Deep in the dark heart of Minnesota’s north woods, I was walking down a dirt road with a group of men. The sun had set hours ago, and I was starting to wonder if I’d gone a little insane. This could have been the case: On the one hand, here we were in the middle of the night, trying to outsmart a 9-foot-tall monkey that a local farmer and his family claimed to have seen in this place several times over the past few years. On the other hand, it was possible we were looking for a figment of our collective imagination.
A call came over the radio: “Did you whistle?”
“Negative,” replied a member of our group.
I felt a mild rush of panic and excitement. There was a whistle! Something had to be making it!
My companions and I had paid $300 apiece to participate in the first-ever, public Sasquatch hunt in Minnesota held by the Bigfoot Field Research Organization. The group was founded in California in 1995 with a mission to “resolve the mystery surrounding the bigfoot phenomenon” by gathering potentially relevant data. To that end, 42 of us had signed up to help collect evidence in the north woods. We’d been split into 15 camps, and we were carrying an armament of investigative equipment: night-vision scopes, walkie-talkies, GPS, infrared cameras, thermal-recording devices, video and audio recorders, and more. Someone handed me a thermal imager, which would show bright heat signatures of the living things in the forest. I scanned the area around us but saw nothing except a few war...