Over the Line, Smokey! sees that the Peru freakotourism folks have another incentive for the Lloyd Pye/elongated skulls tour (see previous updates to this post), in addition to whatever meaningless DNA results Dr. Ketchum will toss out. Now they are promising that a documentary of the trip will be made and aired on television! Your children will see you, looking all baffled and serious, on cable!!
Over the Line, Smokey! sees this as the natural evolutionary product of the “vanity book” idea. It’s like the “Who’s Who in American _______ ” (fill in the blank with a profession) series; the publishers of these books send out mass mailers to everyone in the professional field of ________ (fill in the blank) and a large number of those professionals will respond with a short biography and a check for $___ (fill in the blank. The publisher rakes in the cash and turns out a book that many libraries actually buy, and of course the subjects purchase for only $99.95 plus shipping and handling. The book contains their unedited biography/self-appraisal, in a tiny font, along with that of literally thousands of other vain individuals. Thus their children will be able to see how famous (?) they are/were. Of course, an elongated-skull documentary in which you are a paying bystander isn’t quite the same; appearing for 3 seconds as a gawker in a “crowd shot” on cable is not exactly a claim to fame; unless of course you have no other. Think of those ever-present people in the background on “Antique Roadshow.” But the tour people make it sound like much more:
For us, needless to say, this is outstanding news! To become a central part of a new documentary film about incredible subjects in a highly mysterious part of the world is flattering indeed! Also, those who join us will become a part of the documentary (everyone going has to sign a release to be in the film). So if you’re on the lam, hiding from authorities, DON’T COME!!!! Your cover will be blown wide open! But if you’d like to leave a terrific legacy for your kids and/or grandkids, this is the kind of investment I’d urge you to make!
Investment? Really? a record of how you spent $5000-10,000 to look like a rube?
OTL,S!, while reluctant to comment on other aspects of “bigfoot culture”, has noticed that a member of the bigfoot “community” is using this “vanity documentary” idea for profit: a Mr. William Munns, a former makeup-costume artist, is proposing to include bigfoot investigators in a two-hour documentary that he, apparently, will produce, write and direct. Never mind that Mr. Munns has apparently never produced, written, or directed a documentary, or that what seems to have been his last job as costume/special effects person ended in his being fired, way back in 1985, according to this site. Nonetheless, on the crowd-sourcing site Indiegogo, Mr. Munns trumpets that his documentary will be of such quality that it will be entered into multiple film festivals and eligible for “Academy Awards”! Mr. Munns seems to have a great quantity of old and new bigfoot films to include in this project, but it is unclear what he is trying to accomplish, as the field is littered with anecdotal accounts, hoaxers, and downright fraud, yet no actual bigfoots. From what is shown at his site, Mr. Munns’ principal argument for the existence of bigfoot seems to us to be that he is unable to create a credible bigfoot costume. OTL,S! appreciates Mr. Munns’ frankness on that issue, but it hardly seems “documentary-worthy.” Nor does OTL,S! see how the inclusion of a number of other bigfoot investigators, all of whom have also failed to prove the reality of “bigfoot”, would make this putative two-hour documentary anything other than a record of failure, an inverse vanity production, if you will. Will Dr. Ketchum be included?
But, of course, by all odds it’s not going to be made. There is the beauty of vanity. Just the thought of being on television is enough to raise money, regardless of the reality.
Mr. Munns says he needs $12,000 to get started. So, of course, that has to be paid by someone, and OTL,S! is guessing that Mr. Munns has contacted the prominent bigfoot investigators, and the “someones” who kick in dollars will hope to be the ones who get 30 seconds of face time describing their bigfoot investigations, in an Academy-Award-eligible documentary. Kind of a “Who’s Who in American Bigfoot Investigation.” OTL,S! is not sure that would turn out to be a good way for your children to remember you, but to each his own. But that is, of course, irrelevant: it seems clear that Mr. Munns isn’t really going to raise $12,000 at Indiegogo. No matter; the site allows Mr. Munns to keep whatever money is pledged, regardless. Buzinga. As of this writing, Mr. Munns is clearing a thousand dollars.
OTL,S! congratulates Mr. Munns for this inventive entrepreneurial vanity offering. And of course, kudos to the freakotourism folks. We were all on local kids’ television shows when we were 6 years old, and it was a big deal to us and our moms…then.
Dr. Ketchum seems to be giving the Elongated Skull freakotourist people a familiar story:
I have just heard from our lead geneticist that 3 COMPLETE GENOMES may be tested from 3 of the most intact and most intriguing of the Elongated Skulls of Peru…stay tuned for an update…
and they are using it as a marketing tool:
Attendants [to the Lloyd Pye tour] will get special access to the Paracas skulls, the latest in the DNA results, and could be part of history in the making, on video…
Julie Mortenson Nephilim or Anunnaki/Human hybrids?
I can’t wait to find out what they find when looking at genomes of elongated skull people.
Of course, not only will it be meaningless in terms of explaining elongated skulls, it may be secret-sauced into artifactual alienity. Regardless, odds are it won’t be reviewed by anyone who is qualified; Dr. Ketchum has learned her lesson; it will just be “Melba Ketchum says,” for what that’s worth.
Another whacky individual tries to fit Dr. Ketchum’s bizarre “paper” into his own nutty world view. which includes miraculous transmutation of iron into manganese by fish, through “phonon frequency matching”.
Some samples of his disordered thinking on Ketchum’s statements:
…presenting a series of anomalies that, taken altogether, are highly indicative of a long-term global program of genetic engineering in conjunction with population management.
the troglodytic lifestyle of the Sasquatch species lends support for the existence of parallel subterranean human populations.
The recurring cataclysmic loss of spiritual and material knowledge experienced by terrestrial humanity is effectively prevented by the great depth of ancient subterranean populations with advanced technological capabilities.
The existence of these technologically advanced human and non-human populations dwelling below the Earth’s surface in artificially maintained, illuminated and weather-controlled cavern systems remains largely unknown to most humans now inhabiting the planetary surface, yet the whispers of ancient indigenous wisdom are still audible, echoing within the human collective unconscious.
Underground human populations also account for the distinct genetic material observed of the cave-dwelling Sasquatch maternal lines, apparently derived from an entirely separate human population without any known living terrestrial descendents.
this previously undetected species has also yielded information concerning a co-existing subterran human population whose ova were used in the advanced genetic engineering of the hybrids, perhaps involving artificial insemination of human females and mid-term fetal removal -as described among alien abduction cases.
Nexrad radar installations throughout the US also display an unmistakable alignment with the resonant field of focused infrasound emanating from the pyramids of Giza, Egypt (above).
Colorado Springs (38.92°N 104.82°W) is located 6,861 miles from the Great Pyramid. This distance comprises 27.56% of the Earth’s mean circumference, or 55/200 when expressed as a fraction. Infrasonic induction of intense piezoelectric heating was measured by investigators at 800°F after a small boy suffered burns when his shoes melted on a Rockrimmon neighborhood playground on June 3, 2008. Relative geopositioning of all of these infrasound-related incidents reveals resonant distance intervals.
You can’t make this stuff up. But, based on what OTL,S! has seen in the past, some people will believe anything, and even send money to these crazies, in hopes of sustaining their belief in the reality of this folklore.
The purpose of peer review is to insure that the scientific community and the public are spared the trouble of dealing with halfbaked (and outright wrong) ideas, presented by “press release,” ie a paper which is simply one person’s idea. The idea is that a journal is a filter, and also a credential. Bad ideas don’t get though, and good ideas receive a stamp of approval (if only tentative) from at least two experts in the relevant field, and from the editor, who has a good overview of the field and scientific method. Furthermore, journals have an editorial board which can function as an overseer. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal thus means that a consensus of a number of scientists with relevant experience, expertise, judgment and integrity, vouch for the value of the paper. Once a paper passes this “gauntlet” of criticism, it is now up to the greater scientific community to test the ideas expressed.
That doesn’t mean that all of the journal “staff” would agree with the paper’s conclusions, or that they can vouch for the integrity of the authors or the actual care taken in performing the study. These latter judgments can only come from the evaluation by the greater scientific community, sometimes only after replication or years of study. But without the backing of a peer-approved journal, with its reviewers, editor, and editorial board, the scientific community is not going to go to that trouble. Nor should it.
Dr. Ketchum’s paper has none of that approval.
It’s all just “Melba Ketchum said…”
Not a single other person supports her statements on passing peer review, she provides no documentation, and even she, in her statements, no longer pretends that it passed peer review. Without ANY evidence that the paper passed peer review, the scientific community would be silly to pay any heed to it.
Now, some anonymous interested and apparently-qualified posters (“ridgerunner”, “slowstepper,” and others) at the Bigfoot Forums website have attempted to evaluate what little data her paper provides (and almost no information about her methods), and have found it to not support her conclusions. Some (Bart Cutino, Tyler Huggins) have actually tried to replicate her findings and failed. No qualified person has supported her conclusions; not even any of her co-authors seem to. One co-author (Sarah Bollinger) demanded to have her name removed, and no explanation for this has been given by Dr. Ketchum. In addition, one individual (Justin Smeja; see earlier update of this post) whose sample is a centerpiece of the study has come forward to state that Dr. Ketchum did not obtain a sample of his DNA (to allow for detection of contamination). Importantly, Smeja states that Dr. Ketchum told him (and three witnesses) that she had a way of creating artifact in DNA results, and that she offered him money to destroy his remaining specimen. As Bart Cutino has shown, the data provided by Ketchum shows the contamination, and some “artifact” as shown in this independent analysis.
A recent paper lists accountability and transparency among the most important issues to look for in judging the integrity of research.
When a researcher violates one of these values, that person’s trustworthiness is diminished…
Since it is she and only she who vouches for her work, Dr. Ketchum has, in effect, put her personal and business/professional credibility in the forefront.
OTL,S! and others have looked into these issues, and shown documentation of most if not all of these issues in her business/professional record. These are apparently the tip of the iceberg, according to multiple professional/business contacts and former employees of hers, in and around Texas and particularly in and around Timpson, where she lives, in nearby Carthage and Center, TX, and county records there in Shelby County and Panola County. These records and interviews paint a disturbing picture, one that OTL,S! hesitates to fully publish, because of the implications for innocent persons.
Dr. Ketchum’s attempt to pretend that her paper passed peer review is consistent with her past conduct. It also reflects badly on her and on her professional conduct, and thus on the paper itself (not to mention Dr. Ketchum’s statements regarding repeated in person and psychic contact with bigfoots).
