Bigfoot hunters and their brethren are often depicted as outcasts, misfits, or passionate amateurs toiling in solitude. But has this always been the case? This fresh and entertaining study, Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology, looks at the surprisingly complex relationship between professional scientists and cryptozoologists. The traditional heroic narrative of monster-hunting in the late twentieth century treats mainstream, academic scientists (the eggheads) as villains who reject the possibility of anomalous primates and cryptozoology as unworthy of study.
Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology gives a privileged place to passionate amateur naturalists (the crackpots) who soldier on against great odds and an obstinate public to bring knowledge of these creatures to light. However, as historian Brian Regal shows, this is misleading: many professional scientists eagerly sought anomalous primates, examining their traces and working out evolutionary paradigms to explain them. Even though scientific thinking held that creatures such as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti did not and could not exist, these scientists risked their careers because they believed them to be a genuine biological reality.
1. Chasing Monsters
2. Crackpots and Eggheads
3. The Snowmen
4. Bigfoot, the Anti-Krantz, and the Iceman
5. The Life of Grover Krantz
6. Suits and Ladders
7. The Problems of Evidence
8. A Life with Monsters
Brian Regal is Assistant Professor for the History of Science at Kean University, New Jersey, USA. His previous works include Henry Fairfield Osborn: Race and the Search for the Origins of Man, Entering Dubious Realms: Grover Krantz, Science and Sasquatch, and Pseudoscience: A Critical Encyclopedia.
"Using the career of anthropologist Gordon 'Grover' Sanders Krantz as a focal point, Regal explores the work and lives of the professional scientists ('eggheads') and amateur naturalists ('crackpots') who considered the possibility of Sasquatch and other 'manlike monsters' to be anomalous primates, as opposed to relics of regional folklore. Recommended."
"This excellent and fascinating book is not just about scientists searching for monsters, but others, called 'amateur naturalists' that are looking and doing field work as well. This book is a rare and insightful look by an academic who writes and thinks well."
– Bigfoot Times
"This is a book not about Sasquatch, but about the men who spent their lives searching for it. Brian Regal's fast-moving narrative uncovers the complex relationships within and between the amateur enthusiasts and the small number of professional scientists who took the monster seriously. Regal opens a window onto the psychology and sociology of monster-hunting and has provided a valuable case study in the relationship between science and popular culture."
– Peter Bowler, Professor of History of Science, School of History and Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast
"Searching for tangible evidence of elusive monsters has a long tradition among naturalists, highly trained scientists, adventurers, and charlatans. In this fascinating book, Brian Regal explores the many sides to 'monster-hunting,' or cryptobiology, through a case study of anthropologist Gordon 'Grover' Krantz's search for Sasquatch. Regal has skillfully used Krantz's career to raise a number of significant issues for the history of science, most important, what is the nature of evidence in science itself and how is its legitimacy negotiated."
– Garland E. Allen, Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis
"The Yeti, Sasquatch, and the Minnesota Iceman take a back seat in this lively and engaging book which shows us that far more interesting, surprising, and bizarre than these mythical monsters may be are the many naturalists, both amateur and professional, who strove to make a legitimate science out of their study."
– Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Professor, History of Science, University of Florida
"A unique and remarkable work that highlights the people involved in the search for unknown primates. A fount of information on many characters about whom I knew little or nothing. Brian Regal has created a valuable, historic and highly readable tome."
– Richard Freeman, Zoological Director, Centre for Fortean Zoology, UK
"Sasquatch has always been a creature of the margins half-human, half-beast; authentic and plastic; science and nonsense. In this incisive and often funny book, Brian Regal shows how the beast also stood between professional scientists and amateurs, and how debates about Sasquatch were simultaneously attempts to define the complicated relationship between these two groups."
– Joshua Blu Buhs, author of Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend