The NABS’ role in the ongoing Sasquatch DNA study

Founded in 2004

I realize it’s been Bigfoot central around here lately, but all signs are pointing to a major roll out of information over the coming weeks, and rumors, intrigue, speculation, etc. are at an all time high.  I’ve never seen a frenzy like this before.

A few days ago, I emailed the North American Bigfoot Search (NABS) about their director’s, David Paulides, upcoming appearance at the Honobia Bigfoot Festival and Conference.  I knew he had close ties to Dr. Ketchum and has even handled inquiries for her about the DNA analysis she’s doing (or has done depending on who you ask).  So, I asked point blank what they plan to talk about. You can read their answer here: Updateon Dr. Ketchum’s scheduled appearance at Honobia Bigfoot Festival andConference.

In addition to that particular answer they included the following information:

In a past blog you had used the word “Erickson Project.” For clarity purposes, North America Bigfoot search did a due diligence search and found Dr. Ketchum and utilized her to start a DNA project for us. We worked with her for many months on several specimens, she was not working with anyone else at that time. Dr. Ketchum and NABS decided we wanted a cross section of samples from North America and David Paulides and Dr. Ketchum went onto Coast to Coast radio and solicited others who had bigfoot samples to participate in our study at no cost to them. Erickson along with dozens of others (Individuals and Research Groups) listened to that show and started to participate.

I had actually recognized my mistake on that particular issue a couple of weeks ago, and wrote a blog post about it (The Ketchum Report). To be frank, I’ve noticed a subtle effort on the part of the Ketchum camp to distance themselves from the Erickson Project.  I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve seen it noted and corrected a few times that The Ketchum Report and the Erickson Project are two separate entities.  I would go so far as to say that point has been stressed on a number of occasions.

Since I had the ear of the NABS, I decided to ask them a few questions I had on my mind.  Nothing too probing, just stuff I’ve been thinking about. Here are those questions and answers for your own edification.

1. Generic DNA question: Is it your understanding that DNA without a living specimen is enough for the scientific community to recognize the existence of a species?

DNA is the fingerprint of life, it is what identifies species. If DNA has been generally accepted by science as being the key identification factor of any species, why wouldn’t this be enough….If the DNA in this study is unique…

2. From an outsider looking in, there appears to be a high degree of mudslinging and discontent among a few of the Bigfoot organizations and personalities.  Would you agree and if so, what do you think accounts for this behavior?

NABS will not and has not slung any dirt, we won’t participate in that behavior.  If you look at the history of bigfoot research going back 50 years almost all of the major books had “ape” in the title. What happens to the level of sales of those books if the DNA comes back as some type of human? Most of the “Big-Name” researchers from the last 50 years have bought into bigfoot being an ape and have leveraged sales of their books, websites, TV appearances and lectures on the ape theory, what happens to their ability to generate income if bigfoot DNA comes back as some type of human? We believe that many of these researchers are quite nervous about their position going forward if their hypothesis is proven wrong. NABS does not understand why these same researchers have completely ignored what Native Americans and First Nations People have stated, bigfoot is human and it is another tribe…David Paulides went into this topic and explained our hypothesis very thoroughly in “The Hoopa Project” and Tribal Bigfoot”.

3. Some in the community have expressed concerns over the NDA issue.  There are those who have experience submitting peer reviewed material and say NDAs were never a part of their process.  I’m wondering if you can address the need for NDAs concerning this DNA study?  In particular, people have commented that this is an attempt to control the purse strings and keep all the profits.  Do you anticipate that the study will lead to opportunities to make money or is that even a concern?

Prior to coming into bigfoot research David Paulides came from a technology background. All technology projects are covered by NDA’s, they are all considered intellectual property and all have value. The bigfoot DNA project has value as hundreds of thousands of dollars has been committed to the project. The people who committed to the project have the right to control whatever portion of the information they deem necessary. The reality, when scientists deliver white papers to science journals, these papers will not get peer reviewed unless the scientists reviewing the document have the first look at the facts behind science. If people are talking about the reality and facts behind the study, then those scientists don’t have the first look and peer review does not occur. Dr. Ketchum wants scientists who are not involved in this project to give the study their stamp of scientific approval (peer review) as this will quell much of the attacks the fringe element has tried to generate.

We have all seen fiasco’s occur in the way crypto research has been handled in the past, the bigfoot DNA project will not follow that path, it will follow protocol established in the scientific community.

4. Whenever contacted about his documentary, Adrian Erickson’s response has been that he won’t release the video until the DNA is released. Given that it was the NABS that initially brought Dr. Ketchum into the project and started the DNA analysis, can you confirm that there is no contractual link between the Erickson project and the Ketchum DNA report?

We have no idea if a relationship exists or what therelationship is between Dr Ketchum and Mr. Erickson.

5. The DNA study aside, there have been a number of eyewitnesses that attribute very human-like behavior to Sasquatch.  If it is true that these creatures are more human than ape, yet not totally human, how do you think we should proceed as a society in dealing with their rights?  One would think that habitat preservation won’t be enough.  Won’t we have to take steps to ensure that their culture is preserved, as well?

