The next time you're in British Columbia and you smell a combination of skunk and rotten eggs, it might be more than you thought. It might be that legendary beastie, the Sasquatch. Or so says Sasquatch searcher John Kirk, a serious devotee of the mysterious man-beast that is to this region what the Loch Ness monster is to Scotland. Mr Kirk claims to have come close enough to where a Sasquatch had been skulking in a North Vancouver forest to smell it. Sightings around the Pacific Northwest have been reported since the 1950s, around the same time that UFOs also became popular. Both phenomena, real or not, have gone on to attract legions of scientifically unstable fans. The fringe element has kept the animal, called Bigfoot in the US, in the supermarket tabloids and, say searchers like Kirk, made a joke out of their more serious pursuits. When he and his colleagues attended the International Sasquatch Symposium in Vancouver, they joined the scientifically inclined in one camp, while the paranormal types kept to another area, with panel meetings held on separate days. 'Sasquatch has received a lot of publicity because of the tabloids,' said Mr Kirk. 'There's headlines like: 'I Married Bigfoot' or 'I Had Bigfoot's Child'. 'It seems to capture America's attention. You try to be credible, but you have these idiots come along and tell the most fanciful stories,' he bemoaned. It may not help their cause that some of the most dedicated Sasquatch seekers also have a sense of humour. Rene Dahinden contributed one of the first books on the topic with Sasquatch in 1973. He now appears in a TV commercial for a local beer in which he is asked if he ever used the brew to attract the beast. As he peers at the lens to ask, 'Do you think I'm crazy or something?' a lumbering Sasquatch behind him steals his case of beer. Those fascinated with the creature - scientists, mountain guides and the simply curious - have found that the Internet may be the best way to keep their often-ridiculed quest alive. Their animal instincts can be satisfied on a Web site designed by and for the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation.