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.
Over the Line, Smokey! has no problem with people who feed blueberry bagels to wildlife, or with those who make their living selling religion. But at the same time, OTL,S! feels that editing a “Scientific Journal” like “Denovo: accelerating Science” or a scientific paper as complex as that of Dr. Ketchum should be left to the professionals. Dr. Ketchum might have done better to have selected someone as editor with actual scientific publishing experience, rather than “Robin Lynne” of bagel/bigfoot hostess fame, who doubles as Dr. Ketchum’s public relations representative(and possibly the publisher of DeNovo), and/or Dr. Rayford Wallace.
Let’s start with Ms. Lynne, (like DeNovo itself, she goes by various names) since she was, briefly, the first (and as of today, the only) known editor of “DeNovo: accelerating Science.” Her name was removed from the website within a day of its appearance. We at OTL,S! have not found any indications that she would be qualified for that position.
Now moving on to the “Editor Dr. Rayford Wallace” who is really not listed as the editor of DeNovo journal, but rather simply placed at the top of Dr. Ketchum’s paper. OTL,S! isn’t sure what it means to have an “editor’ imprinted at the top of a scientific paper. At any rate, Dr. Wallace, while he is an active longtime believer in bigfoot and associate of the bigfoot icon “bulletmaker, he is not, “bless his heart”, a scientist, or a scientific publisher or editor. In fact, he is actually an elderly Doctor of Ministry and retired preacher.
Rayford Wallace on April 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm said:
….(He keeps “outing” me as a doctor, but don’t take that too seriously. I’m neither a Ph.D. or an M.D. I have a D.Min. That is a preacher’s degree. But keep in mind that preacher’s learn a lot about a lot of things.) But again, I don’t know: I ain’t no expert.
By his own admission, Dr. Wallace has barely entry level computer skills.
Rayford Wallace on April 27, 2010 at 5:40 am said:
This will probably be my last post on this matter, but I would be interested in Woody, or someone else, “faking” a similar photo so that I could compare the know-to-be faked photo with the one that I saw. I can just barely type on a keyboard and know next to nothing about handling photos on a computer. I’m technologically challenged and I know it.
Over the Line, Smokey! isn’t sure that Dr. Wallace is the type of professional being referred to in the DeNovo message to authors:
OTL,S! makes the supposition that his name was added to the top of the paper simply because he can be called “Dr.” and someone thought that added some credibility to the paper. If that were the thinking, OTL,S! would have to disagree, as we don’t think Dr. Wallace knows the difference between a contig and a file extension. Perhaps he was brought in to check the grammar. We invite Dr. Ketchum, on whose paper his name was placed, to fill us in on her rationale.
Let’s move on to another interesting question: who is the publisher of DeNovo, the person who makes it happen, who provides the financing and does the business? Like the editor issue, this is a little confusing. First of all, Dr. Ketchum, who might be the logical candidate, said in a recent interview that she had nothing to do with the publishing of the paper. Hmmm. More on that in a moment.
The DeNovo website lists three different entities that might be the publisher, “DeNovo Scientific Publishing” and “DeNovo Publishing and Genomics Foundation, and “Denovo Publishing”:
As if that weren’t confusing enought, the identity of the publisher was further clouded when OTL,S! followed the ISSN registration number and discovered that WorldCat thinks that DeNovo is published by some entity called “Advanced Science Publishing,” of Big Rapids, MI.
It should come as no surprise to devoted readers of this blog that, like so many other Ketchum-related entities, “ASP” doesn’t seem to exist elsewhere on the internet in Big Rapids or anywhere. The interesting thing, however, is that Big Rapids is located exactly three miles from Newaygo County, which is the home of …wait for it…Robin Lynne. So, in addition to being the temporary editor, Robin Lynn seemingly was/is the publisher, as well.
But the confusion doesn’t end there. The publisher is the business entity. It appears that on the DeNovo website, payments are not being made to the supposed publisher, Advanced Science Publishing, (or the several other internet-invisible “publishing” entities listed on the website) but rather to dnadiagnostics.com. Hmmm.
In a recent interview Dr. Ketchum said (strangely) that she “had nothing to do with the publishing” of Denovo. Hmmm. Over the Line, Smokey! understands that Dr. Ketchum may not have chosen the fonts, etc, but still thinks that “…had nothing to do with…” crosses the line between the truth and the kinds of things we were taught as children not to say unless we had our fingers crossed.
Let’s review: Dr. Ketchum says she “acquired” the supposed “Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Explorations in Zoology.” So she “owns” that publication. Then she changed the name. So she named it. And she says someone from the the JAMEZ “helped’ with the new journal….helped who? OTL,S! has to assume “they” (the imaginary Casey Mullins?) helped someone connected with Dr. Ketchum ie Robin Lynne, aka Robin Lynn, aka Robin Lynn Forestpeople, aka Robin Lynn Pfeifer aka Robin Lynn Haynes, her public relations person. And firstname.lastname@example.org is getting the payments. So….how does all that square with Dr. Ketchum having nothing to do with the publishing??? OTL,S! needs some clarification on who is doing the business of publishing “Denovo:accelerating Science”. Even the name of the journal seems to be in doubt. In the initial press release it was called Denovo:Journal of Science:
But on the website it has had at least three different names: initially it was ‘Denovo Scientific Journal”, followed by:
OTL,S! has one other related comment. We mentioned that the payments hosted by ‘Denovo: accelerating Science” seem to be directly through PayPal to email@example.com. Strangely, the website displays six clickable credit cards, including MasterCard and American Express. Yet, not one of them actually leads to a credit card site. Every single one leads to PayPal. What Ketchum has done (or, had Robin Lynne do) is to violate a PayPal ad, which we assume is protected. OTL,S! has no particular reason to worry about the financial health or reputation or trademark of PayPal or any credit card companies, but does think that the publisher (no one outside of Dr. Ketchum really knows who that really is, I guess) might want to avoid ensnarling him/her self with the Plastic Card People, who have a deserved reputation for finding malfeasance and squashing it like bugs. Particularly as it seems that whoever is publishing “DeNovo: accelerating Science” (apparently Dr. Melba Ketchum) is now going for the big bucks: offering to peer-review and publish papers for up to $1500 a pop. American Express might care about fakery when $1500 is involved.
OTL,S! guesses that making this kind of money on vanity/predatory publishing may make Dr. Ketchum forget about marketing the non-existent Sasquatch Wildwear tshirts and other commemorative items purportedly to be sold through the non-existent “Friends of Saquatch,” as indicated on the apparently-for-profit-but-called-non-profit Global Sasquatch Foundation website. The OTL,S! staff would be very disappointed to miss the opportunity to purchase these items, particularly if they were autographed.
If we are to believe her website, Dr. Ketchum believes that not only is sasquatch a real animal, but also that it has a penchant for braiding horse manes. Over the Line, Smokey! refers our many discriminating readers to the erudite essay by ghostexorcist on the origins of the hair-braiding myth, or let us google that for you, to find hundreds of images of horses with tangled or matted manes. Oh, wait, maybe they were all done by sasquatch. OTL,S! sees a potential boom in cosmetology training for novel hominins, once sasquatch is recognized as an actual living primate. Of course, this is just speculation…they may be all thumbs when it comes to scissors.
OTL,S finds it nearly impossible to keep up with the excellent adventures of Dr. Ketchum and her loyal band of followers. Today we have the new website for the Melba Ketchum Global Sasquatch Foundation. Says it “is a Non-profit organization.” That’s news to us, and it must also be to the IRS and the state of Texas. Cause it isn’t listed as a non-profit with either of those bodies. It’s a business, according to the state of Texas.
Perhaps this idea that the GSF is a non-profit is just an opinion. At the bottom of the page it says:
Disclaimer: Any opinions express [sic] on any Q & A, blog or Advice page are only our opinions and we are not responsible. [sic]
Actually, OTL,S! is pretty sure they ARE responsible if they solicit money posing as a non-profit. OTL,S! is not a law firm, but would suspect that would be some sort of crime or fraud. The “Foundation” seems to realize that also; in a couple places on the site, they actually don’t quite solicit money, they just hint at it:
Looking to the Future
As the GSF continues its research, more funding will be necessary to enable the GSF team to learn as much as possible about the mysterious and fascinating Sasquatch people.
If you are interesting in supporting further
and there it just ends!!! comes to a screetching halt just before the incriminating plea for money!! good move, GSF!!!]
Then, there IS a donation tab and an almost-request:
If you would like to make a contribution to Global Sasquatch Foundation, please submit this form. A representative will contact you as soon as possible.
Your name *
At another place, they use the dodge of passing money though yet another entity:
How you can help
You can help this newly formed research organization through the purchase of commemorative and themed items available through Friends of Sasquatch. A portion of the proceeds will support the Global Sasquatch Foundation as it ramps up its operations and establishes itself as the premiere professional organization dedicated to Sasquatch.
of course, we don’t yet know who or what this “Friends of Sasquatch” is, but by creating a shell organization that actually collects money, the GSF avoids the consequences of soliciting money while pretending to be a non-profit. Right now, searching for “Friends of Sasquatch” gives us this, which is also not a non-profit, but is a ‘research blog” (“Research for the facilitation of interspecies communication…formed to explore methods of developing contact with Sasquatch, including communication via subtle energies.) run by a Linda Martin, a novelist out of Happy Camp, CA.
The site gives helpful tips on “How To Get Involved in Telepathic Bigfoot Research,” but, unlike the vast Ketchum empire of 41 domain names, is definitely a small-time operation:
There are only two members of the Friends of Sasquatch group right now.
The founder, Linda, is also up for a little profit:
If you come to Happy Camp you can contact me for a tour of areas where there have been Bigfoot sightings near our town. I charge $250 for a one-day tour and you must drive your own vehicle while I drive mine. No insurance is available so you must sign a liability waiver. These hot spots are on all sides of our town. I believe Bigfoot has us surrounded!
It just doesn’t sound like this is the right organization. We don’t see any of the supposed commemorative and themed items described by the MKGSF as being up for sale on this “Friends of Sasquatch’ site.
Long story short, OTL,S! doesn’t see this as being the “Friends of Sasquatch” that is referred to by the “Melba Ketchum Global Sasquatch Foundation” which is linked to on the website of the “Sasquatch Genome Project.” which, in turn, talks about the article advertised for sale on the website formerly titled “DeNovo Scientific Journal,” which is now “DeNovo: accelerating Science”, supposedly published by the impossible-to-verify “DeNovo Scientific Publishing” (which is possibly an imagined arm of the invisible “DeNovo Publishing and Genomics Foundation’). However, by the ISSN number, it is published by the equally hard to verify “Advanced Science Publishing” of Big Rapids, MI (home of Dr. Ketchum’s publicist, Robin Lynne). Denovo is the second coming of the never-published but allegedly-peer-reviewed “Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology”, which was almost published by the supposed “Foundation for Advanced Zoological Exploration,” whose supposed editorial secretary was/is the imaginary “Casey Mullins.” Are you keeping this all straight? Well, if you are, toss in the fact that this all started from a press release at the website of “DNA Diagnostics Inc.” (which does business as “Shelterwood Laboratories”) yet has no physical address or phone number.
But we are confident that in a day or two, there will be a new “Friends of Sasquatch.net” or -.info or -.us, which will offer those commemorative and themed items we all crave.
At any rate, the Melba Ketchum Global Sasquatch Foundation provides us with the usual Ketchimpaired style of communication (spelling corrections omitted).
Sasquatch has been around for approximately 13,000 yrs. Most of this time we were unaware of their existance. This is do to their unbelieveable ability to stay hidden from us. However, more and more we are going into the woods. This is leading us to more encounters than ever before. Sasquatch for the most part would rather be left alone. Still like us they can and will be protective of their homes and families. If you have a encounter simply walk away quietly. Do not panick, or run just stay calm and walk away. Remember like us there are good and bad in all people, caution is always advised.
The MKGSF is nothing if not ambitious. It has its own ‘platform”… seems to view itself as a political party,
…we must ask for legislative recognition for them to be one of the world’s many tribal people/communities who must be allowed to live their lives in peace and in the manner of their choosing, with special attention to protecting their right to life, and their right to liberty in the form of free ingress and egress, as well as their rights to cultural expression such as their navigational, territorial and other markers.
If the Sasquatch’s legal status as a people is questioned, the Alliance will advocate for an emergency moratorium on all hunting, assaulting, poisoning, stalking, entrapment, baiting, skinning, stuffing, etc. activities in certain areas where highly documented reports of their presence and activity are known.
So there we see that there is yet another entity, the “Alliance….” Would that be the Sasquatch Preservation Alliance? As mentioned in our Jan 10 update to this post? wasn’t this involved in Ketchum’s bullying of the cancer patient artist Alexis Evans? didn’t Alex write:
I hereby demand that you remove all of my art from the Sasquatch Genome Project’s website. In addition, I demand that my art be removed from the Sasquatch Preservation Alliance’s website. I also demand that you not use the art I prepared for your designer clothing label, Authentic Sasquatch Wildwear, as well as the various designs I did for your t-shirt sales program. You no longer have my permission to use any of my art for any reason whatsoever. Remember, I never signed over my copyright, or any document, giving you exclusive or limited permission, or one of your NDAs.
We couldn’t find ‘the Alliance” online then, and we can’t find it now…other than of course it is one of the 41 domain names bought by Ketchum/her associates.
More from the MKGSF website:
It may be prudent that part of the education to the public about the Sasquatch be that they should be left alone and that the possibility of some form of communication between our society and theirs be attempted to learn more about their way of life and possibly the needs they may have.
The GSF’s findings have inspired the formation of a new research organization dedicated to a new approach grounded in the reality of Sasquatch existence and nature as people.
In addition, the Foundation has a division dedicated to the preservation of the Sasquatch people – including protecting them from hunting, poisoning, harassment and captivity.
The Global Sasquatch Foundation (GSF)) has made arrangements to accommodate regional, national and even international discussions. Using the popular social networking site, Facebook, GSF has established group pages
oops, not quite, Facebook says this content is currently unavailable. Darn, OTL,S! was so hoping for a dose of spirited Great Lakes regional sasquatch preservation discussion.