What does Dr. Ketchum have to say now? seemingly nothing. She appeared on some paranormal radio programs. She or her untrained “public relations” former DeNovo “editor” make rare posts on Facebook, without making any direct statements about her paper. The latest Facebook post concerned an April 28 attempt to raise money. On March 22, she wrote:
Furthermore, we do have the entire dataset farmed out for independent evaluation but that takes time. 3 terabytes is a huge amount of data and just scratching the surface can take months.
And on March 30 she gave some further indication of this “independent review”:
We have more support from PhDs coming in all the time as well as some good and honest reviews. We are collecting them for a new press release and will release their names at that time. Maybe the world will start to acknowledge our terrific paper and our Nobel worthy discovery at that time!
Apparently the Ph.D.’s/press release she was referring came three weeks later on April 22: an endorsement by a completely unqualified Dr. Chrisman, a Ph. D. in Public Administration; and supposed endorsement by a unqualified retired Ph. D. chemist for Shell Oil, a Haskell Hart, which endorsement has now been walked back into a statement at the Bigfoot Forums that this gentleman would not have passed the paper had he been a reviewer.
So far no word from Nobel Committee.
At this time, Over the Line, Smokey! sees no reason to publish more of the material in our possession regarding Dr. Ketchum’s ethical and scientific “misadventures.” We understand the disappointment felt by many who have pegged their hopes on her work. But truly, it is past time to move on.
Today is the date that “DeNovo”, Dr. Ketchum’s “quarterly journal” should have published its second issue, if it were a real journal. Sadly, OTL,S! sees only the same old mangled stuff, along with a few cobwebs, crickets and graffiti. We see this as an appropriate moment to clear up some misconceptions about DeNovo.
The site of the Kentucky bigfoot organization of Dr. Chrisman (noted in the previous update) makes this statement (emphasis added):
VII. DNA, A Peer-Reviewed Paper and Amazing Video
On 11-24-12 Dr. Melba Ketchum released the DNA findings after a five-year study based on 109 samples which were submitted throughout the county. Other independent labs participated in this study which included blind testing. The paper is currently under peer review. Here are the amazing results!
“Peer-reviewed” makes it sound like the paper passed peer review. This is not the case.
To backtrack: Ketchum “published” her “paper” on a website called “DeNovo Scientific Journal” on Feb. 13 of this year. She claimed that the paper had passed peer review at another journal, but the editor had refused to publish it. She said that she then acquired the journal to “preserve” the passing peer reviews. Considerable evidence exists that this prior journal was the “Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Explorations in Zoology,” (“(JAMEZ”) which was founded at the Scholastica website on or about January 4 of this year. We have previously discussed much of this information.
OTL,S! has experience with the Scholastica platform, and has obtained information from them concerning JAMEZ, Dr. Ketchum, and related issues, and has obtained information from those familiar with Dr. Ketchum’s financial arrangements/support, and from publishing industry databases.
From our sources, OTL,S! has learned that the paper did not receive peer review approval at Scholastica. It had previously failed at least three times, which is why Dr. Ketchum first issued her ‘results’ as a press release in November of last year. And it failed at Scholastica/JAMEZ. Futhermore, through our contacts in the publishing industry, OTL,S! has learned that the paper failed peer review at another scientific journal (which we cannot disclose at this time) again AFTER it failed at Scholastica/JAMEZ, in January of this year. In all, Ketchum’s paper failed peer review at least five times before she self-published it on a cobbled-together website called DeNovo.
Dr. Ketchum has given the impression that she cannot disclose the version of peer reviews given to authors, that they are confidential. That is NOT true. At Scholastica (as at other journals), the version of the reviewers’ comments which are sent to the author are not confidential, and they do not include the identity of the reviewers. Only the editor of the journal knows the identity of the reviewers and their frank comments. Ketchum can disclose her non-confidential author’s version any time she chooses, to whomever she likes. The reason she doesn’t disclose them, it seems, is that they didn’t approve her paper.
Dr. Ketchum has stated that she “acquired” the journal (JAMEZ) that supposedly peer-approved her paper, at Scholastica. This is also not true. She did not acquire JAMEZ. After failing at Scholastica/JAMEZ, and failing at another scientific journal in January, she simply had the DeNovo website put up and sold the “paper” through that site. The only peer reviews she “preserved” were the non-confidential reviews that JAMEZ sent her, and these were not passing reviews.
Dr. Ketchum has also stated (on a radio program) that she had nothing to do with the publication of DeNovo. This is also not true.
She contracted for the website to be put up and paid for, to the tune of $2000 (though she didn’t use her own funds). Robin Lynne, acknowledged to be Dr. Ketchum’s spokesperson, was listed as the editor when the website went live.
Dr. Ketchum has also not fessed up as to why Sarah Bollinger requested that her name be removed from the list of co-authors of the paper. In fact, Ketchum still hasn’t caused Bollinger’s name to be removed from the DeNovo site. It would appear that Ketchum did not obtain signed endorsements from the “co-authors”. That may cause a legal problem, not to mention the fact that they apparently don’t endorse her conclusions.
If Dr. Ketchum has some issue with these statements of fact, OTL,S!’s crack litigator (“Discovery Dick” we call him) suggests that she present authenticated documentary evidence, which she would certainly be able to do if her stories were true…two peer review approvals of her paper, bill of sale, cancelled checks, sworn affidavits, receipts, contracts etc. We would be most happy to see them (in the very unlikely event that she has them), and submit them to our sources for scrutiny (which could prove VERY interesting) and we would certainly publish them no matter what they purport to show.
Lead investigator of Kentucky Bigfoot Researchers Organization with no apparent relevant experience endorses methods (?) in Ketchum’s paper, even though Ketchum’s paper did not disclose her methods.
This is Robin Lynne with more info Yet another supporter of Dr. Melba Ketchum
I fully support Dr. Ketchum and her research and appreciate having the research and data. I make a point of stating the scientific methodology was very sound and all necessary precautions were taken. Joy Clay Chrisman, Ph.D., PMP
Her bio there includes:
Her interest in bigfoot studies began as a child and she has continued her research which includes several visual encounters of her own. Her goal is to further the knowledgebase to help the public understand the truth about these amazing creatures.
OTL,S! is confident that Dr. Chrisman won’t take offense if we label this endorsement as bullshit. We could have used stronger language.
A new poll suggests that Dr. Ketchum’s move into the ancient aliens field is a smart one, since the bigfoot craze is fading fast:
only 14 percent of those surveyed believe in the existence of Bigfoot, while 29 percent of Americans believe in aliens.
The survey conducted in April 2013 by Public Policy Polling, polled 1,250 registered voters. Whether the results would differ significantly if non-registered voters were polled is unclear.
An earlier Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll conducted in February 2012 revealed that nearly 30 percent of Americans thought Bigfoot was “probably real”, while only 23 percent declared Bigfoot was definitely not real. The poll surveyed 1,016 American adults, says Cryptomundo.
Interestingly a Reuters News poll conducted by Ipsos and released in April revealed that 24 percent of Americans believe that aliens currently walk among us. The poll surveyed over 23,000 people worldwide.
Over the Line, Smokey! notes the full-throated endorsement by Lloyd Pye of the effects of ancient aliens, in his new book “Intervention.” Like Dr. Ketchum, Pye claims he is upsetting the theory of evolution (!). Mr. Pye and Dr. Ketchum may have to reconcile their differences in dating the time frame (900 vs 15,000 yers) of when the aliens did all their litho-engineering, mating, genetic engineering, etc, etc. But they certainly have both latched onto the “DNA not of this world.” “not human” etc etc. And of course Dr. Ketchum seems to have a method for producing such DNA results. Yes, ancient aliens seems to be where the money is nowadays, so OTL,S! expects Dr. Ketchum will jump in with both feet. We don’t really expect that she will claim contact with extra-terrestrials, as she did with bigfoot, as that particular bit of nonsense is not part of the ancient aliens scam. As elongated skulls are found in many locations both in South America and around the world, conceivably many samples could be submitted. Mr. Pye is hooked up with Mr. Foerster to do a tour in August that might set one back much as $8000 by the time you figure in airfare and incidentals.
And of course there are many sheep in each herd. Certainly Dr. Ketchum should be looking to get in on that kind of money. Of course, the question is, who would pay for this nonsense? Tour guides can do perfectly well with very little factual information; sometimes, in fact, less is better, as it implies mysteries and possibilities, the stuff that freakotourism is made of. So OTL,S! thinks that Mr. Foerster will not be anxious to pony up multiple $7000 payments to Dr. Ketchum, who, apparently not having a lab herself, seemingly does nothing more ship the specimens to her pals in this scheme, skimming a bit (or a lot) off the top for her trouble.
Mr. Pye seems to be in some sort of war with Wikipedia to get his version of the Starchild skull before the public eye. In so doing he misrepresents what studies have been done, often by simple manipulations of wording. For example, he wrote
The 2003 test also indicated the Starchild Skull’s paternal DNA was unlike normal human DNA (Eshleman & Malhi, 2003).
But Eshleman & Malhi actually wrote:
The inability to analyze nuclear DNA indicates that such DNA is either not present or present in sufficiently low copy number to prevent PCR analysis using methods available at the present time.
Hardly supports Pye’s statement.
By Pye’s definition, then, any and all DNA which is degraded in some way, by age, the elements, microbial digestion or adverse handling, is “unlike normal human DNA,” and thus compatible with his entrepreneurial scheme to market “ancient alien” “intervention”.
Here is a deception from a 2012 post:
For 13 years we at the Starchild Project have known the Starchild Skull came from a being that was not entirely human, if human at all. First, it shares no physical characteristics with a normal human skull—none!
The issue is not that it is the skull of a normal human; everyone agrees that it isn’t. It is the skull of an abnormal human child. The numbers and variations of congenital abnormalities of the skull are vast. Rarely are two (even with the same genetic anomaly) exactly alike. Thousands of these poor children are born every year, but only a few are written up in the medical literature. But to refer to them as not entirely human or human at all is insulting and ignorant, as well as deceptive.
Mr. Pye tries to make it all sound so mysterious, but the reality is that abnormalities of the human skull occur in 1/2000-3000 births, without any “intervention” from ancient aliens. Some die before birth, some survive for days or years. He makes a profit from his misrepresentations, and undoubtedly laughs at the suckers and at the tragedy of actual birth defects, which affect so many families.
