Bigfoot sightings have been reported in every state except Hawaii. Interest in this creature, which many believe to be as mythical as a leprechaun, is as strong today as ever, with the wildly popular show Finding Bigfoot persisting on the Animal Planet network and references to bigfoot appearing throughout popular culture. What is it about bigfoot that causes some people to devote a chunk of their lives to finding one?
In Monster Trek, Joe Gisondi brings to life the celebrities in bigfoot culture: people such as Matt Moneymaker, Jeff Meldrum, and Cliff Barackman, who explore remote wooded areas of the country for weeks at a time and spend thousands of dollars on infrared imagers, cameras, and high-end camping equipment. Pursuing the answer to why these seekers of bigfoot do what they do, Gisondi brings to the reader their most interesting—and in many cases, harrowing—expeditions.
Gisondi travels to eight locations across the country, trekking into swamps, mountains, state parks, and remote woods with people in search of bigfoot as well as fame, fortune, adventure, and shared camaraderie. Many of the people who look for bigfoot, however, go counter to stereotypes and include teachers, engineers, and bankers. Some are private and guarded about their explorations, seeking solitude during a deeply personal quest. While there are those who might arguably be labeled “crazy,” Gisondi discovers that the bigfoot research network is far bigger and more diverse than he ever imagined.
Joe Gisondi is a professor of journalism at Eastern Illinois University and has worked as a journalist for more than twenty years.