Why Dr. Ketchum’s paper is taking so long

For those of you keeping up with Dr. K’s paper and hoping for its publication any day now, I found this little tidbit of information in Nature today that may answer why the process is taking so long.

Considerable hard data have emerged on the scale of misconduct. A metastudy (D. Fanelli PLoS ONE 4, e5738; 2009) and a detailed screening of all images in papers accepted by The Journal of Cell Biology (M. Rossner The Scientist 20 (3), 24; 2006) each suggest that roughly 1% of published papers are fraudulent. That would be about 20,000 papers worldwide each year.

Considering the subject of Dr. K’s paper, I imagine unprecedented caution is being taken, especially given the fact that 20,000 papers on so-called mainstream topics are “fraudulent.”  It’s bad enough to be fooled on a “legitimate” topic. It would be journalistic suicide to be fooled on a “fringe” topic.  I’m not saying Dr. K would commit fraud.  I’m just saying the journal that’s publishing her paper is making damn sure everything’s in order before they proceed with publication.

You can read the entire Nature article here –  The time is right to confront misconduct: After a generation of denial, research leaders are finally treating scientific fraud with the seriousness it deserves, says  Colin Macilwain.

I found Bigfoot!

Bigfoot can be yours for only $80,000!

This is awesome!  If I had $80,000, this thing would be mine.  This is a statue that Clifford LaBrecque had built about 35 years ago. Clifford allegedly had an encounter with his friendly (or not so friendly) neighborhood Bigfoot in 1976-77. He observed a few for about 2 months in Des Moines, Iowa, and things were fairly amiable until Clifford decided he was going to shoot one.

That night LaBrecque decided to shoot the creature. “It was about 25 feet away from where I was parked in my pickup truck.” LaBrecque said. “Two of the creatures walked up from behind a hedge. One stopped but the other went to a woodpile, bent down and started to eat with its back towards me. I stayed in the car and waited for it to turn around but it just kept on gnawing at the wood. Finally I decided to shoot it from behind. When the animals turned and saw me, I got buck fever and couldn’t shoot. As it came towards me, I couldn’t get the window rolled up fast enough. It was really close.” LaBrecque was petrified with fear as the creature advanced. He tells what happened next.

“It loomed  over the car. It was about 8 feet tall. It reached through the window, grabbed me and shook the daylights out of me. It was terribly strong. I could feel its face about 6 inches away from mine and believe me I was in a state of tremendous fear. I could feel my whole body shaking. I felt a sensation of being twisted around and pushed down onto the floor.  The creature’s eyes were burning with fury. It was angry, very angry at me for trying to shoot it. Then I passed out. When I regained consciousness it was gone.

Clifford insists it is accurate to the last inch.  He had the thing built for around $9,000, so he is trying to turn a nice little profit, but hey, why not?  It’s cool.  If you want to own a piece of Bigfoot lore, hurry up and get in on the bidding on ebay.

BTW – I’ve gotten a few emails and messages from people concerned that I haven’t done a Bigfoot post in a while.  Frankly, there’s nothing new to report.  I can only post so much rumor and conjecture before it gets kind of silly.  When there is something newsworthy, I have no problem discussing it here.

Bigfoot has a new name

Working on Book Five, but had to take a break because I just got an email from a friend with some interesting Bigfoot news.  Dr. Ketchum may have dubbed our bigfooted friends feral humans. She’s registered the website FERALHUMANPROJECT.INFO.  I have a feeling that part of the problem with publishing the paper had to do with the use of the word Bigfoot or Sasquatch in the paper.  A journal may have requested they make a change that would make it easier to read without giggling. So, now we have feral humans with big feet… and oh BTW, they’re reported to be 8′ tall.  I have no idea what any of this means, but I do know that about five minutes after I post this someone is going to register the domain name Feralhumanproject.XXX.

Adrian Erickson & the Larry Surface Video

UPDATE 12/03/2011: Dr. Ketchum just made a statement about Erickson on FB.  You can read it here: Ketchum on Erickson

This week saw two separate developments that caught the attention of cryptophiles everywhere. First, The Erickson Project website went offline very quietly. No official word has been released by Adrian Erickson nor has any member of his team spoken off the record about the sudden vanishing. We are left with nothing but rumors. When you think about it, it’s a fitting end to the mysterious project because nothing but a constant stream of rumors swirled around Erickson and his team since word of the project first hit the crypto-world.