We will go back to “The Hoopa Project” and “Tribal Bigfoot”. Witnesses signed affidavits to what they viewed and their signtings were recorded in Mr. Paulides’ books. The best law enforcement forensic artist in the world, Harvey Pratt was brought in by NABS to meet with witnesses and draw what they observed, it was shocking to us at the time. Witnesses described a very human looking biped, that is what Mr. Pratt drew and all of the witnesses validated the sketches in the books as what they observed. We will acknowledge that bigfoot has physical differences to the point that humans are different. If you were from a jungle tribe in the Amazon and were put in a room with an NBA player, then a first Nations person, a Chinese person and a Norwegian, the tribal member would be in total shock at the physical differences, these are the same differences you will see in bigfoot, again explained in Mr. paulides’ books.

If bigfoot has DNA confirmed as Homo Sapiens, laws are in place to protect the biped, nothing needs to be done.

If bigfoot DNA comes back as something different then us, then laws have to be written protecting the species from us….

And scene.  I appreciate the NABS for taking the time to answer my questions.  And now to step away from all things Bigfoot and get back to writing Book Five of the Oz Chronicles.

Are they people? (An Erickson Project post)

What makes people people?

Welcome to a weird philosophical rant today.  It will meander.  It will test the boundaries of comprehension and logic.  And, it will make you roll your eyes.  But, I’m a writer who sits around thinking about imaginary crap all day, what do expect?

My recent post about a face in the woods (which is most likely just shadows and light) coupled with the recent spate of discussions about the Erickson Project in several cryptozoology groups has me wondering if we’re prepared for the discovery of a bipedal non-human species that demonstrates advanced cognitive thinking.  Far more advanced than known apes, and maybe even as advanced as Homo sapiens. 

For those of you who don’t know, the Erickson Project concerns Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, if you prefer.  The people involved claimed to have been studying several family groups of the creature in the wilds of North America.  They purport to have clear video evidence and DNA samples to back up their claims.  The project started in 2005 in Kentucky and has expanded to include areas throughout the US and Canada.   They say it has taken them some time to collect viable DNA samples for testing, and since there is no matching DNA in the current database, it has taken a lot of patience and effort to verify the results and officially identify Sasquatch as a new species.  They either have or are planning to submit their findings for peer review and a documentary is in the works.  

Everyone in the Bigfoot sphere of interest is highly skeptical.  Not so much because of the people involved with the Erickson Project, but because of past claims of clear video evidence and DNA samples made by others over the years that all proved to be bogus.  It’s because of these past experiences the Erickson Project folks are being so methodical and quiet about their research.  I sent an email to the contact address on their website inquiring about the release date of the documentary and got back a curt response saying nothing would be released until the DNA evidence is officially verified. 

So, for the time being we are left in the lurch.  The Erickson project could be the real deal, or it could be as real as the tiger blood coursing through Charlie Sheen’s veins.  But let’s pretend for a moment that the Erickson Project does reveal without question that there are non-human bipedal creatures roaming the forests of this continent.   They have been stealth and smart enough to remain hidden for hundreds of thousands of years from humans, or at the very least since recorded time.  They may even have a primitive language, a culture, a cooperative existence, etc.  They are not super natural beings.  They are wholly natural beings, and they’ve made a conscious decision that the key to their survival is to stay away from humans.   It is in their nature to distrust us. 

Unfortunately, it is in our nature to discover them, so we have to ask ourselves how we’re going to classify them when we do.  Are they people?  Do they have the same rights as us, or since they are a different species are we going to try to dictate the state of their existence from the time of their discovery on?  Remember, we’re not talking about an animal that lives by instinct alone.  They think things through.  They communicate to others within their species.  They consciously respect the borders of civilization and choose not to cross them.  In effect, they live as primitive humans. 

Admittedly, I’m extrapolating a lot for the sake of this discussion, but I feel most of what I have said is fairly reasonable based on eyewitness accounts and current theories.  They are not simply an animal.  They are an animal with an intelligence we’ve never encountered before outside of our own species.  The question remains what does that make them and how should we treat them when they are discovered?  I suggest we don’t make them adapt to us.  We should adapt to them.  We shouldn’t treat them like people because frankly, we don’t have a great history of treating people who are different from us very well in this country.  Just ask the Native Americans.  In fact, perhaps we should take this opportunity to adopt the strategy we should have adopted with the indigenous people of this country when we first landed on the shores of North America.  Let this new species be their own nation within our nation.  They’ve lived harmoniously with the wild since their beginning.   Let’s keep it that way.  Let’s not try to manage them or change them.  Unfortunately, we will have to protect them from us because our history has also shown that we don’t really respect the things we discover.  Our curiosity and fears tend to drive us to do stupid and selfish things.  But the laws we make should pertain to our species not theirs.  They’ve never threatened us or required anything from us.  Let’s keep it that way.

Okay, now you can stop pretending.  If the Erickson Project turns out to be nonsense like a lot of people fear, then it’s all a moot point.   Just keep it in mind in case they actually do come through with conclusive proof.