Ketchum update: Might as well be Lemurians at this point

It’s time for an update to the never-ending, guaranteed ridiculous, saga of the Ketchum DNA study/project. The original piece that I wrote detailing issues upon publication of the study is here.  That piece gives you information about the results and the two spinoff websites from the project: The Sasquatch Genome Project which you can now get to but is THE WORST excuse for a website I’ve seen for a good, long while, and the Global Sasquatch Foundation (GSF) which apparently was revamped and accessible for a while but is now “forbidden” again. Notice that the URL is Melba Ketchum dot org. She has aligned herself, her identity, with Sasquatch preservation worldwide. Gutsy.

The GSF was apparently calling itself a non-profit. But this blogger, Over the line, Smokey! (tons of info here), has not been able to find the non-profit registered with the IRS or the state of Texas. Also of note, the site solicits donations to aid in Sasquatch protection. You could (supposedly, though since the site is unavailable now, so I can’t tell for sure) also purchase GSF-themed items. Is there another entity called “Friends of Sasquatch”? That has also appeared in passing. It’s very difficult to keep track of all the organizations, names, entities and the like that keep appearing. It’s very confusing. (On purpose?)

Here’s a snippet from OTL,S to demonstrate you are not alone in the confusion.

Denovo [journal that published the Ketchum paper] is the second coming of the never-published but allegedly-peer-reviewed “Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology”, which was almost published by the supposed “Foundation for Advanced Zoological Exploration,” whose supposed editorial secretary was/is the imaginary “Casey Mullins.” Are you keeping this all straight?

Is Casey Mullins a real person? Mullins, who supposedly was the editorial secretary of The Foundation for Advanced Zoological Exploration (FAZE), was listed as the person in charge. A Twitter account for Mullins exists but is rather poorly written to be from a person who could run a publication. There is also this basic blog associated with FAZE , an organization set to start publishing a journal in September 2013. What will IT’S name be, we can’t guess. However, the Mullins twitter account is curiously hostile to Bigfoot researcher Dr. Jeff Meldrum whom Ketchum is not fond of, apparently. It is curious that Mullins has no online history. Speculation abounds that it is not even a real person. Once again, we see what we are expected to believe is a “legitimate” venture launched in the cheapest, most non-credible way possible- a free Blogspot blog.

With regards to the paper itself, Melba and supporters have been linking to the few bit of press coverage in social media. She had an extremely unprofessional response to the April Fools paper fiasco, denying responsibility for it. Poor form – it’s YOUR PAPER, MELBA. But otherwise, it’s been sparse. I have found no word from her co-authors to bolster the paper’s results and help Ketchum out. From what little is available from the co-authors, they did lab work for the study but what role they played in the interpretation or how that qualified them as co-authors is unclear right now. That seems strange.

As I wrote here, there were SERIOUS issues with the genetics information presented in the paper. More questions have arisen that make the interpretation sound ridiculous and wrong. Yet, we await a comprehensive response by a actual qualified reviewer. Mostly, it has just gotten laughed at since it does not correspond to what a professionally done paper would look like. It is missing some key elements to help make sense of the data or to explain the strange things found in it.

The DNA appeared to match up a bit with lemur which was certainly odd. Ketchum has indeed affirmed that, saying it is more like a lemur and not an ape. So, the mystery Sasquatch ancestor father was a “Lemurian“? Seriously, this is a GOOD joke. Someone please mention Atlantis. OK, I’ll do it. ATLANTIS! Bigfoot ancestors came from Atlantis. I’m now wondering if the whole “angel DNA”/Nephilim thing was actually something that WAS suggested. The insanity of these claims is already at that level.

I apologize for sounding snarky and dismissive but I believe we’ve all been patient enough. For such an extraordinary claim (and it gets a bit more extraordinary every day), the world deserves better due diligence and serious attention to detail than this. Especially since the results seem to go against much of what we know about biology…

Ketchum went on Coast to Coast AM again and admitted that her data does not fall in line with “Darwin’s theory of evolution”. When your findings dispute such a well-established, overarching explanation for life on earth, you might consider that you have made some major mistakes. I’ll be frank, just her equating evolution with Darwin, specifically, personifying the idea by implicating it was attributable to one person, removes every single shred of scientific integrity she had as an animal researcher. Not that there was anything much left there anyways. In my opinion, she is sounding more like a supernaturalist proposing some outrageous idea about the creatures that suggest they are not of this earth; I sense the Bible will soon be mentioned as a reference source.

Let’s check in on the Sierra Kills controversy. Supposedly, Justin Smeja killed two Sasquatch creatures and went back to collect a sample of flesh from one. Disputes and inconsistencies characterize the sample itself, known as the “steak” and the alleged killing of the creatures. The sample was apparently included in the Ketchum study and was correlated with the other hybrid results but Smeja’s own test revealed bear and human (his own DNA). We also have a he says/she says thing going as Smeja alleges Melba can manipulate the samples. It’s nasty out there for a ‘footer. I found no information that Smeja’s boots  – that have remnants of blood from the juvenile creature  – have been tested. The boots are like some metaphorical “smoking gun” that interested parties wish to see. The Smeja story may appear on this new show. What to believe? It’s safe to assume one should believe absolutely nothing about anything related to Bigfoot right now.

