The Essential Guide to Bigfoot is the new book from long-time cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard. Ken is someone who defines what it means to be a cryptozoologist (or a monster hunter, depending on your perspective). His first pet was a caiman alligator. His father was a forestry professor at the University of Minnesota. Ken is someone who has traveled the world in search of strange creatures. Alaska, the Peruvian Andes, the Amazon, and the Galápagos Islands are just a few of the many places that Ken has traveled to, in search of the unknown. His previous books include A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts and Encounters with Flying Humanoids. All of which now brings us to Ken's new book on Bigfoot. This 246-pages-long book is one that will satisfy, inform and entertain both those who are new to the subject of Bigfoot and those who have been interested in the phenomenon for years. The book is packed with photos and artwork, and has a great, color cover from artist Sam Shearon. Now, let's get to the content.
It's important to note that The Essential Guide to Bigfoot is not a collection of campfire-style tales. In fact, quite the opposite: Ken tackles a wealth of different aspects of the Bigfoot phenomenon; all of them intriguing and thought-provoking. And, he highlights many aspects of the mystery that you may never have heard of. The book begins with a foreword from long-time Bigfoot investigator, Peter Byrne. And it is followed by Ken's account of what may very well have been his own encounter with a Bigfoot near a remote Texas lake, late one night in 2003. "Deep, apelike grunts" were heard and human-like tracks were discovered. Ken then provides us with an excellent section on the physical appearance of Bigfoot. By examining multiple cases and eyewitness testimony, Ken gives his thoughts on the average height of the equally average Bigfoot (and the limits of those heights, too). Weight, facial appearances and - of course! - those famous feet are all addressed. The outcome: probably the best description I have read of what the Bigfoot creatures really look like. There's a very good section too that tackles one of the most controversial aspects of the overall puzzle: the number of Bigfoot that might be living in the United States. Ken suggests that we're looking at a few thousand at most. Diet is also discussed, with Ken concluding that the Bigfoot are definitive omnivores.
The book has a fascinating section on Bigfoot communication. In part, we are talking about so-called "tree knocks" that are often reported heard in areas where the creatures are seen. But, things go much further than that: Ken also ponders on the matter of the Bigfoot possibly having some form of language. This section alone makes for notable reading. Infrasound - a low-frequency sound that can disrupt the human nervous-system - surfaces in the pages of the book, too, as it has been suggested that the Bigfoot may use infrasound as a means to keep us at bay. And there's much to learn when it comes to the seemingly nomadic nature of these creatures - which, as Ken notes, are rarely ever seen in groups. The theories for what the Bigfoot might be are studied carefully. The list includes Gigantopithecus (a massive, and presumed long-extinct, ape); Neanderthals; and Paranthropus. Ken, however (who overwhelmingly discards the Neanderthal angle), concludes that it's reasonable to say: "...we have not yet discovered any fossil evidence of the species that Sasquatch represents." In other words, Bigfoot is still an unknown, in terms of its classification.
Early reports from Native Americans going back centuries, and 19th century tales of "wild-men," come under the microscope, as do the famous cases. The "kidnapping" of Albert Ostman, the Patterson film of 1967, and the story of William Roe are just three of many. Famous Bigfoot seekers are also profiled. One of the most important parts of the book is that which asks a notable question: "The Lack of Remains: Where is the Body?" The skeptics would say there are no bodies because there are no Bigfoot. Ken, however, skillfully explains how and why such immense creatures can exist and not be found in skeleton form or in decomposing-states. This is a very important part of the book, one not to be missed. As is the part on the potentially deadly nature of Bigfoot. That's deadly to us, I mean! And there are great sections on certain other unknown apes, specifically of the "Littlefoot" type, such as Orang Pendek.
There is way more to The Essential Guide to Bigfoot, all of it fascinating and absorbing and written by someone who actually goes out and searches for these creatures, which is an important thing. This is not the work of an armchair researcher. It's the work of someone who has spent years (decades, in fact) pursuing the mystery. Destined to become a cryptozoological classic!