One characteristic of pseudoscience that we see here is cherry-picking quotes and scrapbooking (aka cut and pasting, aka ransom noting) them in such a way as to make them seem to say something not intended by the original speaker/writer.
Dr. Ketchum has apparently delivered some “DNA” results to Brien Foerster, the Peru freakotour guy. Actually the testing may not be from Dr. Ketchum’s lab, because, you know, she apparently doesn’t have a lab. Rather, the work seems to be just a forensic test from her old crony “Dr. Pat” at the North Louisiana Criminalistics Lab in Shreveport. “Identifiler” is the test he reported, a commercial forensic product, a $20 kit, a crimelab kind of DNA testing, not a research method. It is used to match the DNA of crime suspects, with DNA found at the scene of the crime. OTL,S!’s science consultant is not sure how that applies to archeology. Do we think the elongated skull individual stole a llama back in 1539? We’d be pretty sure the statute of limitations has run on that. And the things that show up on this test are not even genes that were selected for physiologic significance. She notes that some alleles weren’t detected; gee, welcome to forensic archeology… the DNA is hundreds of years old and has been in the ground most of that time; hello?
Of course, to the uninformed, Dr. Ketchum can make the mundane sound mysterious, alien, forbidden, and scientific. OTL,S! suspects that Brien Foerster doesn’t know the difference, and might not care if he did know, because the mysterious, alien, forbidden is what his business is selling. If it helps book a couple of tours, the $7000 he gave Dr. Ketchum, for a few cheap DNA tests run by someone else, is worth it. Besides, most of the money was raised online from Mr. Foerster’s credulous clients.
ELONGATED SKULLS DNA TESTING: THE LATEST INFORMATION…
Here is a clip from part of the Identifiler profile from the baby. All of the “green” markers amplified so I am using this as an example. Notice that all peaks are single peaks. This many single peaks (homozygous) is uncommon and can mean one of three things or a combination thereof. First, since the DNA is somewhat low-yield due to its 2000 year age, there could be some dropout in markers that normally have two peaks (heterozygous). Second, the baby could be very inbred. In fact, only one marker out of all of the markers was heterozygous. Third, there could be a lack of amplification due to mutated sequence from either or both parents. In other words, there is sequence that is not found in today’s humans and therefore won’t amplify and is present in the DNA. 5 of the markers didn’t amplify at all, two of which I would have expected to see results from, so that causes some interest also. I am relatively certain that we are the first group to use Identifiler on ancient DNA, much less achieve results with a straight extraction without any type of cloning or using a library built from the extraction. These are preliminary results though so please don’t get excited yet. As far as the teeth, the extractions are well on the way. I can’t wait to see how those samples perform.
You might not want to post the electropherogram so we can use it later.
Yeah, keep something back, so you can do another breathless update in a couple weeks. Make it last, baby….
Over the Line, Smokey! will be doing an important update tonight, but wishes to comment on a release today of remarks by a gentleman who claims to be a minister and a psychologist, making public comments “as a psychologist and a minister” about a person who at one point, at least, SPECIFICALLY demands confidentiality. OTL,S! finds this to be unprofessional “times two,” and reprehensible, and will not provide a link. It is one thing to reveal the messages anonymously; that is highly questionable; but it is quite another (and clearly over the line (s)) to specifically speak of them (and other conversations), on the internet, as a psychologist and minister.
Over the line, Smokey! regrets having linked to the post that linked to that material, and will take down the link, until such time (if ever) as we are convinced that Dr. Ketchum was not aware that she was communicating with either a minister or a psychologist when she wrote to this source person. OTL,S! is also considering taking down that entire update, which never included any of the possibly-privileged messages themselves.
Over the Line, Smokey! gives a shout out to Boston.
There are a few bad people, and there always have been, and always will be. Sometimes they can’t stand the sadness in their hearts and minds, and feel helpless; they strike out blindly at the world. These sad and angry people can take away some of our family, our happiness. We cannot completely put these people (and their monstrous acts) out of our minds. But try remember the overwhelming goodness, the thousands and thousands of great people who were there, those who care, and helped, and the millions here and around the world.
Carry on, Boston.
OTL,S! takes notice of a post by John Weeast [link removed], linking to a PDF of a number of what appear to be Facebook messages from Dr. Ketchum to a close and trusted associate, who is not named or quoted. Only one date is given, 3/12/2012. There are several subjects:
1) the peer review of Dr. Ketchum’s paper by some journal
2) the lack of homology of the nuDNA to human nuDNA, to a degree not admitted to in her recent paper; OTL,S! shares Mr. Weeast’s concern in this area
3) Dr. Ketchum’s bizarre psychic and other experiences with a number of supposed bigfoots at her home,
4) her ideas that these creatures are, in some degree or sense, angels or nephilim.
OTL,S! is struck by these disturbing nature of these messages. Further, given certain information we have previously received, we have no reason to doubt they are authentic.
We do not doubt Dr. Ketchum’s religious convictions, but are uncertain that these messages are, in all ways, candid expressions of Dr. Ketchum’s thinking regarding the explanation for the unusual DNA findings (see previous update on the statement of Justin Smeja for a different alleged Ketchum statement on this subject). OTL,S! also finds the Ketchum comments regarding peer review comments to be both arrogant and stubborn, in apparently refusing to obtain help with her paper (which is, let’s face facts here, truly a hot mess) from qualified scientists in anthropology or other fields. On this basis, OTL,S! feels that Dr. Ketchum’s previously published comments on the subject of how badly her paper was treated in peer review, must be taken a boulder of salt.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, OTL,S! would opine that either Dr. Ketchum was/is being extensively hoaxed on her property, or she was/is suffering from some disorder; either way, she seems to need help…
…or, of course, she’s simply a big liar.
OTL,S! has previously commented on the crucial issue of reliability and credibility in science. Our sharp-eyed intern spotted this:
Facebook, Brien Foerster [Hidden Inca Tours] [caps original]:
September 20, 2012…..
I have JUST SENT TEN SAMPLES to a MAJOR DNA LAB in TEXAS that WILL THOROUGHLY analyze skin, hair and teeth from SEVEN elongated skulls and we WILL get RESULTS of some kind within TWO MONTHS…
…this one WILL go ahead because the DIRECTOR of the lab SAID SO…thanks to Genesis Quest…
September 20, 2012 Grazhopprr Et Al Brien, I suggested Melba a year or so ago. Glad to finally see some progress in her direction.
September 20, 2012 Robert S Thomas, This is wonderful news Brien for all humanity! I have little doubt a reputable lab will be able to clearly identify abnormal (alien) DNA.
Actually, Ketchum’s lab property had been “repossessed” by Ruthie Latin, on August 30, and Ketchum had moved out immediately, with no other physical address posted on the website.
No staff are listed but her, on the DNA Diagnostics Inc website. Dr. Ketchum has stated she is getting out of the “service” business and referred to herself as a “scientist, forensics and hominid research.” She also said last year that she is moving to a bigger town, left an email address, and suggested that lab customers get in touch with her in 2013. On March 30 she posted on Facebook:
I am thinking we can raise the research money for an extention to the lab and if so, we will set up a genomics center with a next gen sequencer, bone robots and a good bioinformaticist (I already have one in mind) and we would solve a lot of history’s mysteries.
This would imply she has a lab. Perhaps it is in her home. Nothing wrong with that. But that wouldn’t exactly “MAJOR”, or be in a bigger town. Maybe plans have changed. OTL,S! would be more than happy to publish updated information from her (and/or from Mr. Foerster). We would like nothing more than for “a lot of history’s mysteries” to be solved, and at this point, a few of them involve the reliability of some of Dr. Ketchum’s statements.
As a somewhat under-certified member of the press corps, Over the Line, Smokey! has been in a bit of a quandary about how to navigate the imaginary “Press Room” of the website of the possibly imaginary “Denovo Scientific Publishing” company, where Dr. Ketchum’s digital paper is stashed, in order to get a free copy. Here’s the problem (at least it was a problem until today): According to that poorly cut-and-pasted press page, one could get in big trouble if one tried to “sneak past the guards” with some sort of fake credentials (there is some irony for you!):
Now, of course, OTL,S! would gladly sacrifice the freedom of its lowly intern in order to obtain a free copy of the $30 virtual “paper”, since it has great curiosity value. So we were ready to fix him up with an altered version of our old Mickey Mouse Club Membership Card, and purchase a striped convict suit for him, in the event of some “legal action up to and including to imprisonment.”
However, a final check of the “press room” revealed that the threat of impending imprisonment had been removed, and replaced by:
In case you can’t read that:
Revoked!? WTF does that mean? Was there some punishable malfeasance perpetrated by DeNovo Scientific Publishing (if that entity actually exists)? Is this a consequence of DeNSP being placed on Beall’s List? Or has the snickering from the scientific community over the paper trickled down to “jotform.com”, who no longer want to associated with DeNSP? Perhaps their lawyer threatened to “drop them” if they didn’t pull out? Perhaps someone said it “would wreck their career?” Was Casey Mullins involved? Surely this couldn’t be the result of failure to simply make the contractually-required payment to “secure.jotform.us?”
Oh, wait…it looks like jotform has a free trial offer kind of deal…free UNTIL you exceed 10 forms submitted. oh. That must be it. No more free lunch. Now, will Dr. Ketchum pony up the $9.95? That is a lot to pay for someone who has only collected a half mill on the project. But the next quarterly issue of “DeNovo: Accelerating Science” will be coming up pretty soon, a month from now, right? Right?
Over the Line, Smokey! anticipates more Nobel Prize material from DeNovo, and the press are going to be all over that press room. So we’d recommend going ahead, damn the expense. Of course, we are informed that Dr. Ketchum kiboshed a sasquatch t-shirt deal because the manufacturer insisted on paying a dollar-something royalty to the artist (?cancer victim Alexis Evans?)…a dollar-something that would have come out of the good doctor’s profits. So who knows whether she’ll come up with the $9.95, just so smirking journalists can get something for free, that they should have to pay for and increase the good doctor’s profits. In fact, they’ve already screwed her out of 10 x $30= $300!! Don’t let ‘em take advantage of you, Dr. K…don’t pay that $9.95!