Lastly, the domain name for the MK-GSF was registered the very day that Tyler Huggins released his report, Dec. 26, 2012. Over the Line, Smokey! has previously shown the temporal relationship between, on the one hand,
the release of the Huggins report showing that the Sierra Steak (Ketchum’s crucial sample 26 that she claims is a novel human/hybrid/squatchenlemur) was actually bear with human (Justin Smeja) contamination,
and on the other hand,
the sudden appearance of the fake “Foundation for Advanced Zoological Exploration”, which supposedly almost published the Ketchum paper in the fake ‘Journal for Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology.”
1) the implication that the high-profile labs she used for “Next Generation sequencing” were the ones who came up with a novel species, and
2) the statement that Q-30 scores have anything significant to do with the nature of her claims.
3) The idea that Next Generation whole genome sequencing (the foundation of the paper) uses supersecret primers made up by Ketchum (even Ketchum’s paper does not claim that any primers designed by her to target certain genes, showed anything but human gene results).
In essence, the “famous lab” only did the following:
- It received a bottle from Dr. Ketchum containing a liquid in which there was some DNA. Could be one animal, a horse, a human, a mold or a hundred different species. Could be bear and human. It is whatever Dr. Ketchum put in the bottle.
- It put the liquid in a machine that chopped up the DNA into bajillion very short pieces, maybe 200 bases long. It doesn’t know whether half of those are from a cow or fungus or rutabaga or all of the above. They just chop it all up.
- It then determined, without any supersecret primers made by Dr. Ketchum, the composition of each very short piece (ie the sequence of each 200 base piece)
- it also determined how accurately it “decided”/determined each base (ie the Q30 score). The Q30 score is only an internal quality check on whether the machine was getting good consistent readings on each base ie “base-calling”. It can’t tell contamination from the real thing from a mixture of a hundred animals. It just reports the sequence of each short segment and the internal quality control Q30 score. But Dr. Ketchum’s paper says:
The run summary generated by the HiSeq 2000 next generation sequencer provides scores, Q30, 497 for run quality78. Q30 can also be used to determine if there was any contamination (or mixture) 498 found in the samples sequenced. According to Illumina, a pure, single source sample would 499 have an Q30 score of 80 or greater with an average of 85. However, if there was contamination 500 present in the sample sequenced, the divergent sequences would compete against one another 501 prior to sequencing causing a contaminated sample to have a Q30 score of 40 to 50.
and gives us only this reference to back up her statement.
But that reference never mentions contamination. Furthermore, the “According to Illumina…..” stuff, which (to the reader) appears to be part of the same reference, is NOT. Dr. Ketchum has since said that she got that stuff from talking to two (un-named) people at Illumina. /rolls eyes.
- Lastly, the “famous lab” reported the bajillion 200 base sequences to Dr. Ketchum. To repeat: The famous outside laboratory that Dr. Ketchum wants us to make us think is responsible for the Sasquatch genome reported the sequences of a bajillian pieces, each 200 bases long, along with some quality control info on its own process.
That’s all folks. That is Next Generation sequencing. The sequencing machine could be called the
The automatic sequencer of 200 base segments-2000.
instead of the Illumina Hi-seq 2000. It takes everything apart, and it doesn’t put it back together for you. They don’t tell you it’s a bear and/or a lemur and/or a Smeja and/or a milkweed. They just give you a big pile of 200 base sequences and tell you, with a Q score, how well the process went.
Dr. Ketchum now has a bajillion sequences that are 200 bases long. How she puts them together is up to her (or whoever she has help her), it depends on what she put in the bottle that she sent to the lab, and on knowledge, experience, skill, integrity, character, honesty and how she/co-authors uses various software programs. They could make it into a frankenbear, or a horsenweed or a Lemusmejinstein.
She could then type that into her computer and put it on the internet.
That doesn’t make a frankenbear a real animal.
And she could say, or imply, that the lab did it….go all “…University of Texas Southwestern (you all know how smart they are) they did it…” on us.
But that implication would be misleading. UTSW did not create the purported sasquatch genome. And they resent the implication that they did. They may have done the Next Generation sequencing, but Next Generation sequencing only gave her the little pieces of whatever she sent them. What she or her helpers did with the little pieces of whatever she sent them, was her/her co-authors responsibility.
Dr. Ketchum is invited to respond. OTL,S! would be happy to correct any mistakes by our scientific people. Specifically, she could get someone from UTSW to admit to creating the sasquatch genome, or tell us how they used Dr. Ketchum’s supposed supersecret primers in an automated Next Generation sequencer like the Illumina Hi-seq 2000 or where in the paper any Ketchum designed primers showed anything but human. Perhaps she could identify the purported two supervisors at Illumina who supposedly told her something about “contamination” causing low Q30 scores. Oh, wait, we know: “They might be fired…’ For giving accurate? information? Really?
Oh wait, Dr. Ketchum often makes claims about anonymous but supposedly expert people who can’t be identified for various reasons. And even identified people like her “co-authors” don’t want to back up her claims. And then there are clearly imaginary people like “Casey Mullins.”
Just our humble opinions.
Over the Line, Smokey! takes notice of a communication from Troy Hudson, a member of Dr. Ketchum’s “Posse of Blind Devotion.” Mr. Hudson seems to be in charge of one of Dr. Ketchum’s “foundations,” which apparently amount to no more than businesses dressed up like charities. Mr. Hudson would appear to run the (Melba Ketchum) “Global Sasquatch Foundation,” a regular Texas business, out of his home in Garland Tx, a suburb of Dallas.
In response to a request from a representative of the Bigfoot Forums, Mr. Hudson tells us that Dr. Ketchum is going to continue to not answer tough questions about her self-published paper:
Hello Dr. Ketchum,
My name is John Weeast and I’m taking over the blog for The Bigfoot Forums. I was inquiring if you would be able to ask some questions via email about your paper and the controversy surrounding it since its release.
My email is xxxxxxxxxxxxx. I look forward to hearing back from you.
The response (emphasis added):
(Troy Hudson for Dr. Ketchum) I am sorry Mr. Weeast she is unable to make any comments or is in any position to respond at this time. She is out of town on business (Non-BF related) and will not return for several weeks. Also note: Sir all due respect, Dr. Ketchum has informed me time and time again, she WILL not make any communication to any Bigfoot Related Forum, Blog, or Organization, I am sorry.
Mr. Weeast adds:
As a writer, this doesn’t make sense. The topic is Bigfoot, yet anyone related to Bigfoot are shut out from asking questions? Well, I tried.
Over the Line, Smokey! agrees, and would add that according to our crack anyone-who-lives-on-the-planet-since-about-2005-knows: you can’t go anywhere where business is done and not have access to the internet. OTL,S! would also add, with all due respect: DUH! and Hello? and Really?.
Not to mention:smartphones? Hello?
Not to mention: dropbox, Google Docs, laptops, tablets, thumb drives, portable hard drives, 3G, 4G, remote access software, wireless, satellite, hot spots, servers, the cloud, etc, etc.
Over the line, Smokey! believes that what Dr. Ketchum is trying to say through Mr. Hudson is: “I’m on the paranormalist circuit, where I get to make up the questions they ask and the hosts will believe anything. Or pay-per-view, or if I get to be on TV, but only for softball/soundbite questions.” If we are wrong on this, we hope that Dr. Ketchum will correct us.
By the way, Over the Line, Smokey! is also rather impatient about getting tshirts. When will the merchandise line be available for purchase? OTL,S! has a number of staffers who want Ketchum-autographed tshirts.
OTL,S! notes and recommends a new blog dealing with Dr. Ketchum’s jeremiad.
Over the line, Smokey! continues to be confused by Dr. Ketchum’s paper. She seems to be adamant that the key to her research was finding hairs that were not human by appearance but yielded human mtDNA.
All of these samples were [DNA]testing human with non-human hair.
Over the Line, Smokey! recalls that Dr. Ketchum noted these “not human” characteristics herself, but in her paper she states that her hair expert is a Mr. David W. Spence, who, although he seems to have no letters after his name and no publications on hair identification, is apparently a lab supervisor at Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, TX.
From the paper:
The medulla and root were found to be the two most discriminating characteristics of the 146 microscopic examination. Most of the novel hairs had medullary structures and diameter ratios 147 that were clearly distinct from human hairs. Even though a variety of medullary structures were 148 observed, the micrographs in Figure 5B depict those most commonly encountered. Most of the 149 novel hairs had elongated roots with a somewhat “spade” shape, which is a feature of some 150 animal hairs but is typically not seen in human hairs
And, she used samples submitted by Paul Freeman, W. Sumerlin, and W.Laughery. Now, OTL,S! has pretty solid evidence that Mr. Freeman is, at present, dead, and has been in that condition since well before Dr. Ketchum started her study. So, not to be overly chrono-logical, it appears that Dr. Ketchum and/or the esteemed Mr. Spence must have been looking at the same samples that Dr. W. Henner Fahrenbach was. For many years, Dr. WHF, of the Primate Research Center has been the accepted expert on purported bigfoot hairs:
On August 5, 1995, two separate sets of hair samples were collected by three persons (P. Freeman, B. Laughery, and W. Sumerlin) in the Blue Mountains east of Walla Walla, Washington. The group first tracked three sets of fresh foot prints, then found freshly twisted-off trees with hair caught in them, and within a short time later observed a sasquatch at less than 100 feet with binoculars. The hair was sent to Dr. W. Henner Fahrenbach (Beaverton, Oregon), who determined microscopically that the hair appeared to have come from two individuals of the same species, that it differed in color, length and hair growth cycle between the two sets, had not been not cut, and was indistinguishable from human hair by any criterion.
I have by now a dozen purported sasquatch hair samples, all morphologically congruent (which rules out hoaxing) and all effectively indistinguishable from a human hair of the particular structure (great variability is available among the latter). DNA extracted from both hair shaft or roots (hair demonstrably fresh) was too fragmented to permit gene sequencing. That characteristic is also sometimes found in human hair that lacks the medulla (as does sasquatch hair – at least what I am willing to identify as such).
I am concentrating now on blood or tissue, as the hair holds no promise….
Dr. W. Henner Fahrenbach
Affiliate Curator of the BFRO
Dr. Fahrenbach and his work are cited extensively in Dr. Jeff Meldrum’s book Sasquatch:Legend Meets Science. Now, Bryan Sykes and his Oxford colleagues are doing a study separate from Dr. Ketchum’s, and some if not most of the North American samples are being screened by Dr. Meldrum, who is using Fahrenbach’s criteria, ie they look human, not cut and no medulla (these two characteristics are not uncommon in human hair).
Perhaps Dr. Ketchum and Mr. Spence would agree to enter the cage for a celebrity tag team hair deathmatch against Dr. Meldrum and Dr. Fahrenbach. OTL,S! will take the word of whoever comes out alive.
Update 3/8/2013 (a):
Slightly off topic, but this is Dr. Ketchum’s target demographic. Over the Line, Smokey! takes notice of the above still frame from the execrable Animal Planet series, “Finding Bigfoot,” where hundreds of male kids of all ages compete with each other to see who can tell the best lie about seeing bigfoot and thus appear on national television. It’s a little bit like a cross between the old Gong Show and American Idol, except there is no talent at all, except, well, lying. Charitably, maybe it’s “storytelling.” Anyway, many are called, but few are chosen. After the lying contest, each episode has a sort of three-stooges-in-the-woods-at-night segment. If you actually want/need to read the story or think you can watch the video without retching, go to Bigfoot Evidence.
Over the Line, Smokey! takes note of the new website for the thought-to-be-imaginary Foundation for Advanced Zoological Exploration, “manned” by the long-sought “Casey Mullins” (use your find/search function on this post to learn about “Casey”), who has also appeared on Twitter. OTL,S! continues to be impressed by the cheap and cheesy (not to mention incompetent) nature of the “Foundation” website and this whole hot mess.
What is going on now? Is this to be the shell for the to the next fake peer review in the next fake journal, which will be “bought”, renamed on a another cheesy website, to serve as the “scientific journal” for another a pseudoscientific white elephant of a paper, about the favorite color of an imaginary animal? One wonders why the Scholastica platform wasn’t used again… “Casey” and the “Foundation” must have gotten busted. Even Scholastica has SOME standards; possibly they were shocked to their senses by a “preserve all records” notice served on them by the law firm representing a certain sponsor of bigfoot research. I imagine ole “Casey” will get one of those if he/she shows up in the real world.
Over the Line, Smokey! has observed that Dr. Ketchum casually notes that her data upends evolutionary theory, and uses the language of the creationists/intelligent designists: On a recent “Coast to Coast radio with George Knapp” show, she said her data “doesn’t [sic] support Darwin’s theory of evolution”. For those readers not familiar with evolution: Darwin’s ideas were only the basis for the theory of evolution. Darwin doesn’t own it. There is no “Darwin’s theory of evolution.” For those not familiar with science, a theory is not just someone’s idea, like “the prosecution’s theory of the crime is that it was done with a candlestick in the library by Col. Mustard.” In science a theory is a framework of concepts tested by many scientific observations and experiments, confirmed, and strong, a concept that might be paraphrased as a “law of nature.” There are relatively few “theories” and they are strong and widely held.
Certainly Dr. Ketchum is free to have whatever religious beliefs she wishes, and use them to deny evolution and make herself believe that the DNA in her “paper” is from some sort of giant prehistoric lemur that mated with humans. But Ketchum’s “hypothesis” of ??? is not going to replace evolution for the rest of us. We are probably going to be more comfortable with the obvious: that “her” DNA (at least what are allowed to see) is that of a human, a bear and some artifact.
Over the Line, Smokey! doubts we’ll ever see anything to match it, unless Dr. Ketchum (or someone else to whom she has given the secret recipe spoken of by Justin Smeja for bear/man DNA melding) is allowed to be alone with the specimens (or the data).
Over the Line, Smokey! is informed that these books fell off the back of a moving van, seem driving south out of Timpson, Texas, on night of the August 30, 2012 (that would be the day that Dr. Melba Ketchum got booted out of the property where her last reported lab facility had been located, because she stopped paying the loan). Of course, this information (about the books, not the booting) could have been completely fabricated by someone, perhaps even by the staff of Over the Line, Smokey!.
