of a bigfoot with breasts is the Patterson/Gimlin film, and though she is not extremely tall, she is quite massive.
Unfortunately, the video is rather inconclusive. Assuming that Mitch is correct in that his son and grandson never left the tent to grab a midnight snack, no vehicles entered the area, and there is no way that a human would be in the area, it seems possible that the figure in the clip is a bigfoot. However, the size of the figure, both in height and mass, do nothing to support this. Also, there is that artifact that looks like something is hanging around the figure’s neck that needs explaining. These factors weigh in favor of it being a human in the film.
My solo trip was quite eventful, though very little of what happened made the final cut of the show. What did make the final cut was the sound of something screaming repeatedly in a narrow river canyon. The volume and pitch of the screams did not translate well in the recording, and my recording device was located further from camp in the opposite direction, so it recorded the sounds even worse than the camera microphone did. I do not know what was making those sounds, and several people have emailed me since the airing of the episode telling me they know exactly what made that noise. So far, these people have suggested to me that it was an owl, bobcat, mountain lion, ocelot, and a bigfoot. The only person who has supplied me with a recording for comparison purposes was the person who suggested that it was a bigfoot. This person’s recording was remarkable in that there were a variety of vocalizations in her 20-minute recording, and I am confident that some of the sounds were from bigfoots. The final segment of this recording had sounds that were similar to what I heard in that canyon. Of course, it is possible that I recorded some sort of feline on that night, but I will never know for sure.
Something that did not make it into the final cut was the discovery of two interesting footprints. Tyler and I were hiking up a gated logging road in an area of past bigfoot activity. We were told that the logging road would take us to the top of a plateau where we would find a meadow, several ponds, and an area where elk and deer were frequently encountered. About a mile or so up the road, we discovered two barefoot footprints that measured 12 to 13 inches in length. The prints showed a fair bit of straddle, which is not typical of a bigfoot, and the foot width was a bit narrow. These factors, combined with the prints of a canine found nearby, probably indicate that these were the footprints of a human. Still, this road seemed like an unlikely place for a person to be walking around barefoot, so I documented the footprints in a short video and a few photographs.
The final night investigation produced some ambiguous sounds that may or may not have been bigfoot related, but the sounds that stick out the most for me that night were the songs and prayers of the Apaches. The participation of the Apaches was very much appreciated, and something that they shared with us was quite interesting. They said that even though the Apaches had no stories about sasquatches in their tribal lore, it is nearly universally accepted that they share their land with the “hairy men.” That the Apache people have knowledge and acceptance of bigfoots, but do not incorporate them into their oral history is significant. If the Apaches don’t tell stories of bigfoots, then it might be assumed that many (if not most) other tribes might also accept the reality of sasquatches, even though their oral histories do not show it.
The bigfoot habitat in Arizona may look a bit different than the forests of the Pacific Northwest, but it holds many of the same resources to be exploited by the sasquatches that live there. The terrain is difficult to traverse with steep ridges and deep valleys. Wildlife is abundant with plenty of food for both herbivores and the predators that feed upon them. Bigfoots certainly inhabit in the Grand Canyon State, and I look forward to learning more about how they’ve adapted to living there.
~ Cliff Barackman
See Cliff’s photos, video and the rest of the report here.
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.