Over the Line, Smokey! dutifully “Tried Again” anyway, to no avail, and is uncertain as to what to do next to attempt to obtain a free copy of the “paper.” It’s probably too late, anyway, to obtain the very collectible (and valuable) early version which listed Sarah Bollinger as a co-author, before she demanded that her name be removed. And that’s why we wanted it. It’s like a misprinted stamp or dollar bill or Pokemon card.
OTL,S! suggests that Dr. Ketchum run off some copies of the original version and store them out in the barn for about 20 years… that’s some GOLD, right there….
Now, we at OTL,S! have taken a few shots at “DeNovo: Accelerating Science.”… okay, more than a few. But today our crack science consultant asked, “Okay, so, DeNovo is cheap-looking, kind of clunky, got some spelling mistakes, some grammatical mistakes…and there is this other, older, nicer-looking, bigfoot online journal, called the “Relict Hominoid Inquiry,” at Idaho State University, edited by Dr. Jeff Meldrum, an actual scientist. “But really,” asks our science consultant, “what’s the primary substantial difference between DeNovo and the Relict Hominoid Inquiry?
Not being familiar with the “RHI,” we couldn’t dispute his answer: “The one research paper at DeNovo is better than the two research papers at the Relict Hominoid Inquiry.”
Of course, that’s just an opinion. But, after taking a look at the “RHI,” we see what he means.
Oh, the irony…our own post has once again put our intern at risk for imprisonment.
Over the Line, Smokey! notices that someone (probably alerted by our post; you’re welcome) seems to have come up with the $9.95 to restore the DeNovo Press Room credential-checking mechanism to its former glory.
Now all the real journalists will be able to obtain a free copy, even though it won’t have Sarah Bollinger’s name on it.
Update 4/7/2013: transcript of Justin Smeja’s statement regardingthe Ketchum/Smeja telephone conversation.
Over the Line, Smokey! had to find something for our hyperactive intern to do, so we set him to transcribing Justin Smeja’s video statement regarding the Ketchum/Smeja telephone conversation, in January, 2012. Smeja published his statement on Feb. 24, 2013. Many people know of this video statement, but some have not listened to the tape, or had the opportunity to study it.
Background: According to Justin Smeja, in October, 2010, he shot at two strange animals, killing the younger one, in the mountains of California, but did not photograph or collect either animal. Five weeks later, Smeja returned to the spot with his bear-hunting dog, looking for the body of one or the other of these animals. The dog led him to a piece of raw animal hide in the snow. This came to be known as the Sierra Steak.
A piece of the Steak was sent to Dr. Ketchum under Derek Randle’s name, and became sample #26 in her paper, the most-extensively-analyzed specimen. This was the only sample to have histology and electron microscopy done, as well as mtDNA, and genomic nuDNA sequencing. Dr. Ketchum never requested or received a sample of Smeja’s DNA for comparison to DNA in the hide. After a year and multiple miscommunications, Smeja lost faith in Ketchum, and, following this phone call, allowed samples of the hide to be sent by two friends to two other laboratories, and their findings differed from those of Ketchum, et al. As the allegations made by Smeja are potentially serious, OTL,S! will be happy to publish the versions of anyone else who participated in or witnessed this conversation.
(This transcription is limited to the setting and details of the conversation, starting at about 5:25 of the video, and stopping at the end of the Smeja’s reaction to the phone call, at 21 minutes. All this is Smeja speaking; within that I have used quotation marks to indicate that he is quoting himself or others. )
I was contacted by Abe, and JC Johnson and Steve Kulls and a couple other guys. They wanted me to do a podcast with them. And I said sure. So in January, 2012, I sat down with them and talked with them. I ‘d never been so nervous in all my life. I stumbled over my words and all that. So during that interview they asked me what the deal was with Melba, why’s it taking so long?
[Smeja:]“I don’t know.”
[Kulls et al:] “Did it test out to be bigfoot?”
[Smeja:]“Yeah, that’s what I was told. Absolutely.”
[Kulls et al:] “So what’s the story, what’s the hold up?”
[Smeja:] “I don’t know.”
[Kulls et al:]“Well, If she doesn’t come out with the results or a paper soon are you gonna go to another lab and get this tested?”
“Yeah. Absolutely. No shit,” I think is what I said exactly. I said, “Yeah, she’s gotta hurry up on this, ’cause we can send this to any lab, get it tested and we’re good to go.”
So we’re sitting there waiting for the paper to come out , hoping, thinking, that, oh, there’s been some delays, problems with peer review, or something, problems with some testing, they did or didn’t finish the genome that was started on this date or that date. There was different things being communicated from the people who were talking directly to Melba. So at that point I really started to wonder how trustworthy she was. She would make promises and not follow through with them. She would tell us hey, the the paper’s coming on this day; it would come and go and we wouldn’t hear anything…then, “…oh, we had a problem…” So after that podcast, a couple days later my phone rang. I happened to be at a barbeque with the driver, his wife, my kid, his kid and my wife. She calls me. I look I see its Melba Ketchum. Oh, shit, the paper must be out! The shit is gonna hit the fan! I’m excited… my heart is pounding. [Smeja:]“Everybody be quiet, this is Melba.” So I put her on speakerphone and set the phone down.
Almost immediately, she says, “Hey, I wanted to talk to you about some stuff. You’re really hurting this study.” And at that this point, I was like, “How so?”
She says, “Well, you gotta tell people that you trust me and you got confidence in me. I listened to that podcast, and you’re sitting there telling people that if I don’t come out with a paper soon, then you’re gonna go somewhere else? you need to be telling peple that you have confidence in me, that I’m doing a great job, that you know what’s going on behind the scenes and that they can trust me.
I just said “Uh huh, uh huh.”
Well, I was trying to make sense of what she was saying, that she’s worried about her perception to some bigfooters. Because they don’t know that they can trust her and have full confidence in her. I was sitting here like “No. No, you shouldn’t give two shits about what they think. If we’re all gonna be eatin’ crow and this and that, like, no, you shouldn’t be caring what they think if you have something that’s real. Why are you worried about what these people think?”
Again, I didn’t say that, I just said, “All right, I understand,” I need to support her and how I’m hurting the study because of what some bigfooters might think.
And then she goes into this thing about how these things are gentle giants, how they come in and braid her horses’ hair, the bigfoots do, they come in here, these apes, and they like braid their horses’ hair, pet ‘em, hang out with em, and stuff, we are all kind of looking at each other just sitting there; I don’t think a word was said, what the fuck is she talking about? I mean really…. so a bigfoot is coming in and braiding some horses’ hair?! I mean, that’s not ok. That’s weird. But it got worse.
Then she starts talking about how they visit her in dreams. How they, ah…she said that she would wear her latex gloves and she would put my sample in her hand and they would talk to her. Psychically or telepath….I don’t know or something. They’re sitting there talking to her. In her head I guess. Maybe not out loud. And she said she’d have dreams where they visit her. I’m not sure if it’s like a spiritual…. I don’t know. I don’t follow that sort of stuff. So she has dreams, and the samples talk to her.
Then she goes into this really weird story about how, she’s talking about how there’s this place in her pasture where the bigfoots hang out at, this family of five of ‘em. This family of five she gets to interact with and they telepathically talk to her, I guess. And she says she’s opening the gate to her pasture one day, and she wakes up on the ground and she’s sore.
And I said “What do you mean, you were sore? like, what do you mean?”
And she says, “Well, you know.”
[Smeja:] “No, no, I do not know.”
She said, “Well, I woke up and I was sore.”
[Smeja:]“So you walk in, right, you fall and you wake up and you’re sore.”
She said, “No, I was opening the gate and I woke up and I was sore.”
I don’t know what she meant by any of that. She never really got into it. She talked about how they’re really gentle. And how… see, I was wondering if it was a telepathic thing…where like she like wakes up on the ground, she’s sore, they like, visited her….I don’t know what she meant, I don’t know what she was talking about. I really, really don’t. That stuff…all that…. forest people, telepathic, whatever, samples talking to people, family of fives, [unintelligible] sticks, I can get past all that, I really can. That wasn’t even, um, well I was pretty shocked, but that wasn’t the part that made me sick to my stomach. So Melba is telling me that she wants more of the sample. And, ah, I’m a little bit reluctant.
I’m like, “This has been like 14 or 15 months that you’ve had it. I haven’t got anything…stuff’s being communicated that’s not quite accurate. One person’s saying one thing. Another person’s saying another thing. And I know that they are both telling the truth of what they had heard. You, on the other hand, I feel like you’re telling people different things.”
She said, “Well, what I’m most interested in is the boots.”
(Because I [Smeja] have some boots that the juvenile sasquatch had bled on while I was holding it.)
She says “That’s what I’m most interested in. That’s my main reason for this phone call.”
And so I said, “Ok, well, I don’t really think that I want to give them to you.”
She said “All right, well, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll tell you what. So, I’ll give you ten thousand dollars, but you have to tell Wally that I gave you $15,000. And then he’ll be stuck and he’ll have to pay me for months and months to work on the boots, so everybody wins.”
[Smeja:]And I was just sittin’ there, like, what?? so…,”No… that sounds….no. Why would we do that to Wally?”
And she said, “He’s got money.”
[Smeja:] “So? I mean, I don’t understand.”
And she said, “Well, he’s got money. I mean, you should probably just call him up and ask for like $30,000. He’d probably give it to you.”
[Smeja:] “Just call him up, and just hold my hand out? I don’t live off the system. I’m not used to that.”
But she says, “No, he’s very generous man. You should call him up and ask for the 30 grand. Then you know, you can send me the boots, …([Smeja paraphrase:]…this and that…).”
I said “No, I don’t think so; I don’t think that is gonna work. That’s not really what I’m about. “
She said “All right, fine, so money’s not your thing.”
I said, “I would love to get some money but not like how you’re talking about.’
She said “All right, back to the sample. I need some more of that sample.”
I said, “After this phone conversation, I don’t know if I want to give you anything.”
And she said, “All right, well, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll give you $5,000 and you don’t have to send me anything, all you have to do is destroy the sample.”
[Smeja:]“Why would we destroy the sample?”
She says, “Well, Justin, I got special ways of testing stuff. I got special ways of making things seem different than they really are.”
I said “Ooo-kay…so why do I need to destroy the sample?”
She said “Well, if another lab gets that, they’re just gonna get a regular animal. That’s what happens with most of these samples. They send them somewhere else and they just end up getting, you know, like a fox or coyote or bear or something like that. So, you know, they don’t understand how to do it. This is new technology, this is pretty deep shit. So I really need you to destroy that sample.”