“Active-Hyper” Dr. Melba Ketchum gives yet ANOTHER media hype/interview to (TA DA…) “The Voice of Russia”.
some highlights, with OTL,S!’s comments in italics following each quote:
MK: There is so much hype surrounding it that the scientific community feels that the research cannot be credible.
shit! just broke the OTL,S! irony meter…
MK: Those reviewers who finally agreed to read the paper then came back to me asking for the information that was already in the manuscript, so I knew they did not even read it. Moreover, when the reviewers failed to find any errors in our research they simply asserted that it was ‘contaminated’. Given that most of our project team consisted of forensic scientists we are sure that there is no contamination in our research. In this sense, it seems to me that contamination is the only excuse that the reviewers can come up with to prevent the publication of our study.
oh, wait, OTL,S! thought Dr. Ketchum claimed it was peer-approved?? oh, we forgot; that peer-review stuff was just made-up…part of the fake stuff at Scholastica: “Casey Mullins”, the fake Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Exploration in Zoology, the fake Foundation for Advanced Zoological Exploration. OTL,S! forgives Dr. Ketchum for failing to keep track of all her stories.
MK: Every-so-often innovative research projects are not accepted by the scientific community up until the scientist passes away.
not recommended, but might be worth a try.
MK: We are just at the beginning of the sequencing process but we believe that these [Russian] DNA samples will have the same makeup as North American ones.
Would that be because “at the beginning” is when the “secret recipe” is added, the stuff Justin Smeja says Ketchum mentioned to him and three other witnesses over the phone, that makes human and animal DNA appear to merge into that of some unknown hybrid “thing?”
MK: …one can obtain a DNA sample from anything that an individual ate or chewed because saliva is a very good source of DNA, but we did not use any bagels…
or any samples from this woman who was the first “editor” of “Denovo Scientific Journal,” and claims to have a family of ten bigfoots that she is feeding, but strangely couldn’t come up with a single specimen, photograph or corroborating witness to her fabulous stories?
MK: It is almost impossible, for example to get any photographic record or a body. Although, I must say that there is now a photographic record that will soon be released.
MK: Basically, Bigfoot are a particular type of people, so we do not want them hunted, harassed, or being chased…
Doesn’t she mean “…Bigfooters are…”?
MK: We are not asking the government to give them large areas of land or anything like that. Sasquatch do not need them.
Everyone can agree on that.
MK: … the DNA sequencing is a very complicated technique and it might take years to go through it in full.
A search warrant and a few subpoenas might speed up that process.
This is GOLD, people…COMEDY GOLD !
This game is essentially over…that is, the science game is essentially over. What is not over is the game of the who and the how of this fiasco, and who is going to be held responsible.
Linda Moulton Howe: DO YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT WOULD BE THE CLOSEST OF KNOWN PRIMATES TO THE UNKNOWN HOMININ MALE PROGENITOR?
MELBA KETCHUM: It’s headed a little more towards the lemur line, oddly enough. It is definitely NOT an ape. And it’s interesting that we found out that there is an extinct lemur that weighed 400 or 500 pounds. Also, they had opposable thumbs and hooded noses. It really freaked me out that we had lemur. I did not expect that (laughs).
A devoted reader of Over the Line, Smokey! has provided the data from some BLAST analyses of the Ketchum data. OTL,S!‘s crack investigative staff then underwent a short review on the subject. In short, Dr. Ketchum’s recent suggestion that this sequence REALLY represents lemur DNA is just silly. That’s just the software grappling with the mixed up sequence. If you look at the segments, it should be clear to anyone with at least the smarts of the average OTL,S! staffer, a little instruction, and a few minutes of study, that this is H. sapiens and bear DNA. Click to enlarge.
As one knowledgeable poster puts it:
It shows very elegantly how regions of MK’s contig show 100% homology to human or bear when BLASTed individually, but show 96% homology to lemur when BLASTed as an assembly. The lemur results are an ARTIFACT of the BLAST algorithm applied to an artificial assembly of DNA sequences. Like all programs, BLAST can only provide good results if you feed it good data. Tyler previously posted PDFs showing that MK’s contigs were stitched together from human, bear and “other” sequences = poor data.
Alternately, you have to believe that now-extinct, giant, prehistoric lemurs were promiscuously fornicating with human females thousand of years ago, and that their Zagnut-craving offspring now inhabit our forests and swamps. Decisions, decisions … bad data vs naughty lemurs! Eeeeh, I think I’ll go with bad data.
Tyler, please thank your PhD friend for the time he spent putting the latest PDF together. It doesn’t get clearer than that.
EVERYONE ELSE, GO SEE THE PDF IN POST 887.
Regarding the criticisms of the Ketchum et al paper voiced in the Breaking Bio 19 video (embedded here in the 2/28 update), Dr. Anna Nekiris Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford Brookes University – Nocturnal Primate Research Group, writes:
… this is an important video [posted previously here--OTL,S!] about the Melba Ketchum paper – I have said I would write a statement about all that is wrong with the paper, as there is not much that is right, but this nice bearded guy from New Zealand says it all. If you ignore the irritating people laughing and taking the piss, he is spot on with EVERYTHING…it is very thoughtful in fact. It is a shame they are actually so frivolous…as it might put you off. I actually fast forwarded to ten minutes in. He speaks relatively laymen. If you still have any questions about what BLAST or GenBank or over-representation of a chromosome or why it is relevant that we only have ever sequenced the genome of a panda, you can ask, as they are all certainly relevant aspects…and easy to explain….and the bearded chappy helps you along to explain why Melba and colleagues have got it is oh-so-wrong…
Dr. Melba Ketchum’s paper is not only a veritable joke from the scientific writing perspective, it is a rancid logical and scientific hash. Witness statements seem to implicate her in a massive scientific and legal fraud. Her co-authors seem to have abdicated their professional responsibility and may have violated the public trust. This is no longer a question on which actual, competent ethical scientists should waste their valuable time. In the opinion of OTL,S!, this is now more like a criminal investigation.
update 3/1/2013: Ketchum’s “co-authors” running for cover.
As a second report is published contradicting Dr. Ketchum’s reported findings, it seems her co-authors are deserting the ship:
Dr. Melba Ketchum appears on a paranormal radio program, interviewed by Linda Mouton Howe (you can listen to it at youtube by putting htt in front of p://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kkoPIy4mn6A):
Linda Moulton Howe:
I contacted one of the eleven scientists referenced by name as contributors to the genome research. He confirmed that his lab did the DNA extraction for Dr. Ketchum but he would not agree to an on the record interview because the controversy that the Denova article has provoked about an alleged sasquatch hybrid has threatened the credibility and livelihood of his lab and other scientists.
as soon as the labs and scientists learned that the DNA under study allegedly came from the unproven sasquatch creature then they all backed off from vouching for their work.
Here is the second author on the paper. According to the paper itself, he was involved not only in the laboratory work, but also in the writing of the paper:
Pat Wojtkiewicz is the Director of the Shreveport Laboratory of the North Louisiana Crime Lab System and the Technical Leader of the DNA section.
ie he has a leadership position over all three labs in the system.
Here is the third author, also involved in laboratory work and in writing the paper:
Aliece Watts, BS, MS, MT(ASCP), PBT(ASCP), F-ABC is a founding partner and the Quality Director for Integrated Forensic Laboratories, Inc.,
OTL,S! takes note of “Quality Director.”
David W. Spence is the fourth author. “D.S…. performed experiments.” Mr. Spence is trace evidence supervisor with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Criminal Investigations Laboratory, Dallas, Texas. This institution is on the List of DPS Accredited Labs from Texas, (Date Printed 11/1/2011)
Fan Zhang Ph.D is also a co-author (“M.K, and F.Z. analyzed the genetic data”); he is currently a bioinformatician in the Academic and Institutional Resources and Technology (AIRT) at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas. This institution is on the List of DPS Accredited Labs from Texas, (Date Printed 11/1/2011)
Thomas M. Prychitko Ph.D. is a molecular biologist. No stranger to Sasquatch research, he conducted DNA testing on samples from the Carter Farm and elsewhere several years ago, resulting in haplotype data included in the Sasquatch Genome Paper. He is currently laboratory director at Helix Biological Laboratory.
Forensics labs have no one to blame but themselves when they participate in this nonsense, let alone the issue of whether or not public resources are misused. The public and the justice system should hold them accountable. Credibility is everything in expert testimony, that can send people to prison or result in execution; or set criminals free. Texas does not exactly have a good record in the past, and they execute dozens of people every year. Efforts have been underway to correct the shortcomings of the system. This paper, co-authored by a number of forensic scientists from Texas (and elsewhere), is a step backward in the struggle to win the confidence of the public. The next time these forensic people, or others from the same labs, take the witness stand in a trial, OTL,S! anticipates a massive flop sweat when opposing counsel brings up “bigfoot.” The longer it takes them to publicly dissociate themselves from this paper, the worse it could be.
Over the Line, Smokey!’s crack audio analysis team has been listening to too many interviews recently. and is putting in for enough overtime to break our overtime budget. We blame Dr. Ketchum’s desire to appear on television and internet radio. For someone who says she shies away from the spotlight, this person certainly gets a lot of air time. Of course, since she lost her lab, she probably doesn’t have anything else to do these days, other than go on Facebook, and wait for notices of pending actions.
And speaking of where the process servers might look for her: in the interview, Howe stated that Dr. Ketchum was speaking “from her office at DNA Diagnostics in Nacogdoches, Texas.” Sorry to keep harping in this, but is Dr. Ketchum telling the truth about the supposed location of her supposed business? OTL,S! hasn’t found any evidence of DNA Diagnostics in the city of Nacogdoches TX, past, present or future. Is she not even telling the truth about where she is? is DNA Diagnostics still in business? how does one define “in business”?
Here is the current contact info from the DNA Diagnostics website. Click on image to enlarge:
She had to relinquish her lab at this address in Timpson in August, 2012 and these are non-working phone numbers. That is SIX MONTHS. OTL,S! has not received an answer to a business query email sent to that address…. OTL,S! knows she had 41 web domains (one just got shut down for non-payment) but does she have a lab now? where? in her garage? If DNA Diagnostics Inc has an actual physical presence in Nacogdoches Texas with a phone number there, OTL,S! will most happy to publish it, so people can begin mailing her things, calling her office, and stopping by with whatever samples or papers they wish to give her. Surely her business would profit from that.
Over the Line, Smokey! recommends this video conference of young scientists discussing Dr. Ketchum’s non-peer reviewed, self-published “paper.” In it we found some suggestions that Justin Smeja may be correct in describing the recipe (bleach, formaldehyde and water) given to him by Dr. Melba Ketchum, to use on his tissue sample, in order to make it look like a novel hybrid.
“The sequences are just way too short to be the result of hybridization…”[should be 20000 or 30000 base pairs long, not 50 bases pairs long as Ketchum's paper suggests]…. David Winter Ph.D., evolutionary biologist, University of Otago, New Zealand.
Over the Line, Smokey’s crack scientific consultant advises us that one of the prominent and well-known effects of bleach on DNA is to cleave it into shorter and shorter sequences. And further, the effect of formaldehyde on DNA seems to be an increase in hybridization:
Ivan G. Ivanov and Mounir G. AbouHaidar. Effect of formaldehyde on the efficiency of hybridization of DNA immobilized on nitrocellulose filters. Analytical Biochemistry, Volume 206, Issue 2, 1 November 1992, Pages 414–418 (Department of Botany, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B2, Canada)
We report in this study that under certain conditions formaldehyde interacts with DNA and makes it more efficient for hybridization on nitrocellulose filters. Hybridization signals of formaldehyde-treated DNA are stronger (up to 10 fold) as compared with that of the heat- or alkali-denatured DNA.
So that accounts for two of the three ingredients that (according to Justin Smeja’s account) Dr. Ketchum told him to use on his “Sierra steak” specimen. One might assume that the third component, the water, might be used to rinse away any evidence of the first two.
Over the Line, Smokey! again takes note of the excellent work done by Tyler Huggins and Bart Cutino, who obtained two independent DNA analyses of Dr. Ketchum’s star sample, the Sierra Steak, one of only three samples that Ketchum’s paper seems to point to as showing “novel” DNA by total genome sequencing. Further, OTL’S! takes note of a video statement, available at that site, made by Steak collector/submitter Justin Smeja.
This seems like a dealbreaker.
OTL,S! interprets his statements as an implication that Dr. Ketchum may have known that the Steak contained bear and human DNA, and that, by treating the specimen with a certain recipe containing bleach, the DNA could be made to look like that of a novel organism, and that Dr. Ketchum may have tried to induce Mr. Smeja to participate in a scheme to perpetuate the illusion that the Steak came from a bigfoot.
OTL,S! does not pretend to be able to evaluate Mr. Smeja’s credibility, the quality of his evidence, or the scientific/technical issues surrounding bleach and alteration of DNA. On the other hand, OTL,S!can read, and is reading statements that bleach is a reagent used in DNA labs and that it can have a powerful effect on DNA. OTL,S! is also reading on the internet what has been written by what sound like knowledgeable scientists, that the results reported by Ketchum are suggestive of artifact ie something that happened during the processing of the specimen, rather than indicative of a novel organism. And from the Ketchum camp, OTL,S! sees no independent unpaid endorsement by any scientist currently active in the field of DNA analysis.
Over the Line, Smokey! has noted the online presence of a certain Jim McClanahan and his interest in Dr. Melba Ketchum’s recent over-the-line publishing tales. Mr. McClanahan has developed a timeline of events on this subject, conjecturing that the evidence suggests that Ketchum may have been responsible for starting not only “DeNovo Scientific Journal,” where she self-published her paper, but also the short-lived “Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Explorations in Zoology,” which Ketchum claims to have bought after her paper passed a peer-review but was refused publication because of a lawyer’s intervention. McClanahan further raises (essentially) the questions of 1) whether the editorial secretary of the JAMEZ, a “Casey Mullins,” is/was who/what he/she claimed to be, and not a Ketchum associate/surrogate/”sockpuppet,” and 2) where is the substantiation that proof that a real peer-review actually been done at JAMEZ, as had been claimed by Ketchum.
