Karl Sup: Expert Sasquatch Witness Report #3

Sasquatch Sighting (Thermal) #3

Western Mogollon Rim, Arizona, 2011-10-22 1:25AM

In April 2011, the BFRO scheduled an expedition in New Mexico. Even though I was invited, I sadly could not attend. I did, however, loan my FLIR HS-324 Command thermal to another BFRO member to help assist in planning for nighttime events. Another BFRO member came all the way from Washington State with another HS-324 Command unit. During the expedition, he captured a figure standing a distance from camp on his thermal. A later re-creation proved that the tall and wide heat anomaly, as seen in the thermal recording, did not appear near or around that Ponderosa pine tree. You may have seen this thermal footage featured on the Animal Planet show, Finding Bigfoot.
As a member of the Arizona BFRO, I scouted several new locations along the Mogollon Rim for the October 2011 Arizona Expedition during May and June. Attributes to be considered included habitat, evidence, accessibility for nighttime investigations, roads, and available campsites.

The first of these locations provided excellent habitat, evidence and even unexpected interaction. While researching this cave complex area, I found a large sandstone rock that had been smashed and small fragments had been used to scribble on the surface where the rock had been smashed. Small-grained particles from the rock break still remained on the surface. It had rained at this location during the previous week, so I knew this rock break had been recent as these small particles would have been washed away.

Hiking a short distance from that location, I found a 17" print that had been pressed into the mud and forest litter. All five toes were visible. I took my pack off, got out my tape measure and started taking photographs. 

I always carry two bags of Ultracal 30 in my day pack and planned on casting this footprint after documenting it. While I was bent over taking photographs, I heard a loud THUMP-THUMP about 30 feet to the south of me. I jerked up and quickly turned in that direction to see a large, 6-7" diameter rock bounce once more then roll to a stop. Based on the linear direction of its movement, the rock had been thrown from the upslope to my west. The rock could have easily been thrown at my head as I was bent over, with my head pointed in the direction of the hill with the camera against my face. I took this as a warning, reloaded my pack, and started hiking back out without casting the print.

This area, obviously, was an excellent choice on many levels, however there were limited areas to camp and roads to allow safe nighttime investigation for a large group. The second location showed good habitat, but no evidence was found. Camping locations and road penetration into that area were an issue as well.

The third location was a large, steep canyon complex with a perennial stream. Numerous side canyons stretched to the south. Old logging roads were criss-crossing the entire area. The potential for this area was off the charts. During my investigation, I found no immediate evidence. I did recall a story from a companion on a hike decades ago into and down the main canyon. My fellow hiker told a story from the mid-1970's about a 'hermit' that must live in this area. When he was hiking the canyon as a Boy Scout, they found a large, single print dead center in the middle of a sand bar that defied all reason. I had camped and hiked in or near this area 4-5 times in the past. The canyons are rife with wildlife including bear, elk, deer, turkey and free range cattle.

With that knowledge in hand, I set out to find an ideal camping location and soon found one in a minor, dry side canyon complex to the south of the main canyon. Old logging roads gave easy access to park vehicles at the campsite and for hiking activities on nighttime investigations.

On the extended weekend of October 20th-23rd, 2011 the expedition attendees began to arrive. The lead Arizona BFRO investigators had arrived on the 19th to secure the campsite, plan the research for the first night, and do some investigative work. 

On that Wednesday, they discovered an old growth oak tree with a branch twist about 12’ off the ground. It also had its acorns stripped from more than 20' feet up in the tree. Every single branch and twig had been twisted off and dropped to the forest floor below. All branches and twigs had been taken from a position 12' above a main, thick branch that jutted out nearly 90 degrees from the trunk. This branch was 10' off the ground. Not one of the twigs found on the ground displayed signs of gnawing or chew marks. All of the acorns had been cracked and eaten. Based on the location of the twists, we determined that something had stood on the large branch and reached 12' directly above it. One Tucson attendees' son was 6'7". He climbed up the tree and stood on that branch. He could not reach the location of the twists above. There were no other weight-bearing branches that gain his access or could support him higher up.