A story appeared in the Osoyoos Times that hints as to a major reason Erickson pulled the rug out from under the project. We of crypto inclinations have been so involved in the steady drip of stories surrounding Erickson’s documentary and project, we forgot that the man actually owns an honest to goodness development company. By all accounts, it was a very successful business. Unfortunately, ‘was’ is the key word here. Erickson, like most land developers, has taken a hit during these unfavorable economic times. Here is a quote from the Osoyoos Times’ story REGAL RIDGE UNDER SIEGE:

The letter acknowledged that Regal Ridge (Adrian Erickson’s development company) was undergoing restructuring and downsizing. Certain costs for infrastructure development, said Erickson, would have to be shifted. Causes for the shortage of funds was attributed to the decline in the economic climate, competition from crushed housing prices in the U.S. Sunbelt and “uncontrollable power infrastructure costs.”

The letter stated that three quarters of lots had services in place and the company was working to find a solution for the others, with support from its creditors.

This is not a fun thing for anyone to have to deal with. Jobs and livelihoods are at stake here, so I can’t really blame him from walking away from something that amounts to a hobby. The footage he has isn’t definitive enough to stand on its own. He made the decision to tie his documentary to Dr. Ketchum’s DNA study to give the film more validity. You have to admire him for sticking to his guns and not damaging the integrity of the work his team has done in favor of getting a quick buck. My feeling is that he pulled the website down simply because he’s trying to keep his development company solvent and there’s no reason to compound an already difficult task by being known as the Bigfoot guy. Closing down the Erickson Project was a business decision and nothing more.

On to Larry Surface. Larry is a retired gentleman who lives in Southern Ohio. I knew nothing about him until this week. He had a blog chronicling his research in his area surrounding what he calls the “Wild People.” You might know these wild people as Bigfoot. Larry announced this week that he captured one of the wild people on a camera he set up in a location he would like to keep undisclosed. The video made a brief appearance on his blog, and it clearly showed a humanoid subject from mid-back up walking on and off camera, and then on and off camera again. What he actually caught on camera is up for debate. Like most videos in this field, it’s blurry and grainy. Larry is convinced it is an undocumented bipedal hominid. This is normally where I would provide a link to the video, but Larry took the video down because he says he was asked to by none other than Dr. Melba Ketchum. It seems she has been looking for supporting evidence in the form of video or still images to accompany her study. Evidently Larry has provided samples to Dr. K’s study, and he says she has an interest in including the video in her study. Larry not only pulled the video. He shut down his blog because he was tired of the negative comments.

I will close this story with this. I was able to capture a frame from that video that I post here now without comment. It’s the same frame repeated a number of times from its original incarnation through various other incarnations with filters and tweaks applied to bring out details. You be the judge. If you do want to comment, be as supportive or as critical as you want, but please be constructive, as well.

UPDATE 11/21/2011: Larry respectfully requested that I remove the image from my blog. 

Happy Birthday Patty

Today is the 44th anniversary of the Roger Patterson/Bob Gimlin film. It is the greatest blobsquatch footage ever shot of Bigfoot. Is it real? Like everything else in the Bigfoot arena there is no consensus on the films authenticity. A couple of people have come forward since it was shot claiming to be the guy in the costume. Special Effects experts have claimed that a costume that complex did not exist in 1967. And a number of computer models have been done to determine if a human could walk that way. To add to the confusion, some have said a human could, some have said a human can’t.

Real or not, it has stood the test of time as far as being a seminal piece of Bigfoot history. I never saw the film until I was well into my adulthood. In 1974, I was eight and living in a small community in central Illinois. To the delight of every kid in the area, a documentary featuring the Patterson Gimlin film was coming to the theater on Main Street. We sat in a packed theater watching this film, waiting for the moment we would see a real live Bigfoot for the first time. The anticipation was agonizing. The crowd collectively leaned in closer to the enormous screen. We all wanted to get a good look. Suddenly, in the back of the theater a woman’s voice cried out, “Tad Roberts, this is your mother! Come here right now! There’s a tornado headed straight for us!”

A second passed and then the first scream let out followed by another and then another. People ran for the exits. My friend and I sat in our seats watching the chaos, all the while hoping the movie would continue. We wanted to see Bigfoot. Our hearts sank; the picture fluttered and then went white. The projectionist stopped the film. People were pushing and shoving each other, squeezing through the doors to the lobby. Still my friend and I sat there. They would start the film again. We knew it. It was just a tornado warning. Central Illinois got dozens of tornado warnings every year. It wasn’t going to hit us.

