If Bigfoot have opposable thumbs, we're in trouble.
If you are not a fan of rumor and conjecture, you aren’t going to like today’s post because that’s all I have. In addition, if you’re not one of my Bigfoot (BF) readers, you’re really not going to like today’s post because rumor and conjecture are swirling around the big guy, or should I say big gal. The distinction will make sense as you read on.
Now, there are a number of sources for what you will see on this blog today, and I don’t have qualified verification for any of their claims. Granted, I’m of the position that the only verification that is worthwhile is actual physical proof, so even if I did have multiple sources that I trusted, I would advice that you view all of this with a skeptical eye. On with the story.
Those of you with an interest in BF are probably well aware of Dr. Melba Ketchum (Dr. K) and her DNA study. I wrote about it initially in a post called The Ketchum Report. Dr. K has become somewhat of a folk hero among a majority of the BF devotees. She has done something that only a select few have done before her; apply science to the BF question. Her report has been frustratingly dangled in front of the BF community as a carrot of hope for a few years now. There has been plenty of buzz about the report and what it says, but there has been no actual report produced. Proponents will tell you that it is because this is a paper that has been submitted for peer review to a scientific journal, and these things take time. I’ve made this argument myself. Opponents say the delays are simply due to the fact that Dr. K’s paper reveals nothing, so she and her cohorts are milking as much publicity out of this as possible. The two sides have been waging a war of words virtually since the first hints of the DNA study. For Dr. K’s part, she’s said remarkably little about the study. Her reason for keeping quiet? Scientific journals don’t like a lot of pre-publication chatter about the studies they publish. They tend to prefer that the science take center stage and not over-hyped sensationalism. A study about a living non-human 8’ tall bipedal hominid comes with a lot of tabloid baggage, and that a scientific journal of any merit would give it serious consideration is a miracle in and of itself, which leads us to our first rumor.
Blogger Robert Lindsay has been cranking out some fascinating posts about Dr. K and her study for some time now. Lindsay is an interesting character. The number of people who revile him is only matched by the number of people who admire him. To put it kindly, he is a lightning rod of controversy. I dare say if you ever read his blog, you will find something that will disgust and anger you. And, that is exactly how Lindsay wants it. In the interest of complete disclosure, I don’t like his views on race or politics, but I can’t help but like him. He’s an open book and there’s something inherently likable about that.
Lindsay has much more faith in his sources than I do. He’s started a number of his posts with “We can now report.” Meaning, he’s confident enough in his sources to share their information as fact. He started his latest blog post on BF, Bigfoot News October 10, 2011, in just such a way. In this particular post, he is making the claim that the science journal Nature has accepted Dr. K’s (and her co-authors) paper for review. Normally, I would pass this off as wishful thinking by Lindsay’s source, but I was contacted on this blog and via private messaging by an individual weeks ago insisting the paper was under peer review by Nature. Is my source the same individual? I don’t know, but I do find it interesting that Lindsay, and I both received the same information. I didn’t report on it then, because there was just no way for me to confirm it. I present it to you here as still unconfirmed information.
The second part of the Nature rumor is the second most sensational thing you will read here today. Lindsay is reporting that the editors of the journal called Dr. K in for a meeting with them at their headquarters in London. Separately, an AJ Ciani reported on the BF Forums that Dr. K met with members of a review panel in Europe. Again, how reliable the sources are in this case is unknown. If true, it is an unprecedented move by a scientific journal. They don’t meet with the authors of a study as a rule, and this has skeptics dismissing the rumors out of hand. I am of the belief if Dr. K’s study has met all criteria and is credible, they would almost have to meet with her and members of her team before publishing a paper about a topic that is usually relegated to the pages of tabloid magazines. If the paper unquestionably proves the existence of such a creature, they must take every precaution before publication. But that’s just my opinion.
Now for the most sensational thing you will read here today. I wrote an article for Blogcritics titled The Mystery Over The Existence of Bigfoot Continues. In that article, I talked about a man by the name of Justin Smeja and his claim that he shot and killed two BF creatures in the Sierra Mountains in California. His story would have been tucked away as complete nonsense if not for the Olympic Project (OP). The OP is a group of BF researches that has a stellar reputation within the BF community. They verified Smeja’s story. Smeja, in fact, joined their group after contacting them about his story. Without boring you with all the details, Smeja didn’t just have a story, he had a specimen. What that specimen actually is, has come under some speculation. Smeja claims publicly that it is a piece of flesh from the thigh of the adult that was killed (an adult and juvenile were supposedly killed). He cut a piece from this specimen and sent it to Dr. K to include in her study, and “read between the lines” statements from Smeja and the OP suggest that the sample did match other samples in the study as being from a BF.
Things started to get weird (believe it or not, I haven’t even scratched the surface of weird yet) when the OP talked about the gender of the adult. It was referred to as “she,” on a number of occasions, but at some point, an emphasis was made that the gender could not be disclosed because of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). Some of us wondered publicly why the gender would come under an NDA. What possible difference could it make? It just didn’t make sense, until this week. It was revealed in a public chat group that the adult that was allegedly shot was indeed a pregnant female. Now, Smeja originally claimed he saw the adult at a distance of 80 yards through his rifle scope, and by his own admission, he didn’t know what it was beyond describing it as a monster. Once he shot the BF, it ran off, never to be seen whole again. He found the flesh sometime later. How then could he know that the BF was pregnant? Asking that question led to the revelation that a fetus may have been recovered from the shooting. While this sounds completely whacky, it does match up with previous claims that they have hair, flesh, blood and bones included in Dr. K’s study. Before Smeja’s Sierra shooting story, the only things mentioned in the study were blood, saliva and hair. After Smeja’s story, flesh and bone were included in the samples description.
I have to reiterate. What you read here today is not presented as fact in any way. These are all public conversations currently going on throughout the BF community. Skeptics are having a good laugh and marveling at the gullibility of those who believe in BF. But, I can tell you that very few of those involved in the conversation are accepting it for anything other than what it is, speculation. Dr. K is not talking, and I can tell you from personal experience people with connections to the study are giving the standard, “I cannot confirm or deny” response to inquiries. For now, this is just an interesting collection of stories. Nothing can be verified beyond a shadow of a doubt until Dr. K’s paper is published.