Today, one of OTL,S!’s shiny-faced cub reporters, who has been studying Mr. McClanahan’s careful documentation, raised the question, “after 5 years of not publishing, and after repeatedly claiming she was going to publishing in a first rate journal, why would Dr. Ketchum have suddenly, on or about the beginning of January, come out with a not very credible story about a brand new half-baked ‘Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Explorations in Zoology’ apparently worked on by some “Casey Mullins,” that no one seems to have heard of, that never published anything, and then morphed it into another brand new not-very-credible half-baked/website journal, “The Denovo Scientific Journal”, to self-publish her paper?”
Or, long story short: what happened, in the period immediately preceding the appearance of the JAMEZ on about Jan. 4, 2013, that could have suddenly lit a very hot fire under Dr. Ketchum, causing her to seemingly rush into a bizarre and poorly-executed succession of “journals” and self-publication?
Being otherwise occupied with the Saturday morning cartoons, OTL,S!’s editorial staff assigned this investigation to that very cub reporter, and sure enough, within about, oh, 20 minutes, he came up with a very likely explanation/causal event: On December 26, one Tyler Huggins published, on several sites, the results of independent testing of what has been called the centerpiece of Dr. Ketchum’s paper, sample #26, aka The Sierra Steak, collected by Justin Smeja.
Why, you ask, would this have upset Dr. Ketchum’s often-stated determined plan to have her paper published in a quality peer-reviewed scientific journal? Let’s list the ways:
1) Several months previously, Huggins had formed something of an alliance with Justin Smeja, who had misgivings about Ketchum’s…well, for lack of a better word…integrity.
Due to an unexpected phone call by Dr. Ketchum in January of 2012 in which several witnesses were present with Justin, including his wife, according to Justin, Melba Ketchum made suggestions and statements with intent to both defraud the financier of her study, Wally Hersom and to destroy the rest of Justin’s sample with a Clorox bleach recipe, if he wouldn’t provide her with the rest of it because labs would not get the same results as she if he tested elsewhere.
2) Huggins had arranged for another piece of Smeja’s collected Sierra steak specimen to be analyzed by Trent University, in Canada.
3)The results posted by Huggins on December 26 were very much unlike those which Ketchum was widely reported as having found. That is, Ketchum’s as-yet unpublished paper found “bigfoot,” But on December 26 Huggins’ report said the DNA was that of a bear and that of Justin Smeja.
4) Huggins’ report presaged that of Bert Cutino, another ally of Smeja, who had also sent off a piece of the Sierra Steak specimen to an independent lab, and it was known that these findings were essentially the same as those reported by Huggins
5) This posting of Huggins’ report marked the exhaustion of patience on the part of Smeja, Huggins, and Cutino, regarding Ketchum’s refusal to in provide certain evidence of the integrity of her findings.
6) Smeja, Huggins and Cutino were in possession of certain other facts and commmunications from Ketchum that would, like the two independent lab reports, embarrass Ketchum and/or call into question or contradict her findings, thus greatly lessening the impact of any future Ketchum publication, or in fact, preventing the publication completely. To wit:
a) evidence that Dr. Ketchum had asked Smeja to contaminate the specimen
b) evidence that Dr. Ketchum had not obtained a control DNA specimen from Smeja
c) evidence that Dr. Ketchum had reported to Smeja that the specimen showed bigfoot DNA only four days after the sample had been submitted, back in 2010, before the claimed sequencing could have been done
d) evidence that Dr. Ketchum could not or would not produce a single PhD involved in her study who would vouch for the bigfoot DNA she claimed to be present in the Smeja specimen.
e) evidence that Dr. Ketchum told him that other labs would not get the same results she did, but rather would find a common animal and human contamination (which is what happened.)
f) allegations of a proposed fraud
g) other as yet undisclosed facts or communications from Ketchum.
The Dec. 26 post by Huggins put Ketchum on notice that all of this was likely to come out.
Or did it?
Obviously, this would have been a bombshell for Ketchum, if she perceived that the story, ie Huggins Dec. 26 post, seemed to “have legs.”
Over the Line, Smokey!’s crack editorial staff then tried to determine whether or not it could be verified that the Huggins December 26 post seemed to be having an impact on those who had been hopeful about Dr. Ketchum’s study, and whether or not Dr. Ketchum actually was aware of the post and the reaction to it. In fact, the post attracted 201 responses within 24 hours (not to mention page views), and many of them expressed dismay or disappointment about Dr. Ketchum or her study. Further, within four hours it was reported that Dr. Ketchum had issued a statement on her Facebook page.
So, yes, Ketchum, saw the Dec. 26 Huggins post, and yes, she would have known it was bad, and that others recognized it as being bad, and that this was likely just the first water over the dam.
Time was running short…
Over the Line, Smokey! endorses, in general, in the general idea of cause and effect. It seems to apply here. Huggins’ December 26 bombshell seems to have been the cause, and the rush of amateurish imitations of scientific journals (The Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Zoology and DeNovo) starting around Jan. 4) and flimsy cover stories seems to have been the result.
A statement made recently by Huggins to a Ketchum supporter seems apropos:
… you said “Ketchum has everything on the line. Why would she concoct or falsify results?”
I believe you asked and answered your own question – she has everything on the line. That IS usually exactly when people resort to all sorts of things to keep themselves alive.
Or maybe Dr. Ketchum can come up with a more convincing explanation for her sudden publication (s) (which seems to have begun on or before Jan 4) than the impact of the December 26 Huggins post, and all that it implied. Maybe Dr. Ketchum can produce an authentic, hard-copy, notarized affidavit that would answer a lot of questions. This proposed document, signed by “Casey Mullins,” (click image to enlarge)
would show that the “Casey Mullins” who supposedly was “editorial secretary” of the Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Explorations in Zoology, was/is a real person with an appropriate background and real position on a real pre-existing foundation, and that she acted independently from Dr. Ketchum in the creating the JAMEZ, and could identify the “editor” of this JAMEZ. It would could also contain her statement that she obtained two or more positive peer reviews from appropriate reviewers (and give their qualifications), and that she was aware of a communication from a lawyer telling JAMEZ not to publish the paper, and that the journal was to Melba Ketchum. OTL,S! would love to see it, and would certainly publish it.
OTL,S! is grateful to reader “JustAskin” for his comment, which allows me to emphasize the importance of the issue of honesty/lying/ethical conduct/character/track record in evaluating scientific research. Here is my response:
I’ll leave that [attempted evaluation of the methods/data/conclusions] to the scientists. But one of the things that that scientists/reviewers CAN’T do is determine whether an author is telling the truth about all the things he or she did and found. Some of that may be discovered later, but, by and large, an author can lie in papers and not be immediately (or ever) discovered. That is why one of the most important features of a paper is the credibility and track record of the authors.
Dr. Ketchum has told a wild story about some pretty improbable things:
1) these two journals
2) bigfoot being a real animal that she has seen on multiple occasions.
You may want to believe everything she says about 1 and 2, but you don’t have the information to substantiate either one. She says it, you believe; but OTL,S! can and will look into at least the first, to see if Dr. Ketchum deserves the kind of credibility we need to have from an author making such such claims.
Thanks for helping me make that point.
another blog has been chasing the “improbable journals” story. After constructing a timeline of what is known so far, the writer concludes:
If this is true, Ketchum clearly intended to cover her tracks by creating the first journal so she could say she later purchased it and renamed it. I would be willing to retract any of the statements I made above if she is willing to provide the documents that she claims to have proving the purchase of the journal actually took place.
Over the Line, Smokey! is aware of the recent self-publication of a paper on supposed bigfoot DNA by Dr. Ketchum. There are all sorts of issues, apparently, with the paper itself, which OTL,S! will let the smart people figure out. OTL,S! is more concerned with the curious story told by Dr. Ketchum, regarding the birth of her new online journal, the Denovo Science Journal. Scientist Jeff Meldrum is suspicious:
Idaho State University anthropologist Jeff Meldrum, a leading academic and recognized scientific authority on Bigfoot.
“To make an end-run around the process by erecting a facade in the form of a so-called new journal and allege that it is edited and reviewed, without providing any of that information on the public web page, it appears that she has undertaken an effort to self-publish, just to get it out there,”…
Over the Line Smokey’s crack investigators, however, point out that Dr. Meldrum, scientist though he may be, can’t count. It isn’t just one brand spanking new mysterious online journal in this story…there are two:
the abortive “Journal of Advanced Multidiciplinary Exploration in Zoology”, which never published even a single issue,
the “Denovo Science Journal” .
The saga, (as Dr. Ketchum tells it) goes like this: the first brand new journal is created by ??someone??, and supposedly does the peer review on her paper. Then the second brand new journal is created, this one admittedly by Ketchum, in order to publish it, with Ketchum claiming not to know exactly what the first journal did.
Please. Over the Line, Smokey!’s crack Haz-Mat team is starting to get a reading on their smartphone odor-detecting app.
As OTL,S! has previously documented, Ketchum would not be unfamiliar with the concept of using multiple names/ entities: apparently she created several entities/different names related to her business in Texas:
DNA Diagnostics Inc,
Genetic Design Research Inc.,
Science Alive LLC,
Biogen Diagnostics Inc.
Most or all of which were apparently “not in good standing” with the state the last time OTL,S! looked into such matters.
Perhaps some of our readers can fill us in on the long and glorious history of how these two ground-breaking scientific publications suddenly burst upon the scene like near-simultaneous meteors, one bursting into flames, the other plunging to earth with much sound and fury. OTL,S! would be all ears.
late addition: another blog has been chasing the improbable blogs story. After constructing a timeline of what is known so far, the writer concludes:
If this is true, Ketchum clearly intended to cover her tracks by creating the first journal so she could say she later purchased it and renamed it. I would be willing to retract any of the statements I made above if she is willing to provide the documents that she claims to have proving the purchase of the journal actually took place.
Update Feb. 11, 2013:
Over the Line, Smokey! takes note of a recent report by blogger Robert Lindsay, who has a network of sources within the bigfoot community:
“Referring to Ketchum, the late Richard Stubstad laughed and said, “That woman lies like a rug on the floor! If her mouth is moving, she’s lying!” So as you can see, Ketchum has a six-shooter of a tongue, and she plays fast and loose with the truth, utilizing diplomatese, politician speak, PR talk, lawyerese, weasel words, half-truths, white lies or Hell, maybe she just lies like a rug!
She’s obviously a pretty morally collapsed individual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Hell, just about everyone in Bigfootery is morally failed to psychologically damaged or usually both. Bigfootery either attracts the very worst human beings or it turns good people rotten. Bigfootery – Of Monsters and Men – A Portrait of Men and the Monsters They Become – a new movie!
OTL,S! wonders what else is going to surface….
Over the Line, Smokey’s crack corps of investigative reporters has tapped into some sources within the growing camp of ex-Ketchumites, and the picture being painted is one reminiscent of a comedy:
“Mucha Dough about Nothing.”
First, the “Dough,” and there was “mucho” of it:
The best estimate of her total rake/take/bonanza from the bigfoot business since 2010 is over the half-million dollar mark.
Some of this came from Richard Stubstad, Canadian developer Adrian Erickson and a number of other early sample submitters, in total well over a hundred thousand dollars. The principal inflow of money was, according to our source, some $25,000 a month from a certain well-heeled bigfoot-believing multimillionaire. The temptation of this amount of money perhaps explains why Ketchum (by her own admission in a recent radio interview) bailed out on Science Alive LLC, the corporation she registered with Robert Schmalzbach and the late cancer victim Richard Stubstad in the fall of 2010. Instead, Ketchum registered at least one other corporation in Texas (BioGen Diagnostics Inc.) Over the Line, Smokey! is informed that Ketchum could also have corporate entities registered in other jurisdictions eg Delaware, The Bahamas, etc. Such corporations would have the effect of insulating the cash from the liabilities of her floundering business known as DNA Diagnostics, (doing business as Shelterwood Laboratories), which now exists pretty much only as a website.
That’s the “Mucha Dough“….what about the “Nothing”?
Looking at what she claims to have done with the money, (20 mtDNA sequences and 3 nuNDA sequences), according to price estimates available on the internet, even allowing for extraction, initial screening and duplicate testing, would have cost less than $100,000, and that would be paying retail, which she certainly didn’t. Here is a quote from sales literature put out by Illumina, maker of “next generation sequencers” (the part in italics was added by OTL,S!):
Researchers can now sequence more than five human genomes in a single run, producing data they can pretend are representative of 5 bigfoots in roughly one week, for a reagent cost of less than $5,000 per genome.
And what is the work product: Over the Line, Smokey! has confirmation that Ketchum’s paper was, as first reported by Robert Lindsay, rejected summarily by Nature, i.e. not even peer reviewed, as it was a total mess. “Not even wrong” might be the best description. Robert Schmalzbach was correct when he said, “She doesn’t have a clue,” about how to write a scientific paper. Subsequent “revisions” were the equivalent of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. And, of course, we are now learning of malfeasance in the analysis of the centerpiece sample in her “study,” the so-called “Sierra Steak.” It appears that the nuDNA that Dr. Ketchum calls “bigfoot” is simply that of the hunter who collected the sample; it seems that Dr. Ketchum can’t tell a human from a bigfoot by DNA analysis. Dr. Ketchum is now seemingly being less than candid, and is casting about for advice from her Facebook fans regarding how to proceed!
What is the conclusion, the ending, the final act of this comedy, “Mucha Dough About Nothing’?
Well, OTL,S! can’t see into the future, but the “Dough” is no longer flowing. Her primary millionaire investor, after seeing her work product, has now turned off the flood of greenbacks, and Dr. Ketchum is now on her own, in Garrison, TX, with whatever fraction of some $400,000 she has managed to save and hide from her creditors, investors, travel agents, domain salesmen, customers, cancer patients and the tax man. OTL,S! continues to be at a loss to explain how and why she seems to have accumulated so many creditors…was she just a tightwad, or a bad businessperson, or has she actually run through all that money in some as yet unexplained way?
Finally, the prospects for her study achieving any credibility seem increasingly remote, for a number of reasons.
Over the Line, Smokey! suggests she go for an interview on Oprah.
What would Dr. Melba Ketchum want with 41 domain names? Her email address is associated with 41 domain names, registered over the past two+ years beginning on 12/20/2010. Of these, 27 are listed as being owned by her BioGen Diagnostics corporation (the registration date of Biogen was August 18, 2011). As previously noted, Biogen is still not in good standing with the State of Texas.