And I said “Fuck no! No! hell no! No.”
Then she said, “All right, how about this: you don’t even have to destroy the sample. You can keep the sample. But I’ll teach you how to make that sample read something different than what it is.”
I said, “Why would we want to do that?”
She said, “Because, I just told you, that when another place tests this it comes back as like, a regular animal ’cause they don’t understand how to do it, because like there’s a special way that we test it.”
[Smeja:]“So, OK, you have this way making things different than they are ?”
She said “Yes. This is how we’re going to do it. So you get a mixture of Chlorox bleach and ([Smeja:]I think) formaldehyde or something and some water and let it sit in it. And that way that they can’t get nothing out of the DNA. They can’t get nothing for it, and that way nobody will be able to test it but me. And I’ll be the only one to have the results.” ([Smeja:]“She said this word for word.”)
And I just said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Unh uh. No.”
She says “All right, well, think about it, because, you know, I could make this worth your while. I could talk to Wally, and he could probably put you on the payroll. I mean, he could kick you some cash.”
And I said, “That would be great if Wally could kick me some cash, but I’m not like that. I aint’ doin that. I’m a lotta things but…, I ain’t the best guy in the world, but I ain’t doin’ that. Fuck no, I ain’t doin’ that.”
You know in the middle of that conversation with her, where she’s talking about this craziness, actually you know we could live with the craziness. But when it came down to pure fraud, my buddy (I mean we were half way through this conversation, she’s on speakerphone, we were upstairs), and he just said,
“She’s a fraud…this is stupid. I won’t participate.” And he walked off.
I don’t think she heard any of that but that’s what he said to me, he wanted me to know that. And from there he decided he would never get involved with the bigfoot community, because this was what it was about… liars and frauds. Now I’m not saying that as a shot at anybody, but that’s what he saw; he saw everybody waiting on something that wasn’t true, that was a lie.
So why wait 13 months to talk about this? Well, the day after this phone conversation with Melba I called Bart and talked to him about it. We were sick to our stomach.
I told him, I said “I’m gonna go online and I’m gonna tell everything that she just said, all this craziness horse-braiding, family of five, feeling sore (again, I still don’t know what that means), feeling sore and whatnot.”
I said, “I’m gonna go on there and tell everything and they can deal with it.”
But we had this friend, Wally, he walks on water to us; he’s a great guy. He had invested a lot of money into Melba and her study, hoping to prove something, with good intentions. We wanted to respect Wally and to not tear his work apart, and that’s really all it was ever about, is not trying to hurt Wally. Another reason that we waited so long to talk about this is it was all hearsay. It was just me, my buddy, his wife, and my wife that heard this from her. She could say that we made the whole thing up. The reason that we waited for so long is now that we had the evidence, we had the lab results (it took, you know, forever to get, but we had the lab results) that confirmed most of what she said. That was like a prophetic statement by her saying,
“When another lab tests these samples they just get, you know, a regular animal.”
All we really had was hearsay when it came to talking to Melba. The phone call that I had with Melba it was all really just hearsay. It was me, Jack, my wife, and his wife. I remember the next day I called Bart, and I was talking to him. He ended up…he wanted to talk to my wife and hear it from her, too. Then he also talked to Jack, I think that same night…it was the next night he talked to Jack about the whole thing. He interviewed them, talked to them and got their take on it. They actually even remembered some things about the phone call that I hadn’t even told him about at that point.
There is nothing to say that the human like DNA is not from two sources. Given the nature of this sample, it could not have been “decontaminated” by washing as was reported to have been done with the hair samples.
Again, the pure human sequences is only from those regions that have some homology to human. I know this sounds like Catch 22 in some respects, which is why I went back an blasted each piece separately. When it comes back as 99-100% human for 40 sequences, well its human. The remaining 15% or so is likely contamination – given what this sample is, it HAS to have, at minimum, DNA from the many critters that normally live in ones mouth. Not that these other sequences should be present in the contig.
To paraphrase ridgerunner, there is nothing here that proves or even strongly indicates that the principal DNA “donor” of sample 31 isn’t just a person.
Over the Line, Smokey! certainly concurs with the idea that much of what is termed “bigfoot” activity is simply that of ordinary humans going about their business in the woods/dark. Some, of course, is active hoaxing by ordinary humans. And some is just noises, shadows and fleeting impressions created by ordinary animals in the woods/dark going about their business. In the case of “specimen 31″, the evidence is pretty suggestive of a hoax/con: in the first place, the video of the “slow breathing shag carpet” released with Ketchum’s paper came from the same source, and is laughable. Secondly, an apparently-related still of the “face” of one of the alleged “bigfoots” on the property has been called a “Chewbaca” mask by a former Hollywood makeup/costume artist. And thirdly, the background story of the property, and its sale (with accompanying suspicious videos) suggests that the Erickson Project was sold a “salted gold mine.”
To reiterate, Ketchum’s paper contains mtDNA of only 20 samples. Every single one has ordinary human mtDNA, and the distribution of genetic heritages of these mtDNA is apparently just what you’d expect if you collected human samples off the street, just the good ole American melting pot, mostly European. In addition, Ketchum presents tiny fragments (apparently her “best proof”) of Next Generation sequenced nuclear DNA of only three of these 20, ie samples #26, 31 and 140. According to ridgerunner, (and others), one of these three (#26) was found by a bear hunting dog, and represents bear with human contamination; another (#120) is from a chewed up drainpipe, and is dog with human contamination, and the third (# 31) from a dinner plate, is human with the expected contamination from saliva.
Good lord, people…are we clear?
ridgerunner goes into more detail on Ketchum’s sample 31, which supposedly came from a baited plate, in the so-called Erickson Project:
Looking at sample 31, again taking the same approach as before, isolating the sequences that appear to have homology to something, I took about 40 homologous sequences (each about 100bp in length – the equivalent of one read from the illumina sequence). These sequences started at position 141 and ended at 5025 from the Ketchum sequence of sample 31. Blasted against NT_009237.18, in alignment mode, this correspondes to the sequence positions of 85,931 to 983,212bp. As such the Ketchum contig contains 0.54% of the human reference sequences. Furthermore, the “homology” regions constitute about 85% of the sequence over this contig for sample 31 – so about 15% is not highly homologous to Homo sapiens. A sequence from 226 to 536 in this contig has a 95% identity to Leishmania genuses (discontinuous megablast, filter and mask off, excluding Homo/Pan/Gorilla).
Blasting each of these 40 regions against the Homo/Pan/Gorilla portions of the database, all sequences had highest homology to Homo sapiens. The average % identity of these 40 sequences comes out to 99.6% for human. There was one homology sequence from positions 4654-4853, that had an insertion of 19bp in the middle of the sequence (excluding this sequence it was 99.8% identity). Otherwise, there were very few alterations from the human sequences present in GenBank. There were no sequences that had higher homology than human from the Pan or Gorilla genus (but several “hits” had 99% for these genuses).
IF this 5000bp is representative of the contig for 31 (I believe it is, but have not tested the remaining 99%) then I would conclude this sample is effectively modern human Homo sapiens sapiens, with the % identity of 99.6%.
So this could be either:
1) pure contamination,
2) a feral human,
3) or a Bigfoot if it were very highly homologous to Hss (and even Hss).
There is likely more information in the remaining 99% of the homologous segments that may be able to determine which of the above is true, but given the high degree of homology to Hss, it would require statistical analysis well beyond my capabilities (it would be similar to the work required to prove the Neandertal differences from human).
Nothing I have seen so far in these contigs indicates any new species or proof of Bf.
I put this out there NOT for anyone to take this as proof, but to inspire others to evaluate this data and replicate it or refute it, followed by debate.__
Tyler H then provides an important clarification:
it actually may not be contamination, but rather, the source itself could be human – no one would have to have died, or been maimed to provide the sample. (I guess that is likely what you meant by “100% contamination.”)
Over the Line, Smokey! notes the contribution of ridgerunner to the identification of the animals from which came most of the nuDNA that Dr. Ketchum claims to be that of a bigfoot:
I deconvolved some of MKs data, taking the first 10 or so homologous regions from each of the contigs, using human ch11 as a reference. I then took these 10 regions (~100bp each) and individually blasted each with discontinuous megablast. From this I am calling the ids as follows:
sample 26 – Bear (with some human contamination)
sample 31 – Human (with the possibility of being BF)
sample 140 – Canine (with some human contamination)
This is exclusively from the data in the manuscript. The breakdown is
for #26, 6 of 10 sequences had highest % identity with Ailuropoda melanoleuca (97-100% identity) (3 of 10 human, 1 of 10 Ovis)
for #31, 10 of 10 sequences had highest % identity with Homo sapiens
for #140, 6 or 10 sequences had highest % identity with Canis lupus (98-100% identity), (4 of 10 human)
As for what the unknown is in these contigs (~15 to 30% of total sequence), I still don’t know.
And the contigs still only contain about 2% of the data they should if they were meant to represent a whole chromosome. But from what is there, once you sort out the good from the bad, the results are quite clear to me.
OTL,S! conceptualizes the Ketchum DNA claims as analogous to the 2008 “bigfoot in a freezer” fiasco perpetrated by Tom Biscardi and the so-called “Georgia boys”, who cobbled together a bigfoot using parts of various animals. The DNA appears to be what one would get if one just ground up what was in the freezer and did Next Generation DNA sequencing of it.
Brian Brown aka “bipto” had an apt characterization for such a stew:
Ketchum’s DNA work is laughable garbage and should be treated as such…
Ouch! OTL,S! can’t argue too much with Mr. Brown’s assessment but does feel like the modifier “half-million dollar” should be inserted between “laughable” and “garbage.”
In other news,
A story by National Geographic seems to support the economic wisdom of Dr. Ketchum’s recent move into the “Aliens” market (documented by OTL,S! in recent updates):
2. A total of 29 percent of voters believe aliens do exist. Another 21 percent believe the U.S. government covered up a UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
4. The poll revealed that 14 percent believe that Bigfoot is real. Another 14 percent said they were not sure, while 72 percent said they do not believe Bigfoot is real.
Reality Check: Despite several attempts to prove Bigfoot exists, no one has presented evidence that has withstood scientific scrutiny. Indeed, many such “proofs” have turned out to be outright hoaxes. In 2008, two men claimed to have found a seven-foot (two-meter) tall, 500-pound (230-kilogram) Bigfoot corpse in the woods of northern Georgia, but the body was later revealed to be a rubber ape costume.