My friend’s father walked down the aisle and told us it was time to give up hope. They weren’t going to show the rest of the film. We both stood and walked dejected to the exit. A few hours later, Main Street was decimated by more than one small tornado that touched down. Cars were flipped upside down. Windows were shattered. Businesses were crippled, including the movie theater. The film would never make it back to the area. We missed our chance.

That was then. This is now. I’ve seen the film numerous times. I’ve even watched it on my phone. M.K. Davis was the first to do an incredible enhancement of the film and stabilize the creature for better viewing. His unusual theories aside, he really is responsible for giving the film a second life. Costume designer Bill Munns has done extensive work on the film trying to determine size and other details that have been discussed for nearly 50 years now.

Christopher Noels posted this video on his Impossible Visits Facebook page, and I have to say it is probably shows the best argument I’ve seen that this is an actual creature and not a guy in a costume.

Does Bigfoot get high?

Because Bigfoot got high, because he got high, because he got high!

For the sake of argument, let’s say the Ketchum report, the Erickson Project, the Olympic Project, and David Paulides (did I miss anyone?) all produce conclusive proof that there is such a creature as Bigfoot.  I can already hear some of you out there snickering.  I said “For the sake of argument,” so go with it.  Yes, it will pose huge anthropological implications for humans.  It will test this country’s reliance on our own natural resources.  It will push our government to take an even more restrictive approach to protecting forested lands.  Basically it would create a perfect storm of ideological conflict all over the planet.

But those questions are much too heady for my simple brain.  What I want to know is does Bigfoot get high?  Silly question, you say?  Not so silly, I retort!  There was a recent story on the Chicago Tribune website about the discovery of a large marijuana farm hidden within Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin.  For those of you who don’t know, National Forests are prime Bigfoot hangout spots.  The eight-foot-tall, hairy, bipedal, dude is a big fan of the great outdoors, especially where it’s particularly dense with trees for hiding and critters for eating.

This cannabis find is not an isolated event.  It happens quite regularly.  When I was a young man, even I came across some marijuana plants in the woods.  Pot growers will plant their seed anywhere they think it is out of sight of the prying eyes of state and federal officials.

So, does Bigfoot take advantage of the ganja planted in their backyards?  I’m not suggesting that the big guy is firing up a fatty.  I’m wondering if this currently unknown species of Hominid eats the 5 to 9 distinctive leaflets of the plant.  The plant has a very distinctive odor and does have some legitimate medicinal purposes.  By all accounts (although mythical they may be), Bigfoot is a higher order primate that displays sophisticated critical thinking skills.  It only stands to reason that they are aware of the plants health and healing benefits.  Couldn’t one deduce that such a creature does indeed consume its fair share of cannabis and in the process, party like a frat boy?  Let’s face it; a euphoric feeling is an unavoidable side effect of marijuana, no matter how it gets into your system.

So what say you, dear reader?  Is Bigfoot a pothead?

Biscardi, The Ketchum Report and Conspiracy Theories

The man behind the 2008 Bigfoot in a freezer hoax

Is there a coordinated effort in the Tom Biscardi camp to try and discredit the Ketchum Report? And if not coordinated, is Biscardi manipulating associates into stoking the fires of doubt that surround the report? The question has to be asked because the man who will be forever linked to one of the most famous Bigfoot hoaxes has connections with three vocal critics of Melba Ketchum. Those critics, Bigfoot Hunter, Richard Stubstad and Tim Fasano, have all come out publicly in the last few weeks expressing mistrust of Dr. Ketchum and maligning her character either subtly or maliciously. They all seem to be unanimous in their views on Ketchum’s Nondisclosure Agreement in particular. The implication they present is that Ketchum is trying to unfairly control all the findings of the study and therefore reap all the profit (if any profit is to be had).

It’s unclear where Bigfoot Hunter and Fasano are getting their information. They are accusing Ketchum of some pretty serious unethical behavior without serving up much in the way of evidence. Stubstad is a horse of a different color. He was once involved with Ketchum’s study, but refused to sign what he considered a much more restrictive NDA. He, at least, has some connection to the actual project.

It is said the Stubstad delivered material to Ketchum that came from Tom Biscardi. Some have speculated that the material did not make the cut so to speak and Biscardi has felt left out of the ongoing study and therefore out of the ongoing discussion about what could be groundbreaking evidence in the arena in which he’s dedicated so much of his life. Rightly or wrongly, he has the reputation as a man who yearns for fame and attention at any cost. One only has to watch him in Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie to witness firsthand his skill at manipulating people. That’s why I am willing to give Fasano, Bigfoot Hunter and Stubstad the benefit of the doubt here. They may be mere pawns in Biscardi’s scheme.