The latest registration is on 12/26/2012: it is listed at Reverse Whois as
m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ m.org.
Hmmm. Over the Line, Smokey! hired a crossword fanatic who found it quite simple to puzzle out that this is quite likely ‘melbaketchum.org’. Her own personalized domain. Who does that?
There are several other “fill in the blank” names associated with Dr. Ketchum at Reverse Whois that seem easy to guess (many of which OTL,S! has been able to confirm the registrant): yetigenome.org (Last Updated On:25-Dec-2012, registered to Biogen Diagnostics), yetigenome.com (Registrant:Biogen Diagnostics), yetigenome.net(Registrant: Biogen Diagnostics), sasquatchgenome.com, sasquatchgenome.net, sasquatchgenome.org, sasquatchprotection.org, sasquatchdna.org, sasquatchdna.com, sasquatchdna.net, sasquatchdna.info, bigfootgenome.net, bigfootgenome.com, bigfootgenome.org, bigfootdna.org (this one was updated on 12/25/2012, registered to Dr. Ketchum at PO Box 455, Timpson TX, and the organization is listed as BioGen Diagnostics, Inc), bigfootdna.info (also updated 12/25/2012 by Ketchum/Biogen), bigfootdna.net (registered to Biogen Diagnostics),bigfootprotection.org.
There are a bunch of other fill-in-the-blank names at Reverse Whois that OTL,S! can’t guess. Perhaps our dear readers will help out. Obsessive-compulsive readers may have discerned that Dr. Ketchum doesn’t seem to have captured bigfootdna.com?! Let me reassure Dr. Ketchum that it is available, is held by hugedomains.com, and is for sale at a more than reasonable$1,595. Not that OTL,S! feels that Dr. Ketchum necessarily needs more than 41 domain names. OTL,S!, for example, doesn’t own ANY domain names. And look what a success we are. Perhaps some of our more tech/media/marketing-oriented readers can tell us why 41 domain names would be an advantage for Dr. Ketchum. OTL,S!‘s crack marketing director/newspaper delivery boy referred us to this cogent discussion, which begins with:
1. Domain names build credibility on the Web.
Good luck with that.
OTL,S! takes note of a statement published by Tyler Huggins at the Bigfoot Forums website, that Melba Ketchum was unable to name, in confidence, a single Ph.D. who will vouch for the findings she is claiming.
Huggins, you may recall, has obtained a “second opinion” on one of Dr. Ketchum’s crucial specimens. Where she claims to have found bigfoot DNA, his lab found bear DNA along with that of the hunter, Justin Smeja. Not only is Dr. Ketchum (in her “science by press release” fashion) claiming bigfoot DNA, she is also claiming to have multiple Ph.D’s, department chairmen, and other reputable collaborators. Huggins says that he would have withheld his results, pending Dr. Ketchum’s publication, if she would have given him the name of a single collaborating Ph.D. in her study.
I promised Derek Randles that I would inform him of my results before releasing them. In an effort to allow people in the BF community to try to make certain of their claims and results etc, I wanted to give them a heads-up. I did that.
As a result of that, Melba reached out to me, asking me to re-think my release. I said “I might re-think being open and transparent abuot the actual hard science I have in my hands… but you can give me any compelling evidence that can make me doubt the results I have”. I lowered the bar on the standard of “evidence” twice. In the end, I said “Fine, just let me talk to ONE PhD that can say ‘I have worked with Justin’s tissue sample, and I support Melba’s conclusion that it is evidence of an undiscovered hominin/primate.’ If you can do that, I’ll re-think what I’m doing regarding the release of my results, and the timing of it”
I said this knowing full well that I was NOT asking for ANYTHING that she had not already said publically. I just wanted ONE PhD who was ready to put their reputation on the line. Apparently NONE were. And I had every expectation that yet again, Melba would not follow through on her ostensible willingness to provide the assurances she promised. This just proved it. There was NO information that I was asking to see that was not already public. I merely asked for a PhD other than Melba to “second it”. So this statement “Thus Tyler would be privy to the study before it is published” is false.
Over the Line, Smokey! encourages Dr. Ketchum to come forward with 1) the name of any collaborating author, Ph.D. or not.
Also, not to harass her, but OTL,S! thinks it would enhance her credibility if she were able to come forward with:
2) the status of her supposed “patent pending” application, and
3) evidence of her service on the World Trade Center disaster, and
4) evidence that she has run Justin Smeja’s DNA blindly against the supposed bigfoot DNA she is claiming, and
5) the name of the “larger town” that she has claimed to be moving to, after it was revealed by chance that she was forced to sign her lab back over to its prior owner for nonpayment on a loan, on August 30, 2012, almost 5 months ago.
Update Jan. 24, 2013
Over the Line, Smokey! has noticed in Dr. Ketchum’s bio on the newly-updated DNA Diagnostics Inc. that her VeriSNP system of DNA analysis is “patent pending.”
…developing the VeriSNP™ (patent pending) platform….
OTL,S! wonders whether that “patent pending” claim is correct.
The status of her VeriSNP patent application, which began in 2007, was an important issue in the patent infringement suit brought against her (and a number of other parties) in 2009. OTL,S! doesn’t at present have patent attorney on staff, but reviewing what patent documents we can find, it seems unclear what unique feature(s) she was claiming, other than using a larger number of wells, to process more specimens at once (up to 192). Hmm. But that’s not the point. The point is what the patent office thought of it, and whether “patent pending” is accurate.
She is not presently listed as a patent holder, so the patent has not been granted. The last available patent document in her application process was in early 2009, right before Ketchum got slapped with the infringement suit. The complainant, Optigen, claimed that four of the components of the VeriSNP were ALREADY PATENTED. And they won the case: Ketchum and her co-defendants, Ingen, Texas A and M, Gus Cothran, Richard Dobbins et al had to cease and desist, apologize, and provide certain other considerations to Optigen, in an out-of-court settlement statement.
All-in-all, it looks to OTL,S! like the patent ship has sailed… or it was sunk by Optigen.
Ketchum’s bio still calls it ‘patent pending’ and her website still refers to it as “revolutionary”.
Perhaps the patent office was in the bathroom when the revolution went down. Optigen certainly wasn’t. OTL,S! would wager this month’s snooker earnings that Optigen foreclosed Ketchum’s patent dreams.
If Dr. Ketchum actually still has a patent pending on VeriSNP, could she please come forward and verify it? or deny it? and update her bio? Because OTL,S!, among others, is trying to assess her definition of “revolutionary”, among other things.
Update: Jan. 23, 2013:
Over the Line, Smokey! sees stories on the internet that Dr. Melba Ketchum may be submitting her paper on bigfoot DNA to a journal/journals in Russia, as well as in the United States. Now, OTL,S! is not necessarily well-versed in every phase of scientific publications, but we are assured by our crack consultant Science Guy that simultaneous submission to two or more journals is a complete no no. As in automatic rejection, boot, evacuation, flush, bye-bye, so long, it’s been good to know ya. But let us assume that the paper is submitted only to a Russian journal. Which one would that be? OTL,S!‘s Science Guy tells us that scientific journals are ranked largely by the degree that their articles are cited in future scientific papers; by that criterion, of the top 500 scientific journals in the world, exactly NONE are Russian..
Further, Science Guy showed OTL,S!this discussion of the state of Russian science:
According to an analysis published in January by Thomson Reuters, Russia produced just 2.6% of the research papers published between 2004 and 2008 and indexed by the firm — fewer than China (8.4%) and India (2.9%) and only slightly more than the Netherlands (2.5%). Moreover, Russia’s publication output has remained almost flat since 1981, even as the output of nations such as India, Brazil and China was exploding. The situation is so bleak that in October last year, 185 Russian expatriate scientists signed an open letter to Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warning of an imminent collapse of Russian science unless something was done to improve the inadequate funding, strategic planning and teaching of science.
Only four Russian print journals (all in the physical sciences) are received at the Library of Congress.
Bottom line, OTL,S! would suggest that publication of Dr. Ketchum’s paper in a Russian journal would be pretty much like putting it in Readers Digest, except that a lot fewer people would read it compared with the RD.
Update Jan. 21, 2013:
Over the Line, Smokey! is presently awaiting confirmation on two important aspects of the Dr. Melba Ketchum story.
In the meantime, OTL,S! would like to address a couple of questions that have been encountered by OTL,S!‘s crack investigative staff as they wander though the maze of statements, sources, blogs, and posts that bear on the Ketchum story. Firstly, some have asked, essentially, isn’t OTL,S! being a little hard on Dr. Ketchum…why can’t OTL,S! just wait for her paper to be published?…she can’t release the data because that would prevent the publication of her paper…and others.
Secondly, OTL,S!‘s crack internet sleuths have encountered on some weblogs frequented by those who believe in bigfoot, a frequently-repeated, supposedly-rhetorical question, which can be summarized as “Why would Dr. Ketchum risk a successful career and professional reputation if this whole thing is just a hoax/mistake/booboo/hot steaming mess?”
As regards the first question, OTL,S! could take all day answering. None of the crack staff here wish to spread rumors, harass, expose personal details, conduct character assassinations, or otherwise feel as if we are unduly invading Dr. Ketchum’s private space. But here are the facts as OTL,S! sees them. Dr. Ketchum HAS presented her study, with some data and conclusions, using only her own credibility to back up her statements , without providing the COMPLETE picture of her research. And we don’t know when or if the complete picture will ever surface (again, that is by her choice, regardless of what she says). In the meantime, many people (as she herself has stated) have contacted her to say, essentially, thanks for proving they exist/that I’m not crazy/etc. Many of these people are undoubtedly taking actions based on trust, which they may later regret.
In other words, Dr. Ketchum, using her credentials, reputation and some of the data from her study, has reached the public with a definite conclusion.l Furthermore, she did it voluntarily. With all due respect to Russian gentleman who “leaked” some “stuff” in broken English, he would never have been taken seriously by the American public or by the scientific community, because he 1) isn’t a scientist 2) doesn’t speak/write fluent English and 3) isnt, by Ketchum’s own statements, one of the authors of the study.
To be blunt, Dr. Ketchum has said, “crap on the way that science is done, the way science has evolved in order to be most effective, economical, safe and accurate, I’m smarter than that, believe me. I’m a scientist. Believe me. Bigfoot exists, believe me. Be scared. Believe me. Sign a petition to the president. Believe me. Make a fool of yourself in public and private. Believe me.”
It’s all “believe me.” OTL,S! says, “What is there about you that, in the absence of your complete study, should engender such belief, such confidence, such disdain for the rest of the experts in the fields of zoology, primatology, genetics, anthropology, and related fields?”
Dr. Ketchum has set the rules: it’s not about the paper, instead it’s all about her credibility, her ability, her training, her education, her skills, her experience, her accomplishments, even her gullibility, her sense of responsibility, her honesty and character. That is unfortunate, but it is of her making, she could have avoided it, and she can make it stop in an instant by releasing what she has for top scientists to analyze.
Now, on the second question: Why would she risk her career?
In the first place, she now says she’s sorry she did. But let’s briefly consider some possibly relevant details. Of these, the most salient are television, and Wally Hersom; fame and money. Big fame, big money. Toss in David Paulides, a kindred spirit in some ways, and opportunist, and a handsome and persuasive guy, who has been funded by Hersom. He’s making good money pushing the bigfoot story. And let’s not forget the huge support Hersom has given to Matt Moneymaker in salary and in equipment deemed vital to his escapades. Hersom seems to have given her something north of $200,000 and perhaps double that for services and probably equipment. That is a lot of money for a middle aged single mom who is barely hanging on in a rapidly evolving capital intensive field of science, missing loan payments, getting sued, in a one-horse East Texas burg where many of the streets are unpaved.
OTL,S! is not out to get anyone, but rather to just get the damned information about this bigfoot DNA stuff OUT ON THE TABLE. Dr. Ketchum has taken her shot, and she seemingly can’t make it work. It’s probably time for her to pass the torch. In the meantime, until she does, she is just trading on her credibility, and that ship is sailing.
Update Jan. 18, 2013.
Dr. Melba Ketchum has repeatedly claimed to have helped with identifications of the victims of 9/11. On the DNA Diagnostics website, OTL,S! finds:
She aided in the analysis of the DNA sequences from the World Trade Center Disaster.
…our experts also participated in the mitochondrial analysis of human remains from the 9/11 attacks.
However, Over the Line, Smokey!‘s crack mass casualty consultant tells us that according to Forensic Magazine, August 5, 2011, (a copy of which was sent by the Medical Examiner of NY), neither Dr. Melba Ketchum nor DNA Diagnostics, Inc., nor Shelterwood Laboratories, nor any of Ketchum’s other corporations were vendors contracted with by NYC to identify the victims of the World Trade Center attack in 2001. A quick check with the Office of the Medical Examiner of NY assures OTL,S! via email confirms that ALL of the vendors are listed in the article.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Desire, Mark
Date: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Subject: RE: Verifying researcher involvement in IDing WTC victims
Cc: “Brugess, Grace” , “Borakove, Ellen”
Thank you for the email. I have attached an article which lists and details all of the vendors used during World Trade Center DNA identification.
Assistant Director of Forensic Biology
Office of Chief Medical Examiner
421 East 26th Street
New York, NY 10016
That leaves OTL,S! in an awkward situation. Can Dr. Ketchum come forward with an explanation of her claim?
On to another topic:
Knowing the fees charged by lawyers, and being aware of the apparent financial “pinch” affecting Dr. Ketchum, Over the Line, Smokey!‘s divorce/parking ticket/patent attorney has turned his powerful search engine’s focus to the patent infringment lawsuit against Dr. Ketchum. His finding: The suit, filed by Optigen, was settled in November, 2012, thereby ending what has likely been a drain on her/Wally Hersom’s resources (assuming she actually paid her attorney, the firm of Kloss, Stenger & LoTempio, 69 Delaware Avenue, Suite 1003, Buffalo, New York 14202. According to this site, the following appeared on the web site of International Genetics, Inc. (whose website is now down, and comments and logic suggest that the company is out of business, as it existed (in the Bahamas) only to dodge US patent law regarding these tests.)