Last November, another group claimed they had done DNA tests that proved the “North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.” The researchers touted the fact that their study was published in a scientific journal called DeNovo—but it seems the publication was created especially for that Bigfoot study.
Dr. Ketchum’s description of the mish-mash of nuclear DNA she has is not that of anything on Earth and has been rejected by Earth-oriented scientists. But since there are no bioalienologists, and no peer review in bioalienology, her findings would likely go pretty much unchallenged in that field.
Of course, the “angels” market is closely related, and that is also a sizable one. Christian bookstores outnumber conventional booksellers.
OTL,S! just doesn’t see Dr. K’s projected (last fall) “Forensics and hominid research” operation in Nacogdoches working out at this point in time. Too soon. Way too soon for Wally. Contrast this with her Facebook statement On March 30:
we would solve a lot of history’s mysteries. There are so many…giants, mummies and others (you can use your imagination). These mysteries fascinate me and it is not difficult to do.
OTL,S! doesn’t see Dr. Ketchum pursuing bigfootery much longer.
OTL,S! feels Ketchum should be more careful in publishing identification of animals (and/or documentation/writing). Doesn’t make people want to rely on your statements when you whiff on the easy ones. Even OTL,S! can tell this Peruvian ass
a hole in the grounda llama, which is what Ketchum called it.
OTL,S! notices that Dr. Ketchum seems to have trouble identifying jokes:
Witness her reaction to this April Fool’s joke announcement:
Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is filing a lawsuit against the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, requesting judicial review of the agency’s May 2012 administrative finding that Bigfoot is an indigenous “nongame” species that can therefore be hunted without a permit. The Texas Administrative Procedures Act requires that administrative findings are “reasonably supported by substantial evidence.” The suit alleges that the agency’s designation is arbitrary and capricious due to a lack of credible evidence supporting its conclusion that the elusive primate is indigenous to the state of Texas, and cites a preponderance of evidence that the man-beast is instead native to Northern California
Robin Lynne was all on board:
Posted by Robin Lynne
You should contact Dr. Melba Ketchum. With her DNA studies she would be very helpful. With all the information that she has, she could make a huge difference in this case. She has done a paper that explains what they truley are. A form of people. She also has her own protection groups. combined with your groups a huge difference could be made.
Here’s Dr. Ketchum’s take:
Dr. Melba Ketchum shared a link. 12 hours ago
“This could get interesting really fast!”
“Wow, I wonder if they will subpoena me.”
“Not like I haven’t testified a bunch of times and am admitted as a DNA Expert in the State of Texas!”
“This might get interesting….”
Dr. Melba Ketchum, 11 hours ago: “Hope it is not an April Fool’s prank since the lethal Sasquatch manhunt being carried out by the TBRC is no joke.”
Dr. Melba Ketchum, about an hour ago:
“Sadly, the ALDF suit was just an April Fool’s prank. I am not amused. Things like this just hurt the credibility of our study because it proliferates the belief that Saquatch is just a myth.”
OTL,S! wonders if she’s gonna get subpoena’ed, but not by the Animal Legal Defense people.
Dr. Ketchum’s degrees:
There has been uncertainty expressed in some quarters as to Dr. Melba S. Ketchum’s degrees; Here is what is listed on her resume as of April, 2009, kindly provided to OTL,S! by one of a number of “disenchanted” former “associates”:
Bachelor of Veterinary Science, 1977, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Doctor of Veterinary Science, 1978, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
The Over the Line, Smokey! staff has just unanimously decided to give this year’s Lifetime Achievement in Unintentional Self-Parody to Melba Ketchum, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, for today’s statement:
Congratulations to Dr. Melba Ketchum on winning our award. The check is on the way to Nacogdoches, TX. Oh, wait, we don’t have an actual address for Dr. Ketchum.
OTL,S! notes for the record that many ego-centric folks have had themselves “nominated” for a Nobel Prize by having some acquaintance or associate send a “nominating” letter to the Nobel Committee. OTL,S! in fact offers that service to any of our readers, for a small fee. Of course, that isn’t the way the Nobel thing works. But we do it anyway, just so our readers can say they have been nominated for a Nobel Prize, and don’t want to ask their mom to do it. If Dr. Ketchum hasn’t already been “nominated” by Robin Lynn ForestPeople, and thinks she deserves it, she could utilize our service. OTL,S! would even do it for free.
Regarding Wally Hersom:
Dr. Ketchum posted:
… I cannot expect Wally to fund much more. He has already been so so so generous.
Over the Line, Smokey! is considering giving Dr. Ketchum two more awards, based on these two sentences: for the first, The Understatement of the Year. And for “so so so generous”, The Best Euphemism for “Sucker.” OTL,S! tends to think that Dr. Ketchum did not enjoy being sued by Optigen (just settled in December) and is trying (with all these thank you’s to Mr. Hersom) to avoid a similar experience.
“Endorsements” of Ketchum’s paper:
As far as the “endorsers’ for the paper go, OTL,S! is reminded of Mickey Mantle and cigarette ads in the 1950′s. We have yet to see a single qualified person or even a co-author of the paper endorse its conclusions; some don’t even seem to have read the paper. Virtually all seem to have an economic interest in the success of the paper, and many, unfortunately, fail to disclose their financial/economic/personal stake/ties to Dr. Ketchum and/or her paper. The endorsements we have seen contain elementary factual errors. For details, Over the Line, Smokey! recommends the Ketchum thread at the Bigfoot Forums website for a blow-by-blow deconstructions of these “endorsements,” by neutral and expert posters ridgerunner, leisureclass, and slowstepper.
Peru, and the establishment of a connection between Ketchum and the Merchants of Woo, the circuit-riding, radio-talking, tour-guiding masters of mysterious civilizations and ancient aliens:
The whole Peruvian freakotourism connection thing, first reported by OTL,S! and now confirmed by Ketchum, is interesting. OTL,S! has previously reported on Dr. Ketchum’s arrangement with Brien Foerster and his Hidden Inca Tours (see previous update, or use your search or find function on this post).
Authoring this book with Foerster and apparently participating in some of the tours is
David Hatcher Childress (born 1957) is an American author and publisher of books on topics on alternative history and historical revisionism. His works cover such subjects as pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, Atlantis, Lemuria, Ancient Astronauts, UFOs, Nikola Tesla, the Knights Templar, lost cities and vimana aircraft. Childress claims no academic credentials as a professional archaeologist nor in any other scientific field of study, having left the University of Montana after one year to travel and research subjects about which he would later write.
How did all this get started? OTL,S! doesn’t yet have all the details, but it appears that Foerster became aware of Ketchum’s “stuff,” and asked for an evaluation of her from David Swenson, retired Michigan biochemist, who seems to have been a Foerster follower/supporter (probably had taken one of Foerster’s tours). Foerster was cautious about sending more money (a lot more money) because he had, back in 2012, sent bone specimens and some $700 to Lloyd Pye (of Star Child skull fame) for DNA analysis. This effort failed, supposedly because of “bacterial contamination.” Later, Foerster or Swenson discovered Ketchum, and contacted her, but she wanted much more money to do her thing. Swenson then got in touch with Ketchum, who sent Swenson her bigfoot DNA paper. Swenson looked it over, and thought it looked convincing. He, in turn, sometime in mid 2012, then wrote a letter to Foerster (the letter which Ketchum released around Feb. 18, 2013), endorsing Ketchum’s paper to Foerster (and to Jeff Kart, an environmental writer who lives in Michigan near Swenson). Foerster then launched an internet crowd-sourced fundraiser, collecting some $4500 of the $7000 he eventually gave to Ketchum.
OTL,S! is informed that Foerster brought Ketchum down to Peru in January to see his operation, his “museum”
and a plethora of what we in the US might call grave-robbed skulls (not saying who robbed the graves).
That trip would have a retail value of some $3,000; OTL,S! doesn’t yet know the exact details of the deal they seem to have made, whether he gave her the $4500, or $7000, and/or a free trip. Ten thousand would total the kind of nice round number that Ketchum seems to favor, if one can believe the accounts of her statements to Justin Smeja and three witnesses.
A. L. Marzulli:
Another associated personality in this web of mysterious (actually not mysterious at all) elongated skull exploitation is the noted professional mysteriologist/Bible quoter/spook radio celebrity A. L. Marzulli, (shown here, at right, with Brien Foerster in Peru):
Marzulli apparently brings the Biblical aspect (complete with angels and Nephilim) that Dr. Ketchum seems to favor. His 1999 “Nephilim Trilogy” seems to have been a big seller:
“In a spellbinding trilogy that weaves truth, prophecy, fiction, and the author’s own shocking research, the Nephilim trilogy by L. A. Marzulli opens with the discovery of a giant skeleton in Jerusalem, the ancient remains of the offspring of a fallen angel and a human woman—a Nephilim, and the beginning of a hybrid lineage whose terror is about to be reborn into the modern world.” —from L.A. Marzulli website.
OTL,S! wonders whether Mr. Marzulli was originally a co-author on Dr. Ketchum’s paper (ok, not really; but we do suspect that Mr. Marzulli is one her favorite authors).
He has a busy speaking schedule. This month he was at the Prophesy Forum in Southern California.
OTL,S! doesn’t know much more money there is for Ketchum in the Peruvian feakotourism game, but Foerster seems ready to believe anything:
Astrology & Paranormal newsletter
On July 20, 2012, the Unexplained Phenomena Examiner had the good fortune to speak with Brien Foerster from “Ancient Aliens.” Foerster is an accomplished author and researcher who took time from his busy schedule to provide additional information and answer questions about the recent discovery of elongated skulls found in Peru, which included an elongated baby skull and the elongated skull of an unborn fetus. He provided the following information exclusively to Examiner.com’s readers. This is a follow-up to the article “DNA testing underway on ‘alien hybrid human baby’ found in Peru.”
Examiner: Do you believe these skulls are the remains of aliens from another planet?
Foerster: There is a possibility that these are in fact human/alien hybrids, but only DNA testing can prove that. If there are DNA strands from them that don’t match the international human genome data base, which they will be compared against, then we have real “smoking gun” data showing that aliens once may have visited this planet, and mixed with humans, or protohumans.
Ketchum seems to have several kindred spirits in the world of alien-human-angel-nephilim interbreeding, mysterious cultures, Bible thumping and making money. There are even rumors she wants to form some sort of colony of believers in South America.
