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.

The tale of a Bigfoot fetus?

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.

Frame grab from the Erickson Project

So, Adrian Erickson recently did an interview in the Maple Ridge News (which sounds so Norman Rockwellian). It is fairly interesting and contained some information in it that I was not aware of. Here’s a link to Part One of the article: Sasquatch:Is it out there? It came out in the online version and print version of the Maple Ridge News. That’s significant, because the print version had an added element to the story. They included a picture of a frame from the Erickson documentary that supposedly has clear HD footage of a number of Sasquatches or Sasquatchi or Sasquai or Sassy’s or whatever the hell the plural is for Sasquatch. Anyway, the frame grab is of a female Sasquatch sleeping under a tree. It appears (appears meaning I’m speculating) that Erickson did not want a clean digital version of the frame grab online, so they were only allowed to put it in the print version.

The problem is an industrious member of the Bigfoot Forums snapped a picture of the newspaper and posted the twice removed image in the forums. I believe Mr. Erickson would have been better off letting the paper post the original image on their website because a picture of a picture is fuzzy and unclear, and it’s also not protected by copyright.

I’m posting the picture here for no other reason than it exists. I don’t endorse it. I don’t decry it. I don’t weep over it and thank the god’s above or curse the demons below. It’s a picture of picture that’s not a photograph, but a frame grab.  BTW – I tweaked the “creature” to bring out details. You can’t see her face.  She is lying in the fetal position with her head ducked down under her arm to shade herself from the sun.  That’s their description.  Not mine.  I will punch you if you accuse me of saying this image is legitimate.  I don’t know if it is.  I don’t know if it’s not. That’s the point.

One more thing, the original is not black and white.  Remember this was a picture taken of a picture in newspaper.

Note: Someone’s already come up with a different interpretation of the image.  They think the head is at the other end.  That’s the problem with blobsquatches.

Note 2: The Bigfoot Forums member just sent me a note and let me know he got the picture from a Facebook group.

Note 3: The Oregon Bigfoot Blog has a interpretation of the photo that makes me doubt mine.  Instead of the hand grasping its shoulder, they’ve made a pretty good case that hand is actually by the head.  Same fetal position, but arm is different than my outline.  Erickson Project Photo Release

Updated images on 8/20/2011

 

 

 

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.

 

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.