In January and April 2009, OptiGen filed lawsuits arising out of the infringement of a number of patents to which OptiGen holds exclusive licenses. The consolidated actions charged the InGen defendants, among others, with infringement of patents related to the testing of PRCD (Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration), CLAD (Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency), CSNB/prad (Congenital Stationary Night Blindness or Retinal Dystrophy), and FN (Autosomal Recessive Nephropathy). The testing of these genetic disorders is covered by the following patents to which OptiGen holds exclusive licenses: U.S. Patent Nos. 5,804,388; 7,312,037; 7,285,388; 6,210,897; 6,201,114; and 6,428,958. The InGen defendants offered to sell and sold DNA testing products that utilized the methods covered by OptiGen’s patents to customers located in the United States.
The InGen defendants have agreed to settle OptiGen’s claims. Under the settlement, the InGen defendants have, among other things, ceased any and all sales of testing related to these patents and have agreed not to resume any such testing in the future. The InGen defendants regret that their testing has caused confusion among the community of dog owners and breeders.
This statement is similar to the statement made by Dr. Ketchum. Other details can be found here and here. Richard Dobbins, president of InGen, has stated that, essentially, the suit resulted from Dr. Ketchum’s failure to properly research the existing patents that covered these tests, which she was doing for InGen.
April thru July 2008: Melba Ketchum became very tardy in extracting PinPoint’s DNA samples. This was the first period of delays that caused severe customer service problems. We then came to an agreement with Texas A&M to handle this process as well as the PID testing.
April 2009: The 2nd lawsuit was filed and this was the final straw between Dr. Ketchum and InGen. Due to Dr. Ketchum’s failure to properly research certain tests that are allegedly protected by patent, InGen was drawn into another lawsuit which eventually led to the early termination of the contract between InGen and Texas A&M. InGen severed its relationship with Dr. Ketchum which was the best thing that has come from that suit.
Over the Line, Smokey! is unaware whether Dr. Ketchum has ever commented publicly on the suit, or on Mr. Dobbins’ statements.
Update Jan. 16, 2013.
Over the Line, Smokey!‘s crack real estate agent has obtained more details on the building formerly owned/occupied by Melba Ketchum’s DNA Diagnostics, Inc. (doing business as Shelterwood Laboratories). The delivery entrance of this building was apparently also the address of her apparently-defunct clothing company (she didn’t pay the franchise taxes to the state of Texas), Genetic Design Research, Inc. (for which Ketchum was attempting to obtain images, when she got ensnarled with artist/cancer patient Alexis Evans over the $75 commission; see below). As readers of OTL,S! will doubtless recall, Ketchum apparently purchased the building in 2006 from Ruthie Latin on a land contract for 140,000, then started missing payments in 2008, and stopped making payments in 2010. (It should be noted here that according to multiple sources, from about late 2009 to the present, Ketchum was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Richard Stubstad, a Wally Hersom and others, supposedly to do DNA testing on samples thought to be from bigfoot. This in addition to the income from her pre-existing laboratory and forensic business. By comparison, her loan payment to Ms. Latin would have been between 1000 and 1500 a month.) In 2011, Ms. Latin tried to foreclose but Ketchum made herself scarce and reportedly ignored her communications and legal notices. Finally, on August 30, 2013, Ketchum was “cornered” and signed the property back to Ms. Latin to settle the debt (this was apparently the second property on which she had “defaulted” and signed back to the previous owner by warranty deed) (leaving unpaid city utility bills).
Ms. Latin now has the property up for sale for $95,000. The building (MLS listing #60246) is located at 569 Bear Drive, but this physical address does not correspond to the addresses being used by Google for Timpson; so you can’t find it by just Googling it. You have to use the street view feature to travel southwest on Bear Drive. The Facebook page for Shelterwood Laboratories has the correct location, as does Yahoo, at the NW corner of Bear Drive and Todd Street, about three blocks southwest of what Google says. According to the current listing, the building is a medical clinic-type commercial property, 4795 square feet, cinderblock construction with a small parking lot. It has been on the market for 119 days, which would mean it was listed in mid-September, shortly after county records show it was signed back by Ketchum to Ms. Latin.
Over the Line, Smokey!‘s crack financial consultant cannot figure out, on the basis of what we know now, where all the money was going, and why, as Ms. Latin says, Dr. Ketchum appparently stopped paying bills and paying attention to her business, around 2008. The
DevilBigfoot made her do it?
Over the Line, Smokey!‘s crack paralegal has identified one sinkhole for all that cash flowing into Dr. Ketchum: her lawyers, and Optigen. OTL,S! has previously mentioned a patent infringement lawsuit filed in 2009 by Optigen against her company; this was settled around August 31, 2010, just about the time Ketchum was copyrighting her proposed documentary and appearing on radio shows announcing her bigfoot project to the public. At that time, Ketchum apologized, and made other concessions, possibly financial:
Shelterwood has agreed to settle OptiGen’s claims. Under the settlement, Shelterwood has, among other things, ceased any and all testing related to these patents and has agreed not to resume any such testing in the future. Shelterwood regrets that its testing has caused confusion among the community of dog owners and breeders.
This not only cost Ketchum money, but also deprived her of any further earnings from the tests which were contested in the suit.
Ketchum had suffered other setbacks earlier in 2010, when her contract with CatGenes was cancelled apparently for poor performance.
CFA and DNA Diagnostics, dba Shelterwood Laboratories, have severed their contract by mutual agreement.
On April 15, 2010 CFA [Cat Fanciers Association] removed the order application from the CatGENES website. As part of the agreement, Dr. Ketchum has agreed to complete and issue DNA reports for those clients who purchased their tests before April 15, 2010. Any further questions should be directed to Dr. Ketchum at the lab.
Ketchum would not be the only prominent name in the bigfoot community to burn through cash in an inexplicable manner. From the blogger Robert Lindsay:
Matt’s been making a lot of money over the years. Wally Hersom funded him for 3-4 years at a very high salary of $31,000/month or $372,000/yr. Widespread rumors say that most of that money went for Matt’s fancy vacations and his rumored drug habit (possibly a cocaine habit). Now that Matt is on Finding Bigfoot, he reportedly makes $100,000/yr in his starring role. This is in addition to whatever money he makes off BFRO expeditions.
Critics also accuse Matt of pocketing a lot of the donation money that comes in to the BFRO for his vacations and habit. So it looks like Matt has been making quite a bit of money for some time now.
Yet somehow, in spite of the huge cash flow, Matt is bankrupt. His father, an attorney, filed the papers just last week in court. Where did all the money go? Vacations? Drug habit?
Update Jan. 14, 2013.
Over the Line, Smokey!’s crack gossip columnist, on hearing rumors that Dr. Ketchum’s bigfoot DNA paper is about to be released, perused the website “Bigfoot Forums”, where she saw a bit of background previously not known to OTL,S!: that sometime in 2009, an announcement of Dr. Ketchum’s study was made on the website “Searching for Bigfoot,” which is run by a Tom Biscardi, whose claim to fame seems to be his central role in the 2008 “Bigfoot in a freezer” fiasco/hoax/fraud. As concerns Dr. Ketchum’s research, Biscardi was involved in some way with obtaining at least one of the early specimens used by Ketchum, probably a shed toenail collected by a Mr. Larry Jenkins in Northern/Western Arizona. This was likely one of the specimens for which Richard Stubstad paid to have analyzed for mitochondrial DNA. If the statement on the Bigfoot Forums is correct, the Biscardi announcement would be the earliest statement of Dr. Ketchum’s intention. In various discussions, it seems that both Biscardi and David Paulides take “credit” for having identified/first utilized Ketchum’s lab for DNA analysis. It seems clear, however that Josh Gates/Expedition Truth were the first, in the spring of 2009.
Update Jan. 10, 2013.
Over the Line, Smokey! is calling in our crack cancer-awareness team to evaluate more tales of Dr. Melba Ketchum. It seems that, for a number of months, the good doctor has been involved in some sort of kerfuffle over the rights to certain images and works of art, with an artist and cancer patient named Alexis Evans. OTL,S! is unsure of the legal niceties but it seems that Ms. Evans made a drawing (entitled “Come On”) in 2010, before she knew Dr. Ketchum, that Ketchum is now claiming to be derivative of a photograph of hers. Later, she commissioned Evans to render as one or two paintings or drawings. Ketchum apparently was planning to or did use this image(s) for Dr. Ketchum’s various websites (“Sasquatch Genome Project”(previously mentioned here, but now taken down) and “Sasquatch Preservation Alliance” (can’t find an active site for this)) and/or a line of ?designer clothing, “Authentic Sasquatch Wildwear” (!!!). It seems that, in the course of business, Ms. Evans then produced and transmitted to Dr. Ketchum one or two images. There followed some sort of dispute as Dr. Ketchum allegedly did not pay Ms. Evans for the image (s), the amount in question being some $75. Yes, that’s right. Seventy five U.S. dollars. And, Dr. Ketchum has claimed ownership of the previous Evans work, “Come On.” There seem to be several issues of intellectual property/copyright. The situation apparently came to a head over the recent holidays, when Ms. Evans attempted to wash her hands of any involvement with Dr. Ketchum, withdrawing all permissions or licenses for use of the renderings/images. Dr. Ketchum, for her part, stated:
“Yes, but now I am able to do something legal about things whether you believe you are right or not. It will cost you to defend yourself so please do not force my hand….”
More details can be found here. A prominent member of the bigfoot community has entered the fray, describing similar behaviors by Ketchum.
OTL,S! immediately smelled some familiar themes. One of which is Dr. Ketchum not paying her bills. But, more importantly: As our dear readers must recall, Dr. Ketchum had in 2010 entered into a business relationship with Richard Stubstad, who was also a cancer patient, and a Robert Schmalzbach, in a Texas corporation called Science Alive. From the accounts of the two men, they had helped Dr. Ketchum perceive and begin to exploit a business opportunity utilizing Dr. Ketchum’s DNA facilities and the popular interest in Bigfoot. However, the men say that Dr. Ketchum then “lawyered up” and “cut them out” of the business, and did not even give them credit for their crucial roles. Stubstad has since died of his cancer, and Schmalzbach still seems irritated over the treatment they received.
The legal issues notwithstanding, no one with a grain of sense and/or any competent representation and/or a care about their own reputation sees legal action as the right remedy over a disputed rendering of a photograph and $75. Dr. Ketchum seems to defy that logic. And bullying a cancer patient in the bargain?! Ms. Evans has taken the obvious path available to her, which is to expose the whole mess. No surprise there….
Interestingly, Over the Line, Smokey!‘s crack team of corporate investigators reminds us that one of Dr. Ketchum’s “not in good standing” corporations, with a stated address of Houston (actually just a mail drop), was formed with the stated purpose of dealing in “jewelry/apparel.” We quote from our Dec. 19, 2012 update:
yet another Texas corporation in her name, Genetic Design Research, Inc, registered Dec. 3, 2008, as a domestic non-profit, with a listed address of 16055 Space Center Blvd, Suite 235, Houston TX 77065. Like her other companies, this one is not in good standing with the State of Texas (as of January 2012.)
There were two other principals in this corporation, Nicholas Ketchum age 21, and William J. Woods, age 29, and the address given is 249 Todd St., Timpson, TX. So I guess that must be/have been the clothing company. I wonder if she will hire Renae from ‘Finding Bigfoot” to model for her? If so, Renae, get your pay in advance, sister! Googling 249 Todd St., OTL,S!’s geographic consultant once again discovers that the street address numbering system in Timpson is too complex for Google, since it shows 249 Todd Street as a vacant lot along the railroad. However, one can see by using Google Street View that the (former) DNA Diagnostics Lab building is located at the corner of Todd Street and Bear Drive; the driveway to the delivery entrance is located on Todd St.
Over the Line, Smokey! notes Dr. Ketchum’s current physical address on some of the “art” papers released by Alex Evans:
President, DNA Diagnostics, PO Box 805, Garrison TX 75946
. OTL,S! has been trying to determine when/where/if Dr. Ketchum is going to open a new lab facility, as she has indicated.
This Garrison address is evidently her home address, as we have previously suggested. So no evidence thus far of a move to Nacogdoches or other “larger town.” Her website still says:
We are currently moving to a new facility, please contact us about testing in 2013.
A next to last comment for today: It is impossible, with OTLS’s key investigators down with the flu, to follow up adequately on all of Dr. Ketchum’s claims, moves, maneuvers, corporations, hemlines, base pairs, websites, co-authors, non-disclosure agreements, creditors, stumbles, legal threats, addresses, posts, battles, intrigues, spokesmen, and bruhahas. It is turning into a literal joke. OTL,S! pleads with Dr. Ketchum to slow the fark down, so we can catch up.
The last comment for today: Yesterday, Dr. Ketchum published a comment on Facebook regarding her secrecy about the other co-authors of her supposed bigfoot DNA paper: according to her, it’s all about protecting her team members:
I didn’t mean to sound harsh and I apologize, but this is a team effort and I am the point man so to speak. With all that has transpired, I have been extremely careful not to divulge their names of my co-authors. They have families and jobs that would be threatened by the vicious attacks that would be sure to come prior to publication. So there is the appearance of the project just being being me out there but that is the farthest thing from the truth. We all played integral parts in making this come together. – Dr. Melba Ketchum
Yeah, right….Dr. Ketchum’s demonstrably strong suit is team-building. NOT!.
Update Jan. 9, 2013.
The crack Over the Line, Smokey! janitorial team was up all night swabbing the floors, drinking coffee (which may account for all the bolding that appears here), and thinking about yesterday’s post, and has come up with some fairly interesting conclusions: It seems clear now that Dr. Ketchum is in contact with the two guys/labs who are challenging her findings on what multiple identified witnesses are saying is one of the three crucial genomes. According to the two guys, they and Ketchum were discussing how to resolve the issues, and Ketchum still has “steak” sample, but she has apparently not followed through.
Soooo…..wouldn’t the simplest thing and the most scientific thing to do be for Ketchum to do what she should have done in the first place, and HAS to do anyway: test/compare the primate DNA from the steak specimen with a new specimen from Justin Smeja for identity? I mean, that is relatively simple to do. And given the controversy, shouldn’t she also do a nuDNA sequencing on a Justin Smeja sample to compare with the nuDNA sequencing she is saying, according to multiple witnesses, is from an uncatalogued primate?