OTL,S! appreciates the comment made by Curious regarding another statement by Dr. Ketchum, which seems to relate to her future business ideas.
What people don’t understand if they are not in the field of genomics/bioinformatics, when you have a genome that is novel, new and never sequenced, there is nothing to compare it to (in this case only small amounts of human sequence scattered about). Without anything to compare it to, it is extremely difficult to assemble. The contigs (sequences) we used in the manuscript took literally months to assemble and BLAST.
In the first place, how can there be only small amounts of human sequence? OTL,S! thinks this sounds like contamination.
Secondly, Dr. Ketchum and/or Dr. Zhang should revise the statement in their “paper” so as to accurately describe who did the analysis after the short segment reads were produced by the Illumina machine. It was not UTSW.
Thirdly, Dr. Ketchum has to tell when and why Sarah Bollinger was removed from the list of authors. If, as OTL,S! suspects, Ms. Bollinger pulled out because she had serious issues with the paper, then the public needs to know. Remember, she was an employee of DNA Diagnostics Inc., and may well have inside knowledge of things that went on there.
Over the Line, Smokey! now has confirmation that Dr. Ketchum has a new market niche, “abnormal skull” tourism/promoters/enthusiasts.
OTL,S! has previously observed that, besides cable television, much of the bigfoot hype comes from the the “freakotourist” industry. That is, those who promote, or stand to benefit from, that “fringe-y” brand of tourism which promises a taste of bigfoot or other elements of the mysterious, paranormal or supernatural. Apparently frustrated in her attempts to use television to monetize her “discovery,” Dr. Ketchum has expanded her horizon to these tour promoters. The list of freakotourism guides/promoters is long, from private one-or-two-person cottage industries, to local, state and even national governments around the world.
The exact subjects of these tours vary from bigfoot to ghosts to Mayan prophesies, sometimes in combination. Now OTL,S! can add skull-tourism to the list. Of course, these (and other) “abnormal” skulls have been explained over and over in print and online.
But Brien Foerster and Hidden Inca Tours hype the ‘mystery’ with shades of UFOs, aliens, and the like, that might tempt the naive to journey all the way to Peru to be relieved of their cash. According to a video, Mr. Foerster has assembled some $7000 to purchase, he hopes, nuclear DNA analysis, and has transmitted said considerable sum to an unnamed expert, and as of January 2013, was expecting results in the next month.
OTL,S was immediately suspicious that the “expert” was Dr. Ketchum.
A bit of background: Dr. Ketchum lost her lab some 7 months ago, and despite some cryptic comments about moving to a larger town, she has provided (as of this date) no evidence that she has a new physical address or phone number. Even previous to the closing of her lab in Timpson, she was sending out samples for analysis, in some cases even for extraction. And of course she doesn’t have genome level sequencing capability. So it is evident that if she is, in fact, the “DNA expert” who received the Peruvian extended skull samples and the $7000, and had promised DNA sequencing to Mr. Foerster, she had certainly “farmed out” most of the work to an actual lab.
Over the Line, Smokey! had to chuckle, and shared the story with DNA expert “slowstepper” (as he is known at the Bigfoot Forums). Professor Slow, as OTL,S! refers to him, made a call to a one of the co-authors of Dr. Ketchum’s paper, and inquired as to whether he/she might know anything about the “elongated skull” project. Lo and behold, the co-author was in fact working on that material, sent to him by Dr. Ketchum!! Hilarity ensued.
Lest we be accused of being anti-profit, let us assure our readers that OTL,S! is a great fan of advertising, marketing, hyping, informercials, unchecked capitalism, and, especially, being able to purchase twice as many crappy items by simply paying extra shipping and handling. We hope that Dr. Ketchum, and her shrinking band of collaborators will be successful in marketing this new “niche” market. And OTL,S! also hopes that Mr. Foerster will actually receive results, maybe even “not of this world”, from angels, Nephilim, or even FrankenLemur, and that these results will not smell of bleach or “magic” reagents. Certainly Dr. Ketchum has at least a passing familiarity with DNA and elongated skulls….in her paper, Dr. Ketchum has cited as a reference this paper, which seems to explain the relationship between elongated skulls seen in bigfoot, and those seen in horses.
Lastly, we hope that whatever Darwinian-shattering results Dr. Ketchum obtains will not be protected for some prolonged period by a non-disclosure agreement; it might take Dr. Ketchum a long time before she can self-publish a new ‘paper’, but we know Mr. Foerster not only wants something alien, he wants it now, in time for his scheduled October lollapalooza:
added: Business is great!!! this tour is now full. Instead, you are urged to book the Lloyd Pye tour for only $3715 single:
OTL,S! has an idea for another type skull abnormality that might be investigated by Dr. Ketchum and her team:
After all, as Dr. Ketchum’s publicist writes on Facebook:
All over the globe people have begged to have the answers Dr. Ketchum has given us.
Over the Line, Smokey! can’t resist adding a lighter note today.
Dr. Ketchum on Facebook comes up with an endorser of some part of her paper:
We just heard from some mtDNA geneticists … I am estatic. ….The following was a unsolicited commentary by A. John Marsh on a geaneology DNA page …
However, a little sleuthing by leisureclass at the Bigfoot Forums shows that this “endorsement” was an old post on a genealogy board, and the supposed “mtDNA geneticist” is not a geneticist of any sort, nor even a scientist or a Ph.D. He is actually a New Zealand architect (of the landscape variety) with a genealogy hobby and no grasp of the scientific aspects of Dr. Ketchum’s paper. He tries to make something out of a few of the T2/T2b haplotypes, but Ketchum herself says in the paper:
The mtDNA whole genome haplotypes obtained were uniformly consistent with modern 44 humans. Of the 20 whole and 10 partial mitochondrial genomes sequenced, 16 diverse 45 haplotypes were found suggesting that these hominins did not originate in a single geographic 46 location.
Furthermore, none of the samples that Ketchum shows as haplotype T2/T2b are even among the three that Ketchum can claim to have proven as sasquatches by nuclear DNA. None of his comments relate to whether or not the paper is a hoax.
Over the Line, Smokey! is reminded of “The Marine Biologist” episode of Seinfeld:
Jerry: Now I should tell you that at this point she’s under the impression that you’re… A marine biologist.”
George: Yeah, but what did you have to tell her that for. You put me in a very difficult position, Marine Biologist!
… Why couldn’t you have made me an architect? You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect.
George: So I started to walk into the water. I won’t lie to you boys, I was terrified. But I pressed on, and as I made my way past the breakers a strange calm came over me. I don’t know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things, but I tell you Jerry, at that moment I was a marine biologist.”
In fact, Mr. Marsh (like so many others) is backing away from his “endorsement” of the “paper”, according to an email sent to the ironically-named jerrywayne at the James Randi Educational Forum:
If you have been following my thread on the Ketchum DNA, I have just discovered that some of my conclusions were wrong, because with respect to mtDNA haplogroup T2b, the Bigfoots and an alleged Cro Magnon were sequenced using the rCRS standard, and other T2bs I was comparing them to were using a more recent RSRS standard reference sequence. Because the Ketchum papers were delayed being released by peer review issues, it did not realize the sequencing was done under the currency of the old standard, and not the standard used by the test company used at the date of publication. So I have been wrong about some aspects of T2b, and I need to convert sequences to the relevant standards, and review the matter. It is primarily the T2b Bigfoots I have been wrong about. But I will have to go back and review my conclusions after adjusting the results to the same reference sequences.
Update 3/22/2013 (b)
Over the Line, Smokey! is aware of allegations that Dr. Ketchum’s paper has been altered since its publication on Feb. 13. Today we note that in the list of authors for Dr. Ketchum’s paper, after Dr. Zhang’s name, there is an extra comma. So what? …turns out it’s a trace:
Ketchum, M. S., Wojtkiewicz, P. W., Watts, A. B., Spence, D. W., Holzenburg, A. K., Toler, D. G., Prychitko, T. M., Zhang, F.,, Shoulders, R., Smith, R. (2013)
Comparing this list of authors given in the initial press release, and the list still shown today on the DeNovo website, it is apparent that the extra comma marks the spot where Sarah Bollinger’s name has been deleted from an earlier list.
More than a bit irregular; OTL,S! wonders what happened to Ms. Bollinger, and whether the list as it appeared on the paper itself on Feb. 13 has been changed. That would be not only be irregular, it would be, well, extremely irregular. OTL,S! invites our readers to help us out. Who has the paper as it came out on Feb. 13?
Update: Commenter Curious and also John Weeast inform OTL,S! that they have seen an actual published copy or a copy thereof, and that these early versions of the paper shows Ms. Bollinger as an author. It is clear that the author list on the published paper has been recently changed...an author’s name has been deleted, without explanation or even acknowledgment by the author. This is bizarre… in fact, unprecedented… in the experience of the staff of OTL,S!. This is a fundamental change in the paper. Clearly this change should be prominently acknowledged, along with the date and the reasons as given by Ms. Bollinger and Dr. Ketchum. All persons who have purchased the “paper” should be notified directly if possible.
Update 3/22/2013 (a)
Over the Line, Smokey! perceives that Dr. Fan Zhang (Fan.Zhang@unthsc.edu) of the University of North Texas Health Science Center/Center for Human Identification has a central role in the synthesizing of the Frankenlemur shown in the “paper” written and published by Dr. Ketchum et al. Analysis of the nuclear DNA is the central feature and claim of the “paper.”
He seems be the only member of the “team” that claims expertise in assembling the “reads” ie short sequence fragments from Next Generation sequencing, furnished by (supposedly) the University of Texas-Southwestern. Unless, of course, Dr. Ketchum did it herself. Yet, oddly, Dr. Zhang is listed far down the list of co-authors, just ahead of three lab techs who formerly worked for Dr. Ketchum/DNA Diagnostics.
Thus far, attempts by the staff of OTL,S! (and others) to reach Dr. Zhang have been ignored. OTL,S! thinks Dr. Zhang, an employee of the University of North Texas, a public university, has an obligation to the public to answer legitimate questions about the claiming of a novel huge North American primate. Furthermore, Dr. Zhang is part of the Center for Human Identification, seemingly an important institution in whom the public should have confidence. OTL,S! has previously noted the odd educational background claimed by Dr. Zhang. We would hope that Dr. Zhang will respond to OTL,S!‘s inquiries.
