; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Was it Bigfoot...or Something Worse?

2 friends are camping at Black Canyon Rim Campgrounds near Payson, Arizona. One night, an unknown creature is seen peering into the back window at the witness.

The following account was recently posted on social media:

"It was early Spring 2016. I had just turned 24 years old. My friend and I just reached our main spot to camp, Black Canyon Rim Campgrounds just outside of Payson, Arizona. We'd usually travel out there two or three times each year. It has some incredible views and is only a couple hours away from the city.

For the most part, this area was pretty secluded. A privately-owned convenient store rested a few miles away, with a small town 20 miles before that. The entrance was on a dirt road, directly off the highway, with a campground sign at the start of the road, marking local wildlife, any fire hazards, and general news relevant to camping folk. The pathing is mostly linear, with maybe one fork, spanning several miles.

We once travelled down the dirt road to see how far it would take us. One of the paths would take you to another highway entrance, with a ranger's tower halfway there. The other path led to a dead-end. An abandoned cabin can be found on this path, a few miles in, mostly hidden off in the distance behind some larger foliage.

The snow had mostly cleared up at this point, leaving for crisp air, a slight chill, and fauna becoming active again. We'd usually spot some wild horses, several deer, and tons of little critters whenever we'd come out this way. It really was the perfect time of year for a relaxing trip to get away from the city for a few days.

We got in around 4pm on a Tuesday. It was late for us, as we'd usually try to make it out there by noon at latest. This trip was pretty spontaneous. We both had work during the coming weekend, and decided to just go for it.

The sun was setting fast, and we still hadn't picked our spot to camp. There were maybe two other groups, both families, parked somewhat close to the entrance, only a few hundred yards away from the highway. This time around, we just wanted to get away from humans for a while. Customer service jobs will do that to you.

We drove down the dirt road, passed our usual spot, and finally picked the perfect area. A small clearing, just hanging off the edge of a hill. The whole valley could be seen from this area, with a beautiful sunset. This would've been our main spot from then on, if the next night's incident never happened, that is.

We agreed to get a campfire going, and would just avoid building a tent this trip. We didn't have much time to do so anyway, and her car wasn't that uncomfortable. I'd sleep in the back seat, and she'd take the passenger seat. With the windows slightly ajar, we'd have a few blankets for each of us, and would fall into that unrivaled slumber.

The next day went fairly uneventful. We just decompressed. I had this strange feeling throughout the day though, like we were being watched. There were crunching of leaves just out of sight every few hours, but I figured it was just the local wildlife doing their thing. My friend didn't notice anything unusual, so I didn't dwell on it.

Night came, and the feeling still hadn't gone away. My friend must've felt something she didn't vocalize, though. She took some of her sleeping pills. She didn't usually need to take them on our camping trips; the nature's ambience was enough to put anyone to sleep, I thought.

It was nearing 1am. My friend dozed off in the passenger's seat, while I attempted to wind down in the back. I leaned against the side window, behind the passenger seat, legs outstretched to the car's back door. The window opposite of me was rolled down slightly, with a cold breeze flowing in. I had been on my phone, scrolling through Facebook or whatever, when I heard something outside.

A few crunches of the fallen leaves, several paces outside the car. I whispered to my friend, "Did you hear that?" but she was already out. I put my phone down and listened intently for a minute or two. Nothing. It must've been a small animal, curious of the camp.

I went back to my phone, scrolling through social media. About ten minutes had passed, when I heard it again. Crunch. RIGHT outside the door. I lowered the phone. My eyes took a moment to adjust from the light of the phone into the deep dark of the woods. As I turned the phone away from me, the backlight illuminated the window above my feet. To this day, I can't get the image out of my head.

Two dirty, scabbed hands held onto the window. The fingers wrapped inside the car. The nails were long, unkept, and dark. Behind the window, a silhouette of a face was pressed up against it. The breath would create condensation every few seconds. All I could make out were the reflections of those empty, black eyes.

I couldn't move. I couldn't scream. It felt like eternity, the staring contest between me and this... thing. Thoughts were repeating incessantly in my head. Why haven't they run away when they saw I noticed them? What were they planning? Is this the face of death?

After probably 10 seconds of not doing anything, the hands slowly unclenched the window and receded into the darkness. The condensation on the window dispersed. Another couple seconds passed before I heard the dreaded crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch melodically fading into the distance.

I, still, just sat there. What in the f*ck just happened? Why didn't I do anything? Why am I STILL NOT DOING ANYTHING? With that thought, my body shot into adrenaline. I pounded on my friend's seat, waking her up from her slumber into a dizzy confusion. I unlatched and kicked open the back door, and took a moment to scan the area. Whoever they were, whatever it was, it was gone.

I scrambled to pick up any important camping supplies we left outside, and just crammed everything into the back seat and trunk, periodically looking over my shoulder, listening for those footsteps. I slammed the back door shut, and there they were, a grim reminder of the horror that just happened. Two hand prints, imprinted on the window. I quickly wiped them off the window in a panic, a reaction to "erase" the event, I guess.

I jumped into the front seat, started the car, and floored it out of there, my friend, finally coming to, asked me what the hell I'm doing. "We gotta go!" I said, "There's someone out there!"

I didn't see whatever, or whoever it was while fleeing the scene. Speeding down the dirt road, my friend insisted I slow down, and I eventually did. We reached the highway, and I proceeded to drive 20 or so miles before we reached a Denny's where my friend asked for us to stop at to eat and explain everything.

The nightmares subsided a few months later. My embarrassment continues to this day, for the state of shock I was in at the time. Everybody says you either have a fight or flight instinct, and I'm confused whether I have either. I mean, I just sat there and did nothing.

I frequently tend to ask myself who was out there. Another camper messing with us? A resident of the abandoned cabin down the dirt road? Or maybe something more paranormal residing in the forest, watching lone, vulnerable campers as they drift off to dreamland...

We'd still go camping there in the years ahead, but never too far from the highway. Whatever it was, I hope that was the last I've seen of it." SS

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