Those steps seem blindingly obvious. It is not the obligation of the two guys to validate Dr. Ketchum’s study; it is her obligation. They have used their own money and initiative, and shown that the big theoretical hole in Ketchum’s ideas is more than theoretical. And they have apparently shown that Ketchum really botched the most elementary forensic procedures, by not obtaining and running a specimen of Justin Smeja’s DNA. Now it is up to her. And she (supposedly) has the facilities, staff, and money to do it.
This brings up another issue, which may be related to Dr. Ketchum’s recent “relocation”, that Over the Line, Smokey! has been trying to follow. She is no longer in the lab building in Timpson TX which she occupied from 2006 (possibly earlier) until August 30, 2012. We have not been able to find her in the nearby city of Nacogdoches, which she gave as her location in the November press release and some later interviews. She lists no staff on her now-resurrected website. And, although David Paulides has written that she received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a donor, everything else we see indicates she is very short on cash. So the question is, does Ketchum have the wherewithal, the resources and/or facilities, to do (or outsource) the further testing which is required? Is this why she hasn’t done it?
Lastly (for today) there seems to be some feeling amongst members of the Bigfoot Forums website that perhaps Dr. Ketchum used some sort of (as yet unspecified) DNA primers or “cutting edge” technology(Over the Line, Smokey! is not very conversant in these matters) to find in the “steak” material, DNA of an uncatalogued primate, and that the two guys/labs didn’t find said DNA because they didn’t use said primers/technology. Well, one of the two guys tried to investigate this possibility, and got an opinion from some (apparently) big-time DNA researcher. Here is the opinion:
“Scientists discovered that ALL mammals share a common sequence for cyto b, and they tested the universal mammalian primers to make sure they worked on people, cows, horses, wildebeast, elephants, lions, lemurs, mountain lions, bears, raccoons, yaks, polar bears, llamas, kangaroos, pronghorn antelope, German shepherds, etc, etc, etc.
So, if the universal mammalian primers fail to amplify BF DNA, you have to conclude that BF are the only mammals on planet Earth that have a unique cyto b sequence. Actually, it’s more stringent than that. You have to assume that BF are the only mammals on Earth that have a unique sequence at the site to which the PCR primers anneal. I’m not going to calculate the probability of that event, but what’s more reasonable (Occam’s razor)?
1. The sample you analyzed was from a bear.
2. The sample you analyzed was from a mammal that was totally unique among all mammals on planet Earth.
I’ll choose 1.
Over the Line, Smokey! sees this as a very strong statement that the procedures used by the two guys/labs would have detected bigfoot DNA, if it had been present. Further, it seems to OTL,S! that the publication in a decent peer-reviewed scientific journal of any properly-done, vetted study on bigfoot DNA by Dr. Ketchum is now so far in the misty future that it can no longer be foreseen.
Update Jan. 8, 2013:
The DNA Diagnostics web site is now back online. No further word on what caused it to go down or why it was down for so long. No apparent “new news” regarding the supposed bigfoot scientific paper.
At any rate, statements on the website may help with one issue that should be explored: Dr. Ketchum’s expertise in identification and analysis of primate and human DNA, since she is a veterinarian, who seems to have worked primarily on analysis of DNA of cats, dogs and horses using mostly the “single tandem repeats” method. On her website she advertises human parentage studies, and on this version of her website she makes claims that she participated in the investigation of the remains of victims of the World Trade Center attack in 2001, and makes other claims of experiences/expertise for “the staff”.
She aided in the analysis of the DNA sequences from the World Trade Center Disaster.
Besides multi-species STR and mitochondrial DNA analysis, our experts also participated in the mitochondrial analysis of human remains from the 9/11 attacks.
…we have handled numerous cases for various racing commissions. Cases have included mixed cases of human and equine urine. One case involved proving identity of a horse to which drugs were administered via syringe and then swabbing the syringe to obtain the profile of the person administering the drugs to the animal.
For many years now, we have operated a full service animal and human forensics laboratory with multi-species capabilities and platforms to perform both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA analysis.
These third person claims raise some concerns, as we are not sure when this was written or who is being referred to by “our staff/experts.” As far as can be seen from the website, there are at present no staff other than Dr. Ketchum (specifically the one Ph.D. who was once employed, is no longer there) . In an interview on Bigfoot Busters internet radio, Oct. 30, 2010, she stumbled when it came to saying what she actually might have done:
I worked on the world trade center disaster. I did a lot of the…there was a team of forensic scientists that was put together to analyze the remains…
Of course we have only her claims, and no way of determining whether or not Dr. Ketchum actually participated in any meaningful way in the identifications of the WTC victims. At any rate, that was apparently mtDNA analysis. More importantly, perhaps, is that we don’t know what her abilities would be in the areas of identification of primate species using nuclear DNA sequencing, which is what she is apparently trying to do.
There have been some internet pundits who say she has no publications, but others say she does. Let’s get the evidence. Any readers who might be able to help us flesh out Dr. Ketchum’s experience in relevant areas of DNA analysis, including her publications, please give Over the Line, Smokey! a comment.
One other development, per the Bigfoot Forums website, is that Tyler Huggins, one of the two guys who submitted samples of Justin Smeja’s “sierra steak” for independent analysis, (which showed results that conflict with Ketchum’s) is saying:
There was discussion of Melba [Ketchum] allowing further testing on the tissue samples she still has left from Justin’s submissions. Unfortunately, those overtures were never followed through on, so that has not happened to date.
The importance of this should be obvious, given our previous discussion: Dr. Ketchum acknowledges that one of her only three nuclear DNA genome analyses is being challenged, and this means (one would think) that she cannot ethically submit a paper for publication unless/until this is straightened out. And Over the Line, Smokey! would suggest that if there is a paper currently in peer review (as she seems to suggest), then, ethically, she must withdraw it.
One last item for today relates to the issues of when Dr. Ketchum became involved in the bigfoot controversy and what happened to her in early 2008, when her business seems to have gone downhill: in the same internet radio interview referenced above, Ketchum says that she had been asked to run samples for bigfoot dating back to around 1995, and never found anything interesting; but that things changed for her “two years ago in the spring” ie spring of 2008, when she encountered David Paulides (who had a hair sample) and Josh Gates/the Destination Truth sample. The transcript of one of her two appearances on Destination Truth can be found here:
May, 2009, aired November 5, 2009.
I didn’t think we would have anything to talk about here, to be honest. I was just going to rule out ‘yeti’ and be done with it. I submitted the sequence that we obtained from this hair sample to a large international database that scientists use to deposit their sequence data. Well, at first I was very skeptical, because we’ve had these things come into our lab in the past, and they never panned out to be anything interesting. However, this sample did test very clearly on the human panel of markers. That makes it a primate and it makes it a large primate.
Gates: And how are we sure that it isn’t just human contamination or that it’s just DNA from human hair?
Dr. Ketchum: The hair, visually, is not human. It’s courser than horse tail hair.
Gates: (voiceover) what she told me next seemed unbelievable.
Dr. Ketchum: Initial searches indicate that it’s an unknown sequence. There are literally millions of sequences in this database. And we’re really shocked that it didn’t match any of the species exactly in the database.
Gates: What would be required in order for us to say, from a DNA standpoint, the yeti is a real animal.
Dr. Ketchum: If we’re going to prove that there potentially is a new species, with this first hair sample, we really need more hair samples like it. And once you establish there is a group of animals, that will go a long ways towards proving that there is a new species indeed.
Update Jan. 6, 2013:
First of all, Dr. Melba Ketchum has still not had her paper published. Over the Line, Smokey! doesn’t know when this might happen. We really have no idea whether the paper is in peer review, or what journal might be considering it, or who might be her co-authors. Further, her DNA Diagnostics Inc. website is still down, and we really don’t know where she is located. She still posts, on Facebook, the same vague statements about her data and how she is anticipating some publication in the near future.
Well, the holidays are over and now everything is getting back down to business. Thank goodness, it slowed things down on our end. 2013, finally will be the Year of the Sasquatch! I personally cannot wait! I am so grateful for all of the love and support that those on here have given me over the eternity that this has taken. I promise that all of you will be blown away with the amount of data that we have accumulated. There is more data in our manuscript than has ever been submitted to prove a new species in an original manuscript. The world will never be the same after this but it is for the best. We must stop the insanity of hunting them (after all, people will be misidentified and targeted also). We will be hearing more shortly. Yes, all of the haters can now feel free to dump on the word “shortly”.
Some interesting disclosures this week, which relate to the issues raised in the previous update. If our readers haven’t read that section, please do so now.
After being pressed by members of the Bigfoot Forums, one of the those “two bigfoot researchers” (Tyler Huggins) (and affirmed by others “in the know”), has strongly asserted that Ketchum has, on several occasions, to several different persons, made the statement that the Justin Smeja “Sierra Steak” sample was indeed one of the “Big Three” specimens which had sequencing of the nuclear DNA genome. It was one of the three that showed the findings that Ketchum has referred to in her press release as showing “unknown” primate DNA (supposedly indicative of a real bigfoot, which is, in turn, supposedly a hybrid of an unknown primate and a human female, not more than 15,000 years ago).
OTL,S! is not a genetics blog, but we can be reasonably sure that Ketchum would not have confused black bear DNA with primate DNA, so it seems likely that she (or the labs to which she sent the material):
1) isolated black bear DNA and primate DNA( belonging to Justin Smeja) from the “steak” sample.
2) did not, according to Smeja, obtain a routine comparison sample from Justin Smeja (the most likely source of primate contamination of the bear DNA) and therefore did not run standard identity tests, and thus did not discover that the primate DNA in the “steak” belonged to Justin Smeja.
3) obtained sequencing of the primate (Justin Smeja) nuDNA
4) compared this sequenced nuDNA against sequences which have been submitted to GenBank and other collections of DNA
5) did not find a match, in those collections, for some of the primate nuDNA sequences, because Justin Smeja’s nuDNA (which, like all humans, is unique in some ways) has never been submitted to GenBank or other collections of DNA.
6) did not realize that virtually all humans (like Justin Smeja) have nuDNA sequences which are not in the online DNA collections, and thus are “unknown.”
7) and therefore assumed that the primate nuDNA found in the “steak” sample was from an unknown primate, rather than simply being a contamination of the black bear specimen by the DNA of Justin Smeja.
Therefore, in one of her three crucial specimens, Dr. Ketchum has, for one reason or another, mistaken the DNA of a known regular human with that of an ‘uncatalogued primate.” In the other two cases, the nuDNA donor may not be known, but it seems likely that Dr. Ketchum has made the same naive mistake. OTL,S! has read rumors that some of the labs/scientists who have run the testing for Dr. Ketchum are not willing to appear as co-authors on her paper. OTL,S! can see why this might be the case. Her interpretation of the data is, apparently, just wrong.
Dr. Ketchum has acknowledged the findings commissioned by the two “bigfoot researchers” (Huggins and Cutino ). It would seem that she must deal with these issues in her paper, immediately, before it can be meaningfully reviewed by a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Update Dec. 31, 2012:
Over the Line, Smokey! notes several interesting developments over the past week.
1) What happened to ” honor among thieves?”
As noted by a commenter, two bigfoot researchers who apparently had lost faith in Dr. Ketchum (golly…..) paid for independent analyses to be done on what are purported to be pieces of a tissue sample (“the Sierra Steak”) found at the sight of a purported shooting of two bigfoots, several weeks after the event. This alleged shooting, which occurred in 2010, is called the “Sierra Kills.” The shooter was apparently a bear hunter named Justin Smeja, and there are aspects of his background and the story which are might be interpreted as, at best, bizarre, unsavory and inconsistent. A piece of the tissue was supposedly submitted to Dr. Ketchum, who allegedly gave certain confidential “results” to Mr. Smeja and his associates, which they interpreted as meaning that her analysis showed “bigfoot”. Now (to review), Ketchum’s current claim seems to be that she has only three results that indicate an “uncatalogued” ‘animal;” many in the bigfoot world had assumed, on the basis of statements by Smeja and associates, that the “Sierra Steak” was one of these three, in part because Dr. Ketchum has said recently that she believes Smeja’s story to be true. Back to the two independent analyses: they both showed that the tissue DNA was from a bear, and that it was contaminated with DNA from Mr. Smeja (this required a sample from Smeja for comparison).
Does this undercut Dr. Ketchum’s analysis? well, who knows? she has said that a purported photograph displayed on the internet does not resemble the sample she received from Smeja/associates, and she has not said publicly that the Smeja sample is one of her “Big Three.” Smeja denies ever giving Ketchum a sample of his own DNA for comparison, which would, if true, indicate some slipshod procedure by Ketchum…at least. AND, if in fact she has the same tissue that has now been tested by two other labs, and if this tissue is one of her big three specimens, and if it is Smeja’s DNA or the bear DNA that Ketchum is interpreting as coming from a bigfoot, then of course Ketchum’s whole project is pretty much “down the drain.”
Bottom line: see my comment. Smeja and Ketchum are like the Keystone Kops. or Keystone Robbers.
2) Ketchum continues to give interviews, but there is no sign that the publication of a scientific paper is imminent.
3) Recently Dr. Ketchum’s DNA Diagnostics Inc. website went down. Ketchum made one of her usual ambiguous statements, that the server had been hacked or some such, affecting her website and email, and almost making it sound like it was an attack on her, which it certainly was not. Servers go down all the time, and providers have back ups and replacements. It’s been over a week and the site is still down. Hack? attack? not likely….What is more likely? the same reason her phones have been disconnected, her building has been “repo’ed”, her several corporations are not in good standing. etc etc. ie she stopped paying her bill.
Update Dec. 22, 2012:
With no scientific paper or other announcement forthcoming from Dr. Ketchum, the biweekly Over the Line, Smokey! Bigfoot update today has only one or two items of interest:
The big discussion on the Bigfoot related blogs seems to be about to the national media taking notice of Ketchum’s Better Business Bureau rating of “F.” Seems there is some sentiment that the BBB is some sort of shakedown or “protection” operation, charging $400 a year to give businesses good ratings, and giving bad ratings if they are not paid their $400. We dunno; in these days seems like with facebook and twitter and the “scraping” of sentiment from blogs all over the internet, that getting feedback and keeping customers happy is where it’s at. And $400? that’s a dollar a day. Hardly a shakedown for a business that is supposedly successful. Reading the 25 complaints, sounds like some pretty unhappy folks, and many who felt bilked. There is some interesting info about Ketchum’s operation, based on quotes from her office/lab staff. Sounds like they were pretty hard up for cash, made up a lot of excuses, had high turnover of staff, and that Ketchum herself was pretty unavailable, to the staff as well as to the customers. This is all consistent with what was told to OTLS! by the once and present owner of the former DNA Diagnostics lab property.