Over the Line, Smokey!, journalist John Weeast and others have noted that a number of the co-authors on Dr. Ketchum’s paper have refused to endorse the conclusions of the paper. Dr. Ketchum herself has indicated that several institutions/entities involved in the testing have refused to join the paper. Nonetheless, Dr. Ketchum’s paper attempts to trade on the names of these famous “for hire” laboratories, notably the University of Texas-Southwestern and Texas A&M, saying they did or found a certain thing, without saying exactly what, and then saying that result was “confirmed’ by some other lesser-known lab or individual eg Huguley Pathology Consultants, or Fan Zhang Ph.D.
Here is one such passage from the Ketchum paper (emphasis added):
In depth analysis of all three genomic sequences (samples 26, 31 and 140) was performed at the University of Texas, Southwestern and alignment confirmed by the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Using CLC Bio Genomic Workbench version 5.1, a subsample of extracted reads were assembled to create a consensus sequence using the human chromosome 11 ….
and this analysis goes on and on for the entire balance of the “Testing and Results” section of the paper. Here is the problem: from reading that, one doesn’t know what was done, exactly, by the prestigious UTSW, versus what was done by Melba Ketchum DVM, and her coauthor Fan Zhang, whose Ph.D seems to be in some sort of aircraft engineering from the Harbin institute in China. Now, Dr. Zhang may have done some postgrad work in bioinformatics, but his credibility as a the synthesizer of a novel North American primate genome certainly wouldn’t approach that of UTSW (nor would Dr. Ketchum’s).
OTL,S has previously stated that the University of Texas-Southwestern did not construct a “Sasquatch” genome for Dr. Ketchum. The Next Generation sequencer in UTSW’s lab provided the “reads” on millions of short segments. That was the data from their lab. They did not assemble them into the genome of a sasquatch or a lemur or anything else. Confirmation of this comes in a letter written by Ward Wakeland to journalist John Weeast, posted at the Bigfoot Forums (emphasis added):
Dear Mr. Weeast,
Thank you for your email concerning the sequencing that we provided to Dr. Ketchum and co-workers. This work was performed as a fee for service. We have not been involved in the analysis of the results. Further, we are not at liberty and have no intention of discussing the laboratory results that we obtained with anyone but Dr. Ketchum or her colleagues. I would suggest that you direct your questions to her. Our core has only provided sequencing service for this study and we are not involved beyond that.
All the best,
Edward K. Wakeland, Ph.D
Edwin L. Cox Distinguished Chair in Immunology and Genetics
Director, Walter M. and Helen D. Bader Center for Research
on Arthritis and Autoimmune Diseases
Director, IIMT Genomics Core
Professor and Chairman,
Department of Immunology
So Ketchum et al said UTSW did “in depth analysis,” but UTSW says they just did lab work and no analysis of the results. Who’s telling the truth? Who assembled the Frankenbear?
Over the Line, Smokey! notes (thanks to “Curious” in the comments) that Dr. Ketchum’s journal/publishing entity is now on Beall’s List of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access journals.
OTL,S! sees several comments related to either the idea that Dr. Ketchum is being picked on, or, conversely, that she isn’t being punished enough, for academic fraud, and feels that some general comments are in order:
For those in academia, success is ultimately connected to getting it right, while playing by certain rules. The fights are waged in academic meetings and journals. There are penalties for getting it wrong, for plagiarism, for hoaxing, and for other forms of scientific misconduct: that is, one can lose employment, salary, status, etc.
In contrast, a business person measures success by sales and profit. The contests are waged in press releases, infomercials, conventions, conferences, profits, and the courts.
The rules for business people are things like copyrights, trademarks, stockholders, corporate rules, actual fraud, theft, taxes, false claims, contracts, and the like. It’s pretty much all measured in dollars.
The common factors in both arenas may be personal integrity and credibility, assets which are assumed initially, but which are subject to “depreciation” ie if integrity is called into serious question, failure in both academic and business arenas are likely. If one shows shady business ethics, or violates the rules of the academic pursuits, one no longer gets the assumption of honesty, or the benefit of the doubt, and is no longer assumed to have done what was stated or promised. This of course strikes at the very heart of science, since a scientific paper is really only the author’s report of happens in the lab or in the field. A few keystrokes here or there, a reagent added but not documented, a few bases changed…can make all the difference. Personal integrity matters. OTL,S! notes an interest in the release of more data. Well, of course, that might be interesting. OTL,S! asks what does any data mean if the source is in question? Dr. Ketchum has stated that DNA can’t be faked. Any data can be faked. Period. As easily as our clumsy OTL,S! intern types “teh” instead of “the”.
Dr. Ketchum operates in the business realm, but attempts to draw on the credibility of the academic side, by showing images of test tubes, and citing academic institutions and Ph.D.’s who seemingly don’t want anything to do with her paper. But she doesn’t play by the academic rules, nor is she subject to the academic sanctions. Were she in academia she might be in hearings and subject to dismissal. However, she isn’t. She is in business. To this point, if we can believe her most visible associate and defender, David Paulides, she has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, the academic side (as witnessed by Beall’s List), and some on the business side (her co-authors) have drawn away. To what extent she succeeds or fails depends not on her science (that seems to be pretty much of a “goner”). Rather, it depends on her recovering her effectiveness in the marketplace (which didn’t like the April Fool’s paper in her references or her psychic communications with bigfoot) and whether or not she has to pay business type penalties for any nefarious actions she might have been involved in.
OTL,S! invites comments on these matters.
Over the Line, Smokey! is wary about posting unsubstantiated accounts. Having said that, OTL,S! feels that the the following material is pretty credible, as it comes from a prominent member of the bigfoot community, and supports substantiated statements previously posted here or elsewhere. There are some other major issues which have not been previously published (or at least not noticed by the crack staff of OTL,S!). The post is by Matt Knapp, who, notably, has discussed the need for mutual respect. Given that stance, OTL,S! would suggest that Mr. Knapp thought long and hard before making these comments, but decided they needed to be said. The reader should make his/her own judgments about the material. Note: this conversation allegedly occurred “many months prior to her information release”:
I had a phone conversation with Dr. Ketchum many months prior to her information release. At that time she requested that I send her any photos and videos I had, as well as previous results from hair analysis some colleagues of mine had done years before. She claimed that the delay in her results being released was due to two things; the fact that they were going to be published in a major newsstand magazine, and they were wanting photo and video stills to go along with the article, and that she had created a business entity with a partner that was connected to Tom Biscardi, in which she was trying to legally remove herself from so they would not have any rights to the profit that was going to be made from book and movie sales once the paper was released.* She told me that the paper itself had undergone several rewrites, and that the peer review of her work had already been completed. According to Ketchum the results were that Bigfoot were a type of human. I had no NDA with her, but I did give her my word that I would not say anything, which I kept. I did not question her about her study, in fact the intent of the phone conversation had nothing to do with her work, which I explained to her at the beginning of the call. She willingly and openly gave me all of this information on her own.
Another set of circumstances surrounding the study that I find problematic is the motivation of an agenda. It is by no coincidence that Melba has aligned herself primarily with the habituator camp. She claims to have entered this study as a skeptic, but according to her own words during our phone conversation, she was far from what one would consider skeptical. She claimed that part of the reward of having done this study was the “I told you so’s” to some of her own peers and colleagues. She told me stories of how Bigfoot would visit her horse ranch and braid their manes and tails. The most telling of all the things she told me was that Bigfoot had been psychically communicating with others, and that they (Bigfoot) had chosen her to do this study and prove their existence to the world so that she could lead the campaign in protecting them. Does that sound skeptical? Does that sound like a person you would want to lead a scientific inquiry?
Of course Dr. Ketchum could easily deny all of this. I have no way of proving the conversation ever took place, and regardless there would still be those who would blindly follow her because they want the results to be true. They want to be vindicated in their personal beliefs of what Bigfoot is or isn’t. If the science was conducted properly, and the results are on the up and up, I have no problem with it. I won’t be back peddling or eating crow. I will still stand firm in my beliefs that things were handled and presented the wrong way, and until this data is checked and the results are repeated by TRUE NON-BIASED SCIENTIFIC entities, I will remain skeptical of the results.
* This “business entity” would appear to refer to Science Alive LLC, a Texas corporation created in 2010 by Ketchum, Robert Schmalzbach (prev. associated with Tom Biscardi) and the late Richard Stubstad; OTL,S! has discussed this in previous updates; use “Schmalzbach” or “Stubstad” in your “search” or “find” function to query this post for details.
Over the Line, Smokey! takes note of the kind mention of our efforts by the Doubtful News. Besides giving well-deserved credit to our crack investigative staff, the DN also attempts to summarize/bring together/encapsulate/sort out/make sense of recent disclosures. But it is a challenge to resolve this steaming mess. Who can even remember all the apparently fake foundations, journals, editors, editorial secretaries, boards, addresses, titles, qualifications, middle names, surnames, corporations, credit card buttons, Mullins, calls for papers, “peer” review, phone numbers and publishers that surround Dr. Ketchum’s excellent adventure of a “paper” (which should probably be referred to as “The Caper” rather than “The Paper”)….not to mention suggestions of fake data.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ketchum claims “bias”, compares herself to Galileo and claims to undo the theory of evolution. What’s next, “Texas Veterinarian Transmutes Lead into Gold?”
Of course, if Dr. Ketchum can prove all of these various assertions, entities and claims were/are real/true, OTL,S! would be more than happy to print her statements, corrections, and, of course, her proof. She supposedly showed documents to George Knapp on his paranormal radio program, why not make them public? Until such time, Dr. Ketchum should understand that she has forfeited the right to be assumed credible, and that extends to her data, in the opinion of OTL,S!.
Meanwhile, our crack science team gets migraines trying to make sense of much of the paper. One of them came crying to the boss, after encountering this bit of nonsense:
Of the unknown samples, there were those that showed human TAP 1 sequences, and those that failed…
What is this, a scientific paper or The Uncle Remus Stories?
In fact, after a week of non-stop eye-rolling over Dr. Ketchum’s tangled web, OTL,S! is giving our crack team of Rubik’s Cube solvers the afternoon off today to untwist their brains and be with their families. With Dr. Ketchum supposedly incommunicado (strangely, while on a “business trip”), there should be no breaking news.
Oops. What’s that? Twitter…? hmmmm …look at that… very interesting lead for tomorrow.
Update 3/15/2013: Continue reading