The first evening, the teams did a small, localized investigation in the nearby side canyons without any interaction. Distant calls were heard, but it was unclear whether or not it was simply coyotes. It was a disappointment. For Friday night we moved the research area further west to straddle one of the main feeder canyons. We split up into three teams, and I led a team of 4 on the high point across the canyon from the other teams. We were the only team on the north side of that canyon. Our only access out of this location was a narrow, primitive road. After the initial set of whoops, a return whoop was heard from the northwest. Subsequent calls were returned from that same direction. Each response was closer. A half hour went by without a response when we heard very loud brush crashing from the canyon floor coming up. Within our field of vision, there were no visible heat signatures besides the apparently-caffeinated field mice that had been darting about all night.

All fell silent, not even small twig snaps were heard. We did some additional calls at the request of the other teams, but otherwise the night remained quiet. It was about 12:30am and 42 degrees when we decided to pack up the team and head back to base camp. We walked east 1000' back to the SUV and loaded all of our equipment. The thermal was nearly dead, but I decided we could plug it in and view the woods as I drove 3-5mph back out of this area. The intent was to record as we drove, but the member operating the thermal from the back seat had not set it to record. She was familiar with thermal operation and viewing, as she had done two tours in Iraq. As we drove out and neared the location above our research area, she yelled, "STOP! BACK UP!" I backed up and she proclaimed, "It's gone." Elapsed time was about 30 seconds. 

She described what she had seen; a person standing in the woods, 30 feet south of the road between two trees. She said there was a small gap between both trees and the sides of the broad shoulders. There was no neck visible between the head and torso. During research the following day, we measured the distance between the trees at 81 inches. Recreation estimated the shoulder to shoulder width at 68 inches and a height of 8 feet tall.

The team was extremely excited. We loaded back into the SUV and continued out on the narrow road. Five minutes later as we started the uphill grade our headlights fell on a LARGE, loose pile of stool that was still warm (82 degrees) directly in the center of the road. The pile was so obvious in view, as if meant to be found. It was comprised of acorns and berries. A sample was collected and stored (later frozen). The remainder of the drive back out was uneventful, with only a few thermal hits of deer and elk.

We returned to base camp a full 30 minutes after the remainder of the team. As we pulled in and parked, one member was knocking on the tree nearest the campfire. The teams were huddled around the large fire keeping warm. We told them about the sighting she had with the thermal and the responses we had gotten the entire evening. The father and son team had gone to sleep in their SUV prior to our arrival. I asked why the one member was knocking on the tree in camp. He stated that he felt that the knocking would draw them in. Having experienced that in the past, I personally felt that the close encounters that ensued from that technique were much more antagonistic. Typically there would be a display of rock and stick throwing.

I decided to retrieve the thermal from the SUV, just in case, and the BFRO Lead Investigator went to retrieve their thermal as well. The two of us stood up from the campfire and walked in opposite directions to where our vehicles were parked. I remember standing up and taking several steps from the campfire, and I vaguely remember walking several steps. The next thing I remember, I am staring at bushes in front of me where I assumed the SUV would be. I had a gap of missing time while I had walked in the wrong direction. Comparing notes later with the BFRO lead, she experienced the exact same phenomenon as I had. She 'woke up' staring at bushes a distance from their van and was confused how she had walked in the wrong direction. Another attendee had a similar experience at the exact time, while simply sitting and staring at the fire. He suddenly 'woke up' and had an immediate reaction of feeling disorientation. He was confused where he was, and what he was doing. All three of us were at least 60-70 feet apart when this occurred.

I looked to my left and I could see the taillights of my SUV reflecting dimly from the fire light. I dug in the back, retrieved the thermal and started walking back toward the fire. A deafening KNOCK rang out. It was so loud, I thought someone had (once again) knocked on the tree in the center of camp; however everyone was sitting around the campfire, startled and looking around. I watched as someone jumped up from the campfire and ran toward where the knock had originated. As he approached the SUV's parked there, a 3' long stick about an inch diameter was illuminated by the fire as it came flying in from the woods and smacked against the side of the Tucson Lincoln SUV, about 6 feet in front of the guy. He stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, and ran back to the fire.