Another aside provided some nails for the coffin of the Erickson Project, which supposedly had high-definition video of the creatures. Bill Munns, bigfoot researcher, claims that he obtained photos from the “sleeping Sasquatch” video released with the Ketchum paper. His apparently unauthorized photos showed a very fake face for the creature that strongly resembles a Chewbacca wookie mask from the Star Wars movies. That revelation caused a few commentators here and there to admit THEY were the person in the suit for this shoot. As I said above, I don’t believe anything coming out of Bigfoot blogs anymore, especially in comments. But what’s even a more interesting aside is that Chewbacca was first envisioned as a lemur-like creature by George Lucas? I’m gobsmacked.

In summary, we have ZERO positive news on the paper and in the wake of its circus of a release, the clownery continues unabated from inside and outside, Lemurians and all. April 1st is coming up pretty soon. Wonder what that day will bring us…

Finally, I apologize again for the tone of this piece but after a while, you lose patience with people feeding out bucket after bucket of crap.

Revised for minor grammatical changes at 10:56

  25 comments for “Ketchum update: Might as well be Lemurians at this point

  1. kamamer
    March 15, 2013 at 10:17 AM
  2. March 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    If you weren’t so tired of this topic, I’d probably beg you to come on SFR to talk about it…I don’t think anyone knows more about this specific story than you. Good work Sharon, thanks for keep us up to date.

  3. Eve
    March 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I get “page not found” for the Sasquatch Genome Project. That’s unfortunate because, if it’s as bad as you say, I was going to use it in class. We’ve already looked at DeNovo.

  4. March 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I visited the Sasquatch Genome Project home page, and was amused to see that right in the middle of the page it says THIS IS SOMEWHAT EMBARRASSING, ISN’T IT?

  5. March 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Lemurs, Angels, Panda Bears, what does it matter, as long as they are protected? Save the forest people! Curious they are *people*; when the DNA tested, appears to have been dropped into a blender beforehand and includes a bit of everything.

  6. March 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Bobby, I’d do it for you guys.

  7. March 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I can’t take the Sasquatch Genome Project website seriously at all. Over the years, I’ve noticed that a lot of these groups and folks who wish to be taken seriously never bother to upgrade their websites beyond the popular schemes and colors of the mid 1990s. WordPress and Blogger offer many nice skins to use that always appear more professional than some copy and paste code from a Geocities or Angelfire chat board.

  8. March 15, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Very good work, Sharon! I only disagree with you on just one thing. It’s your sentence: “I apologize again for the tone of this piece but after a while, you lose patience with people feeding out bucket after bucket of crap.”

    YOU NEED NOT APOLOGIZE! If something is crap and mere bullshit, you’re entitled to call it crap or bullshit. Otherwise you’d be a liar.

  9. Lee Speigel
    March 15, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Kudos to Sharon for her coverage of this… I’ve written several Huffington Post stories about the Melba Ketchum Bigfoot DNA issue and have come under heat from both her camp and from readers — all of whom felt I didn’t give her a fair shake. Re. the readers, they often don’t get their criticisms straight because they don’t carefully read the stories, and therefore, made up stuff that wasn’t even in the story and then claimed I didn’t do a good job of reporting.

    Re. Ketchum, In mid-February, I received an email from her PR rep, Robin Lynn, who felt that “most of the ground-breaking science in the paper is getting lost in all the controversy about the circumstances of publication.” She’s absolutely correct. She also pointed out that they had just received some further scientific evaluation in support of Ketchum’s Bigfoot study, and that they were expecting more analysis from “top-level geneticists who are doing their own study of Dr. Ketchum’s raw data.”

    In my response to Lynn, I clarified that, in none of my stories did I ever suggest that Ketchum’s research was corrupted or irresponsible in any way. My main critical objection was how she went about getting it peer-reviewed in a real scientific journal. Her methods involving the DeNovo Journal were so questionable that it damaged her overall credibility factor at that point — it tainted the positive work she was trying to get noticed by the scientific community.

    I told Lynn that if she and Ketchum get half a dozen or so truly independent analytical scientists to support their DNA findings, thus suggesting the reality of Bigfoot, and if they put me in contact with these scientists, I’ll write another story and help to re-balance the whole picture.

    That was in mid-February…I’ve not heard back from the Ketchum camp since.

    Good intentions and bad decisions can often be the downfall of credibility.

  10. March 15, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Lee: I doubt that is going to happen. She has had plenty of opportunity to squeeze some credibility out of this. It’s been fail after fail. IF (I wish I could make that ‘if’ HUGE) there is anything of value in this paper, she has been unprofessional and irresponsible in handling it and presenting it. That’s unforgivable. Since all we can see is what we’ve been shown, it’s all about Ketchum, not about the grand goal of showing Sasquatch is real which certainly has not seemed to be priority one in this case. Money and ego, not integrity, have been the main players in this story.

  11. March 15, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Hubbard manufactured Scientology. Wonder what Ketchum’s going to manufacture to maintain and control her congregation of believers.

