man has been hunting bigfoot for 16 years
By Rona K. Johnson
Grand Forks Herald November 3, 2002
MINNESOTA -- If a bigfoot is living in the dense, wooded areas of Minnesota,
Mike Quast hopes to be the one who finds it. Quast, 34, who lives in Moorhead
and works for a custodial company, has his work cut out for him.
First of all, most people scoff at the existence of such a creature. And
second, most of the people who believe in the existence of a bigfoot-like
creature are searching for it in the Pacific Northwest.
Quast's belief stems from his own sighting. It happened in 1976, when
Quast was 8 years old. He was in a car with his parents when he saw what
he believes was a bigfoot or sasquatch.
They were driving near Strawberry Lake, on the White Earth Indian Reservation
north of Detroit Lakes. "I was kind of stunned and didn't say anything
for a while," Quast said. "I told my parents later, and they
didn't take it too seriously."
His mission began when he graduated from high school in 1986. Since then,
he's collected stories from people who claim to have seen a bigfoot, and
he's hunted for the creature. He's collected his observations and reports
in a book called "The Sasquatch in Minnesota."
"When I first started looking into it and reading all the books,
there were nine reports of sightings in Minnesota, but the official records
were really incomplete," he said.
The first story he ever investigated was about a creature that was seen
in the Vergas, Minn., area.
"There was an urban legend story going around there about the hairy
man that I heard about from my brother-in-law," Quast said. "He
said he knew someone who had seen it."
Quast tracked down a mechanic who told him that when he was a teenager
in 1968 he and his brother and his brother's girlfriend were driving around
in a wooded area near Vergas and that a creature leaped out at them. When
they turned the car around to get another look at it, it attacked their
They later found a large dent in the trunk lid. They described the creature
as weighing about 300 pounds and standing 7 or 8 feet tall.
"He said it had a face like a gorilla and an upright body like a
man, and it was covered with hair, a standard bigfoot description," Quast said.
The townspeople built a story around it, saying that it was some crazy
hermit who lived in the woods.
"They started to hunt for the thing over the next few months, and
they saw it a couple of more times, running at night," he said.
They never saw the creature in the winter, so they figured it was hibernating.
Then one spring, they found a shack with a hole dug under it. It smelled
like a dead animal so they burned the shack down.
"I heard about other stories, and I started searching the area," Quast said.
Quast spent much time searching the Vergas area. "In August of 1989
I found what I believe were bigfoot tracks."
The tracks were 16 inches long with three toes. He made plaster casts
of the tracks. In August 1970 he found a set that was 20 inches long,
and, over time, he's found three different sets of tracks, one only 12
"I thought it might have been a small family group that passed through
the area once in a while," he said.
"I haven't found anything there in recent years because there's been
a lot of development out there," he said. "It's still a woods,
but it isn't as wild as it used to be."
Then, in the early 1990s, Quast met a trapper who lived near Zerkel, east
of Mahnomen in Clearwater County. "He found some tracks on his property
that he couldn't explain," Quast said.
The tracks were of a two-legged creature, but they weren't typical bigfoot
or human tracks. The tracks were circular with two large toes and, where
the three other toes should have been, there was an impression of hair
growing under the toes. Tracks were found of slightly different sizes,
and Quast speculates the tracks were from a subspecies of bigfoot.
"The DNR suggested he get in touch with me," Quast said. "It
became a fascination with him too."
The trapper found the first set of tracks in December 1990 and more tracks
in March 1991.
"The tracks turned up again, and there were a lot more of them the
second time," Quast said. "He thought he saw close to 2,000
tracks that day."
The trapper put up notices around town and started asking people in the
area if they had seen anything.
"Other people had seen tracks, and there were sightings over the
years," Quast said.
Scream in the night
The trapper became the best source of information Quast ever had, and
Quast spent a lot of time searching on the trapper's property, even after
he died more than a year ago.
"During the time I knew him, there were occasional reports, and he
found more tracks," Quast said. "After a while, he started finding
the more common type of tracks with the more human type of foot. Many
of the tracks were smaller, indicating they were from a young bigfoot."
Since then Quast has concentrated his bigfoot hunt in the White Earth
State Forest in Clearwater County in a heavily forested area the locals
call the Buckboard Hills.
One night when Quast was camping on the trapper's property he heard what
he believes was a bigfoot.
"If you study the bigfoot literature, they describe the sound as
a scream, and I think that I heard it one night when I was camping there,"
he said. "At about 10 at night, this noise just came out of nowhere.
It was so loud, the woods just shook with it, and I remember feeling very
alone and very
vulnerable out there, at that time. I think there were two of them calling
back and forth to each other, because I heard it come from two different
Quast said he will keep searching until he has proof that bigfoot exists.
"I think one of the main reasons why science doesn't take this animal
seriously is because we have labeled it a monster, and nobody is supposed
to believe in monsters," he said. "If it had just been thought
of as a newspecies of wildlife, there would have been scientists out there
looking for it."
Article posted courtesy Michael
Copyright The Minneapolis Star-Tribune November 3, 2002
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