If there even is a scheme. This is all speculation on my part. I have no inside sources. Unfortunately, Biscardi’s past behavior conjures up a swarm of suspicion and mistrust and sends onlookers head on into a messy world of conspiracy theories. I know one thing about the world of Bigfoot, you have to keep one eye on the lookout for the big fella and one eye on the lookout for Biscardi.

The Ketchum Report

What does it say?

The years in the making story concerning the collection and analysis of DNA from an unknown species of primate living in North America was dubbed the Erickson Project by someone in the cryptozoology community when word of it first popped up on the scene.  The name is a  misnomer.  It was called that because a man by the name of Adrian Erickson started purchasing land that was said to be habituation sites for these animals and financed a study.  While Erickson is an integral cog in the wheel, it turns out that he is just one of a number of researchers who have submitted DNA to Dr. Melba Ketchum, a veterinarian who owns her own DNA testing facility.  She is the real owner of the findings in this case given that her name is attached to the actual paper that has reportedly been written and submitted for peer review.  When I read things that are supposedly about the Erickson Project, they don’t have anything to do with Erickson’s study.  I’ve even made the error on this blog.  They have to do with Ketchum’s study.  That’s why I’m suggesting we start referring to this as the Ketchum Report and not the Erickson Project.

The reason I think it’s important to make this distinction is because Dr. Ketchum seems to have done her due diligence to approach this from a purely scientific stand point.  She is playing by the established scientific communities rules.  Namely, she’s refrained from making any public claims to the specific findings of the study.  She’s appeared on radio shows and a few blogs discussing the general topic, but she’s stopped short of making any overt statements as to what the study has actually revealed.  Her closest revelation as to the outcome of the study so far is that she now believes that such an animal does indeed exist.

This approach is rarely taken in the world of cryptozoology simply because the majority of mainstream science habitually plays it safe by studying the known and steering clear of the unknown.  A few brave souls will stick their necks out and examine the outrageous, but their heads are usually placed on pikes for all of academia to spat upon.  The bulk of cryptozoological research is left to the curious every-man who takes well-meaning enthusiasm and turns it into amateur science.  A few get it right.  Most don’t.

The ones who get it wrong will turn personal hypotheses and stretch it out until it becomes fact.  They will call press conferences and make unfounded claims.  They will take to the internet and report rumor and speculation as reality.  They will respond to skeptics with anger and venom.  They will turn their research into material for public fodder because they jumped the gun.

Dr. Ketchum’s decision to stick to accepted scientific procedure has frustrated the crypto-fanatics to the point of madness.  Messageboards and blogs are digging through hearsay and supposed inside sources to satisfy their growing anxiety. Here are samples of what you might read in various online groups.

  •  Why must it take so long?
  • Why is Ketchum dragging her feet?
  • What is she trying to hide?
  • If she had something, it would be front page news by now.

The list goes on. Patience has worn thin among these otherwise reasonable people.  They’re not bad people. They just want the ridicule to end.  Like it or not, the Ketchum Report has become a beacon of hope for many eyewitnesses, researchers, and believers.  They’ve made the assumption that she’s proven what they already know to be true, there is undeniably a bipedal North American Ape out there, even though Dr. Ketchum hasn’t openly said that.  She’s hinted that good news is coming and that people will be pleased with her findings, but those statements are open to a wide variety of interpretations.

I came across of a Facebook group administered by Rhettman A Mullis Jr. called Bigfootology.  Mullis wrote a reasoned piece about the insanity surrounding the pending release of the Ketchum Report.  He quoted a Sally Ramey about the scientific procedure that Ketchum is following.  Ramey has experience in the world of academia with the peer-review process and she shared it with Mullis’ group.  I post it here in its entirety, but I urge you to read the entire piece by clicking here: Clarifying the insanity of rumor and false information.

Summary: Peer-review process

by Sally Ramey on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 4:58pm

Lots of people have recently been wondering about the process of publishing scientific papers. Here is the basic process, based on my experience doing PR in higher ed:

The researcher prepares a paper about their findings and submits it to a scientific journal for peer-review, which can take MONTHS. The paper is reviewed by a team of scientists with expertise in the discipline(s) involved in the researcher’s work. They decide if the research was conducted according to standards and practices accepted by the scientific community, and review the findings to see if they pass muster. It’s like a professor checking your work in college. If the review team has questions, they can ask the researcher to provide more info, run more tests, get someone else to run tests that replicate the work, etc. This can delay publication but it is sometimes necessary. ONLY after the review team is satisfied is the paper accepted for publication. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the scientific community’s “stamp of approval” that the work is valid.