  12. kamamer
    March 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Why does in the Sasquatch Genome Project page title tag it actually say “page not found”?

    Page not found | Sasquatch Genome Project

  13. March 15, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    ALL her websites are loaded with glitches like this.

  14. Lee Speigel
    March 15, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    If only someone could set me up to do an interview with Bigfoot. DAMN, that would probably solve all this controversy. I know, I know, my life is a fantasy of wanting to talk with hairy creatures, hairless aliens and hump-backed lake monsters. My family just doesn’t understand me…

  15. March 15, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    The full SGP home page is still there, you just have to remove “/home” from the URL:
    http://sasquatchgenomeproject.org
    Very sloppy.

  16. March 15, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    For all of the fodder she provides to work with, taking a shot at her website design should probably be avoided. In the future I would leave out the design/implementation comments. Yes it is jarring and buggy but fundamentally how her crappy website is the least of her issues. The bigger issue here is that she thinks she is on to something big and has put on blinders and refuses to back down. Anyone with an ounce of objectivity can see that she needs to pull the plug on this farce. For some reason she isn’t and when the end comes it may be very ugly.

  17. March 15, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    2112: I disagree. Presentation is important. These cheap and careless websites signals that she is not serious about her work, especially if it makes it tremendously difficult to access and understand, which is has. With the web technology these days, there is NO excuse for this.

  18. March 15, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Don’t give up on bigfoot Sharon, I need these for a break from the San Francisco sea serpent thread over at the Skeptic’s Society forum.

  19. March 15, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Good point. To clarify when I read the article, this phrase “THE WORST excuse for a website I’ve seen for a good, long while” strikes me as a cheap shot, and I would have worded it different. If you had phrased it more like your reply to me I would have been okay with it. “cheap and careless websites signals that she is not serious about her work” puts it to context.

    The fact that you don’t typically engage in this kind of thing keeps me coming back here as opposed to other skeptic blogs that are heavier on the snark.

  20. March 15, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    2112: I am losing patience with her so the snark does come out on occasion. What’s interesting is that I’m often called out when I get angry and blow up. As if I’m not allowed to lose my temper. But if I do, it means I’m really mad and have been holding it in. It’s tough to be “nice” all the time.

  21. March 16, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    This site is incredibly professional Sharon. Personally I like to see you get a little snarky now and then. You more than earn it with an admirably mature attitude.

    2112, it’s important to note as you stated, that she doesn’t typically engage in that kind of thing.

  22. Brad
    March 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    With regard to the broken Sasquatch Genome website, looking at the HTML for the home page I saw links to a secure (https) instance. Curious, I pointed my browser to https://www.sasquatchgenomeproject.org. There are problems on that site, too, namely a self-signed security certificate for http://www.sasquatchgenomeproject.org, and then secure content pointing to simply “sasquatchgenomeproject.org” (missing the leading “www.”, which causes another security prompt because the certificate was issued for a site with the leading “www.” in the name.) But after telling my browser to ignore the errors, I actually got some content.

    Overall, the above gives the impression it was put together by someone who doesn’t really understand how to set up a modern web server and just kept hacking at it until he/she got something that would display.

  23. March 16, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Brad: Thanks for that. Interesting and more evidence that no one knows what they are doing there.

  24. Pam
    March 26, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    The tone of your article is nothing to apologize for. I wanted to believe in Bigfoot. What Ketchum is doing goes beyond a hoax. I don’t even have that big of an issue with falling for a well crafted hoax or prank. It bums me a little, but I say shucks, feel silly and move on. But pulling one over on people and what she’s doing is very different. If she’s not bat-doodoo crazy, then she’s totally a horrible woman and karma will hopefully rear it’s head and bite her in her hind quarters.

    Nice article. Appropriate tone.

  25. March 26, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Imagine someone opens an online bookstore. You buy a book. The book never comes. You discover the site was a fraud. Someone opens another online bookstore. You buy another book. The book never comes. You discover the people who founded it were so incompetent they couldn’t get the site to process orders correctly. Everyone just gave up and didn’t care to refund money. Someone opens a third online bookstore. You buy a book, again. That book again does not come. You get a box full of socks. Turns out the person who opened that online store wasn’t able to get contracts with publishers and decided everyone can use socks. So. You got socks. Someone opens a fourth online bookstore. They promise up and down they’re not at all like the other three online bookstores. Honest. They got it all figure out. Honest.

    Do you buy a book from them? You would be forgiven if your skepticism was overpowering. The True Believers in the Honest Online Bookstore claim you’re too closed minded and think you probably have a sad, little life. Why are you greeting this announcement of an online bookstore with anger, insults, and shoot-from-the-hip humor? The True Believers in the Honest Online Bookstore, mind you, never got a book from any store themselves. But they swear they heard of someone who did. That person can’t produce the book or the FEDEX deliver slip, mind you.

    Would the thrice-bitten book lover be unjustified in her/his seemingly overwrought skepticism and demands for some pretty iron clad evidence that this online bookstore can deliver books when all other attempts have failed due to greed and mind-numbing incompetence?

    Welcome, bigfoot believers.

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