E l a p s e d T i m e 

(video courtesy of Karl Sup)

I immediately powered up the thermal. The SUV's lit up in the cold night, but I could not see any heat anomalies in the woods. I was south of the campfire and made my way west, hoping to get a better view into the woods from the side. The lead investigators joined me, but nothing stood out in contrast. As I scanned the area near the tents, a heat signature appeared to 'peek out' along the edge of one of the trees. In addition, there appeared to be two heat signatures behind bushes and tree branches that moved. I rocked back and forth to determine if I was seeing the heat signatures of tree trunks there, or something else. When standing still, one did not move while the other heat signature subtly changed. After recording from the same position for a while, I started to move in closer. The BFRO lead moved in as well. The heat signatures were gone. We spent quite a bit of time discussing what had just happened, then packed it in for the night.

The next morning, we awoke to the sounds of distant 'Whoops!' Slowly, the calls became louder until a large herd of cattle appeared in camp and on the road near camp. Cowboys were driving the heard west before snow arrived to the area. It was a step back in time to watch these cowboys and working dogs wrangling the steers, cows and calves. Some of the cows actually stepped and bent my tent stakes they were so close!

A day investigation trip was planned to head down to the floor of the canyon below where my team had been positioned, heard and later witnessed something in the woods. Two other investigators stayed at camp with me and recreated the events from the night before; using a live thermal view from the same position, digital cameras and a laptop with the thermal video as reference. Of the two heat signatures behind vegetation, one was confirmed as the trunk of a small tree but the other one could not be recreated. We determined the height of the ‘tree peeker’ by having stand-in doubles. He was 6'3" tall, but was considerably shorter than the image. We had him raise his hand until it reached a matching height. The measured height to the top of his hand was 7'7". In looking near that tree, we did find where a branch had been impressed into the forest floor was missing and freshly disturbed. Its dimensions matched the stick that hit the Lincoln. One of the investigators had IR security cameras running at all four corners of his Suburban during this entire event. At the same time we had started to advance on the area with our thermals the prior night, two sets of eye glow were recorded on video moving away from us in a south to north heading. One set was taller than the other. The taller one turned and looked directly at the infrared light first, followed by the shorter subject. The eyes were large and round, and reflected the IR light adeptly (see my Sasquatch Eye Theory).

In triangulating the position of his cameras, to the thermal hits, we determined exactly where the subjects stood and observed the group. No footprints were found in the area, but nearby remote audio recorders did record the knock. It was a great investigation, as we debunked and confirmed through multiple means, the encounter.

(Video courtesy of Steve Vallie)

Several hours later the rest of the group returned to camp. They had their own daytime sighting. As they scoured the canyon for clues, the Tucson man noticed something motionless and reddish-brown on the ridge above the group. The sunlight shined off it, and it gleamed. He pointed out the object to his son, who ran up the hillside. He barely got three strides into his run before the subject jumped up and rocketed off to the west along the ridge. The father said it had great vertical height and width. The son did reach the location where it had been, but there was no evidence of the sentinel. The following evening was completely silent without any interaction whatsoever. The group retired to the campfire and broke out a guitar, voice and viola in hopes to attract another visitor. If they did hear us and visit, they were quiet. The following day we broke down camp and bid farewell to this amazing area. I hope to investigate again there soon. I had a good feeling about these canyons!

Karl Sup is a software architect, developer and analyst, and an avid Bigfoot researcher working in the mountains of Arizona for many years. During this research and in other states including Maryland and Wisconsin, he has been fortunate enough to interact with and view multiple subjects over the years. Karl also has had decades of audio analysis and editing experience, and assisted in helping M.K. Davis clean up and enhance audio from VHS tapes he has been studying and discovered the presence of infrasound within those recordings.