The journal must then figure out when to publish the paper. Some journals work weeks/months in advance, adding further delay. Some work faster, meaning that the paper might run within a few weeks. At some point, the researcher is notified that they have a “pub date.” In my experience, you often only know about three weeks out when your paper will publish. Once there is a pub date, the researcher (typically university-based) works with their campus PR folks and the journal editorial and PR staff to be sure that images are prepared for publication, news releases are written and reviewed, and everyone is prepared for the announcement.

If the news is HUGE, the researcher will be interviewed by the science media, under a strict embargo, the week before the pub date. Most journals publish on Fridays and most embargos lift on Thursday afternoons. The science media, journal PR folks and university PR folks all post their stories and news releases upon the lifting of the embargo. This is why big science news seems to be posted everywhere at once. – it actually is.

If the story is HUGE HUGE HUGE, any news conference would be held when the embargo lifts, unless the journal allows it to happen early due to scheduling conflicts – the journal drives the schedule – no one else. And NO ONE can publicly discuss the paper, its pub date, what journal is involved, the findings or other contents in advance of the embargo or the journal will not publish the paper. This preserves the credibility and sanctity of the peer-review process. Hope this info is helpful.

The point of this post is that restraint is in order here, by all of us.  We need to keep our heads and let the process play out.  We are all anxious for results but we have to relax and wait.  Rumors are just that.  Speculate and vent if you must, but never lose sight that is what you are doing, speculating.

Update: It’s clear that some have read this post as a slight to Mr. Erickson. That’s not the case. It wasn’t my intention to denigrate his reported contribution to the DNA study. My intention here was to try to establish that these findings are more than an alleged habituation study and documentary.  It is true that Erickson’s work and Ketchum’s work are linked together, but it’s clear that the DNA study is the most significant element in these developments and has a greater opportunity to change some minds.

 

Is this a face in the woods?

For all my “normal” friends, run like hell because this is a Bigfoot post.  Recently a researcher by the name of Joe Black uploaded a video on Youtube that some say has the face of Bigfoot in it.  Other’s say those people are idiots, and it’s nothing more than shadows and light.  Some say they can see it move, while others say again, it’s nothing more than shadows and light.  I don’t know, but the video and analysis done by the Facebook Find Bigfoot folks has some people outraged.  I’ll admit I haven’t watched their video because I have found the last few videos they’ve done to be “unconventional,” to put it kindly.  And keep in mind, we’re talking “unconventional” for a Bigfoot group.  That is pretty hard to do.  In fact, the guys who want to be taken seriously for their research are spitting mad at this particular group because of the videos they do.  They have a following of over 11,000 people, so they do get a lot of attention when they do an analysis. 

I have watched the original video done by Joe, and my gut initially was that it’s merely a play of shadows and light.  It is intriguingly face-like, so I put it under a microscope so to speak, and it remained intriguing.  I see slight, slight movement, but that could be because the camera is moving (which is always the case with Bigfoot videos).  And there are a couple of frames where the big guy looks remarkably like Elvis, 70’s Las Vegas Elvis unfortunately.  

Here is a frame I pulled from the video that interested me the most.  It has a feature I can’t readily explain away.  The head appears to be turned toward the sunlight, and it looks like it catches a reflection of an eyeball.  It could be the result of matrixing, but my experience has been that matrixing appears to be more angular in nature.  I’ve purposely not pointed out the eyeball in the picture to see if you can spot it. 

I got my eye on you.

Could it be a hoax?  Certainly, but I will say I’ve followed Joe Black for a while now, and he seems really sincere.  That’s not to say someone isn’t hoaxing him, however, and you always have to consider that possibility. 

Feel free to weigh in if you wish.  I’m undecided myself.  It’s as impossible to prove the shadows and light and matrixing theories as it is to prove that there’s a large bipedal ape hiding in the woods.  There are too many possibilities to say this is the big guy himself, but I do think there’s enough here to give one pause, and we should all be given pause from time to time. 

BTW – Here’s Joe’s original video.

 

 

Update: In looking at the footage and stills again, I’ve come to the conclusion that the “eye” could very well be the center of  a flower.  I’m leaning towards shadows and light on this again.  I could be completely wrong.