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Media Article # 283

Monday, April 1, 2002

Searching for Bigfoot

By Bob Reha
MPR News for Headlines, Weather, and Stories

Bigfoot or Sasquatch, the giant hairy apelike creature, is generally something associated with the northwestern United States. But a Moorhead man is convinced the creatures are alive, well and living in Minnesota.

(Picture) Mike Quast of Moorhead is convinced that Bigfoot is living in Minnesota. He's been researching reported sightings of the apelike creatures for years. Quast is holding a cast of a footprint he believes was made by a Bigfoot. See more images. (MPR Photo/Bob Reha)

Mike Quast grew up on a dairy farm north of Detroit Lakes. His interest in Bigfoot or Sasquatch ignited when he was eight years old. His family was out for a Sunday drive near Strawberry Lake in northwest Minnesota.

"Just for a few seconds I saw something standing beside the road. At first I thought it was a burned tree trunk, because it was solid black and totally vertical," recalls Quast. "But all of a sudden, it stepped away from the road and walked into the woods on two legs. It never went down on all fours, so I knew it wasn't a bear."

He was sure its was a Sasquatch, but few people believed him. Those doubters spurred him to prove Bigfoot is real.

Over the years he's networked with other investigators across the country, but focuses his work on Minnesota. Quast says Bigfoots have been seen in every state except Hawaii and Rhode Island. They've been spotted in deserts, bogs and woods.

When Quast first seriously began researching the issue in 1987, there had been nine Bigfoot sightings in Minnesota. The current tally is 196.

"I would consider it one of the great apes," says Quast. "I don't think there's even anything that spectacular about a primate species living in North America, because Africa has them - South America has them, Asia - it's just the primate that happens to be native to North America."

Quast marks Bigfoot evidence on a Minnesota map using stick pins. The color-coded pins differentiate between places where someone reports a Bigfoot sighting, and places where footprints have been found.

(Picture) Mike Quast points to a map of Minnesota which is dotted with stick pins of different colors. Each pin marks the location of a reported sighting of Bigfoot, or a footprint. Quast says there have been 196 Bigfoot sightings reported in Minnesota since the 1980s. (MPR Photo/Bob Reha)

For the past few years, Quast has been spending his time in Clearwater County, in the Buckboard Hills area near Itasca State Park. One night two years ago, he encountered what he believes may have been two of the mysterious creatures. He didn't see them, though. He heard them.

"It was a sound that...the pitch of it was sort of like a police siren. But it sounded almost like some kind of Indian war cry from one of those cheesy western movies," recalls Quast. "I heard it twice, a couple of minutes apart, from two slightly different locations - so I don't know if it was one that moved or two calling to each other."

Quast says it was an eerie experience, just sitting in the woods and listening to the shrieking. It was dark, so he decided against trying to follow whatever was making the sounds. It was too dark to take pictures. He says he remembers feeling awfully alone.

Quast has written and published four books. His latest work is Big Footage: A History of Claims for the Sasquatch on Film. It expands his research beyond Minnesota's borders.

Quast says increasing numbers of mainstream scientists are starting to believe in Bigfoot. He admits he's still driven by what he saw when he was eight, and by the fact that no one would believe he'd seen a Bigfoot.

"I'd like to make a discovery that can stand as proof, which I guess would be a really good photograph," he says.

Quast says until he gets indisputable proof, he'll continue searching for Bigfoot in Minnesota's woods.

More Information

Minnesota Bigfoot
Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
Bigfoot Internet museum

Bibliographical Information:

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