I cannot argue much with scientific arguments on the existence of sasquatch when there is no definitive evidence either way. Once in a while, it's fun to just believe. Believers will find some new theories on Bigfoot behavior. Otherwise, On the Trail of Bigfoot is a pleasant piece of escapism. If you just finished writing a scientific thesis, you're likely to groan in either pain or laughter.

Mike Dupler was a ghost hunter before he became a Bigfoot researcher. He lives in Ohio and hunts and enjoys tracking. Some of the book describes what he found on his outings. He also describes historically documented sightings in America which made it into the news. He introduces American folklore and similar kinds of creatures known internationally. He touches on the Bigfoot stories of American tribes but suggests another book for the interested. There is a review of current Bigfoot research and contacts for regional interest organizations on Bigfoot. Speculation on the possibility of living groups of Neanderthals and other ancient human relatives wandering the forests is one line of research. Some people believe that Bigfoot is a supernatural being. One chapter is devoted to this topic but the author sustains that Sasquatch is a living, breathing being.

The author theorizes on uses of structures built by Bigfoot, their family relationships, habits, and language. Dupler shares tales of his own hunts for Bigfoot and black and white photos presented as evidence. He also gives his opinion on the veracity of other reported sightings, distinguishing between the possibly real and obvious hoaxes. He seems earnest about his investigation. One has to suspend disbelief a lot because the evidence is spotty. I found the photos unconvincing as they are black and white, grainy, and leave a lot to the imagination.

The theory about Bigfoot setting up teepee like structures with large trees as a kind of signal for other Bigfoots did not convince me either but is likely to get a lot of seekers to look at windswept forests sites with wide eyes.

The research on Bigfoot language amused me because I was a language major, it sounds like something out of a horror movie, and there isn't enough to even begin to make a dictionary. Dupler believes Bigfoots speak a complex language indicative of high intelligence. You can find recordings on the internet and I recommend listening to them.

Given the limited information and lack of undeniable proof, much that is written on Bigfoot is simply conjecture. Sometimes, we all need something to take our minds off of the ordinary. I remain agnostic on Bigfoot but for light summer vacation reading, it was just what I needed.

~review by Larissa Carlson Viana

Author: Mike Dupler
Red Wheel/Weiser Inc.
224 pages, $17.95