OTLS!’s crack fine-print reader happened to see an interesting thing at the BBB site: Click on the “Industry comparison’ chart at the bottom of the page: it’s a comparison of the complaints registered against other similar businesses of similar size in the region: DNA Diagnostics stuck out like a sore thumb.
The BBB is hardly the only one to notice the issues. One can find other complaints by googling Shelterwood Laboratories. It is certainly undeniable that Ketchum’s contract with the Cat Fanciers Association was cancelled because of bad service, even after the CFA made a site visit to try and straighten things out. The BBB had nothing to do with that. They just tried to get Ketchum to satisfy these people, and she apparently didn’t, generally speaking.
What does she have to say about all this stuff ? who knows?
Does all this have anything to do with her bigfoot claims? who knows. Was she just busy doing bigfoot science? We at Over the Line, Smokey! don’t know. All we know is that we aren’t going to lend her any money, we aren’t going to send her any money, we aren’t going to send her anything to run tests on, and we aren’t going to depend on her for anything.
Update Dec. 19, 2012:
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Over the Line, Smokey! continues to follow this fascinating story. OTLS should point out that our headline is a bit outdated, according to the statements of the Texas DNA specialist, Dr. Melba Ketchum: she is now claiming (something like) Sasquatch is a hybrid of a modern human woman and something else. OTLS can’t quite grasp what the “something else” is supposed to be. For now we will refer to him as “Hoosier Daddy.” There is apparently no actual scientific publication of the Dr. Ketchum’s DNA findings at this point.
In the vacuum created by her press release a couple weeks back, I cannot possibly fathom all that has been said and speculated about Dr. Ketchum’s work, by anyone from Tom LaSorda to the Kardashians. Feelings are evidently running high, as judged by the fevered contents of Over the Line, Smokey!’s inbox, some of which had to be deleted because of a funny smell reminiscent of that lunch bag left in OTLS’s refrigerator over Thanksgiving by our shinyfaced intern. Fortunately, the previously-noted Bigfoot Evidence” and “Bigfoot Forums” sites provide a blow-by-blow account with links to interviews and quotes of whatever is on Facebook and twitter. A perusal of today’s posts there revealed the exciting news of another interview with Dr. Melba Ketchum. Unfortunately, when OTLS tuned in at the appointed hour, we were disappointed to learn that this internet radio interview had been cancelled. Perhaps Dr. Ketchum had a more important appointment, with Obama’s science advisor or the head of NASA. Or perhaps on the way home with some blueberry bagels she was waylaid by a bigfoot. But OTLS didn’t leave the site empty-handed.
In a press release for the interview today, Dr. Melba Ketchum seems to have abandoned the apparent pretense that her lab or her business, if any, is located in the city of Nacogdoches TX. Instead, she gave a new mailing address of her (“not in good standing with the State of Texas”) DNA Diagnostics Inc as PO Box 805, Garrison TX. This is the same public address she used for the (“not in good standing with the State of Texas”) Biogen Diagnostics Inc which she formed in 2011. This Garrison PO Box is probably Ketchum’s home mailing address (see below). Over the Line, Smokey!‘s crack geography consultant tells us that Garrison is actually in Nacogdoches County...that’s why we pay him the big bucks.
Several weeks ago she removed from her DNA Diagnostics Inc website the longtime (since ?2006) address of 569 Bear Drive in Timpson, TX, and the phone number 936-254-2228, which has been disconnected since this past August (this property was, for all intents, foreclosed and is now in the hands of the former owner; see below). Interestingly, whoever scrubbed the DNA Diagnostics Inc website missed her test order forms (copyright 2002-2004). On these forms, the now-disconnected phone number is found, along with a 2002-2004 address of 626 Bear Drive, Timpson TX. Evidently, before 2006, DNA Diagnostics/Shelterwood Laboratories was located at what appears to be a private residence at 626 Bear Drive, while the 569 Bear Drive property, owned at that time by Ruthie Latin, was being used as a medical clinic by a Mary Manis, MD (and possibly others). In 2006, according to the former (and now present) owner, Ketchum purchased the 569 Bear Drive property and moved her operations there. That didn’t work out so well. See below.
Back to the Nacogdoches location claim she has been using for her media interviews; she still uses it for her twitter account:
Dr. Melba Ketchum, Scientist
Forensics and Hominid Research
Nacogdoches or Garrison, wouldn’t matter… that would make a bang-up flyer to stick on windshields at the high school football games (that’s how we roll in Texas), or a window sign, to draw in the foot traffic. But out in the county? hmmm. That would put a crimp in the foot traffic.
Meanwhile, the only working phone number for her on the OTLS rolodex is that of the “blueberry bagels for the bigfoot” woman in Michigan, previously contacted by OTLS; that’s only 1100 miles from Garrison. Robin Lynn Forestpeople is her name on Facebook, and, according to the crack HR consultant used by OTLS, she is too far removed from both reality and Dr. Ketchum’s various addresses to be of use to us. If one of our avid fans in Nacogdoches County TX or thereabouts does by some chance spot “Dr. Ketchum, Scientist,” (or a flyer of hers), please give Over the Line, Smokey! a comment and our crack investigative staff will follow up, maybe even drive on over to Garrison and get the lay of the land.
Also, OTLS has found an interesting bit of Ketchiana:
In a revealing March 2012 interview, a partner of Melba Ketchum in a 2010 corporation called Science Alive LLC (like all of her other corporations, not now in good standing with the state of Texas) named Robert Schmalzbach, gives some details of his interactions with Ketchum and the third partner, the late Richard Stubstad. He says that it was Stubstad who originally noticed what he thought was a statistical anomaly in mitochondrial DNA results (OTLS doesn’t guarantee the accuracy of the science jargon; our crack biology consultant is on holiday leave). Then, Ketchum contacted Schmalzbach to help her get more samples, and help her with some of the business. They formed the corporation in September 2010, and she filed copyright papers (see below) at his suggestion. [Filling in the blanks here, it seems that as part of this campaign to establish first rights on bigfoot DNA and get more samples, she went on Coast to Coast Radio in August of 2010 with Dave Paulides. ...Dr. Ketchum reported on ongoing DNA testing of possible Bigfoot hair samples, some of which have a combination of human and animal attributes, and are considered anomalous or unknown. She and her team are in the process of preparing a peer reviewed paper that will reveal their complete findings." She and Paulides then appered on an internet radio show in October of 2010.] He said after one of these radio shows (logically, the October one) he thought she had made too many claims and “should rein it in a little.” He says that made her angry, and as soon as she got the samples that resulted from the radio show, she got a lawyer and essentially cut Stubstad and Schmalzbach out of the loop. Schmalzbach says this it is illegal to do this, as it is against the interests of the corporation. According to him, she also said she would give him money for helping her, and never did. At this time she also cut off investor Adrian Erickson and possibly others, including the one staff Ph.D. scientist who has been removed from the “staff” page of the DNA Diagnostics Inc. website. Schmalzbach says essentially that only David Paulides (see below) was allowed to remain in contact with her. Schmalzbach’s account of Ketchum’s attempts to get samples seems to contradict Ketchum’s statement in an interview published at the Huffington Post: [the samples] “came to me. I didn’t go after them, that’s for sure.” Matt Moneymaker, head of an organization called the Bigfoot Research Organization and the star of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” program, also calls BS on Ketchum:
Bald-faced mendacity of Melba Ketchum. She told Lee Speigal the DNA samples “came to me. I didn’t go after them, that’s for sure.” Bullshit.
She’s been pursuing BF DNA samples for years (bcs of their potential to attract publicity and funding). Even pitched herself to TV producers
For her to imply the DNA samples “just came to her” and she hadn’t been steadily soliciting for them … really demonstrates her dishonesty.
More than 5 years ago she pitched her BF DNA testing to the producer of Monsterquest, and later pitched herself to the producers of MY SHOW!
She succeed in attracting some legit BF samples by false claiming she had already confirmed some through “preliminary” DNA analysis.
Back to the Schmalzbach interview: he says he knows that the first paper she sent out for peer review, came back with the comment to the effect that “this is not a scientific paper.” When asked if she knows how to write a scientific/genetics paper Schmalzbach says,
“she has no clue.”
Wow. What a diplomat. I wonder what he says when his wife asks “does this dress makes my butt look big?”
Given the new information above, Over the Line, Smokey! has to wonder whether “Dr. Melba Ketchum, Scientist” should put a clarification or two on her business card.
Dr. Melba Ketchum, Scientist*
Forensics and Hominid Research**
*don’t expect a written scientific report
**if you don’t come to us, we’ll come to you
****but don’t tell the state tax board that we’re still in business
UPDATE: Dec. 1-14, 2012.
Over the Line, Smokey! found a site called Bigfoot Evidence which is packed with all sorts of news, gossip, videos, and claims. Searching for articles about Ketchum revealed this item of interest in October 2012. We knew that Ketchum’s/DNA Diagnostics’ phone was disconnected, but there is much more to the story:
Breaking: Melba Ketchum’s DNA Diagnostics Building Is Shut Down! WTF!
…this group decided to make a stop by the location of Melba Ketchum’s business, DNA Diagnostics, located at the address 569 Bear Drive, Timpson, Texas, 75975-4072. It turns out when they arrived, the building was closed down and had a for sale sign posted on the front of the building.
The accompanying photograph gave a phone number, and a little investigation by the Over the Line, Smokey! staff led to the owner of the property, who is NOT Melba Ketchum. According to the owner, Ketchum bought the property from her in 2006, on a contract, making monthly payments to this person. Ketchum started missing payments in 2008, and finally stopped making payments in 2010. The note holder/former owner attempted to foreclose, but Ketchum ignored letters, and was difficult to track down. Finally, Ketchum was located and, in order to settle the debt, she signed the property back over to the previous (and now present) owner, who is the one who has the property up for sale. This owner said that Ketchum had defaulted on another loan/property in Timpson.
Well, this is pretty amazing. The crack investigative staff of Over the Line, Smokey! utilized the Shelby County Clerk’s office to support this account from open property records, showing two warranty deeds given by Ketchum. The latest, this fall, was to Ruthie Latin, and the other, in 2008, was to Mark and Zana Tidwell, of 115 Pine Terrace, Center, TX, a small community near Timpson.
Further, the owner complained that Ketchum left town suddenly and took several large appliances from the building that didn’t belong to Ketchum! Fly by night?! To be fair, sounds to Over the Line, Smokey! like the ownership of the contents of the building would be up for debate. The owner said that Ketchum had stopped paying attention to business, couldn’t keep her staff, and “had no friends in Timpson.”
Of course, we know that as of today Ketchum’s DNA Diagnostics Inc. is (and has been since at least October) not in good standing with the State of Texas. What we did not know is that another company of Ketchum’s, Biogen Diagnostics Inc., registered in August of 2011, is also “not in good standing” with the state of Texas, as documented on the state franchise tax website. This is an interesting company. The listed agent is Ketchum, at the same address as her DNA Diagnostics, in Timpson. But the public address of the Biogen corporation is
BIOGEN DIAGNOSTICS, INC.
PO BOX 805
GARRISON, TX 75946-0805
Hmmm. Garrison is a very small spot on Highway 59, 10 miles south of Timpson. The Over the Line, Smokey! staff understood the past/present owner of the DNA Diagnostics property to say that this was in the general direction of Ketchum’s home. So one might suggest that Ketchum has simply made her home PO Box into the address of a new “Diagnostics” company. This is at the time when she lost the Cat contract, was getting a bad name from her customers, had to stop infringing on the patent owned by someone else, and stopped making payments on the DNA Diagnostics property in Timpson. Did she see the handwriting on the wall, and plan to operate out of her home with a name and address change? (this was also around the time when she became heavily involved in the “mythical animals” odyssey, having appeared as a DNA expert on two episodes of the television series “Destination Truth”, in 2009 and 2010.) It would be interesting to discover the date on which she began work on the Destination Truth material; was it in 2008? in her copyright document filed in September of 2010 states that she began work on the copyrighted material on April 7, 2008. One source states that she did not become involved with Destination Truth until 2009. Her statements on one of the shows are interesting:
“This sample did test very clearly on the human panel of markers. That makes it a primate, and it makes it a large primate.” When Gates asks her if contamination could be an issue, she replies, “The hair, visually, is not human. It’s coarser than horse tail hair…Initial searches indicate that it’s an unknown sequence. There are literally millions of sequences in this database. And we’re really shocked that it didn’t match any of the species in the database…If we’re going to prove that there potentially is a new species, with this first hair sample, we really need more hair samples like it. And once you establish there is a group of animals, that will go a long ways towards proving that there is a new species indeed.”
Ketchum as of November 24, 2012 gave her location as Nacogdoches, a small city which is also on Highway 59, about 20 miles south of Garrison. This move from Timpson apparently occurred this fall. Over the Line, Smokey! contacted several sources there, and was unable to find any evidence of her or her operation (or any allegedly pilfered large appliances!).
To add to the confusion, it seems that Ketchum has been using various names, sometimes using her maiden name, Melba Fay Stinnett. The address of that person, according to the white pages, is “County Road 4105, Timpson.” Is Ketchum playing some sort of game with her location, her address ranging up and down highway 59 from Timpson to Garrison to Nacogdoches, all the while hanging out at her rural home near Garrison? with allegedly someone else’s appliances stored in her garage? As if things weren’t complicated enough, Ketchum has yet another Texas corporation in her name, Genetic Design Research, Inc, registered 2008, with a listed address of 16055 Space Center Blvd, Suite 235, Houston TX 77065. Like her other companies, this one is not in good standing with the State of Texas (as of January 2012.) As if that weren’t enough, she is listed as being on yet another corporation, Science Alive LLC, ALSO not in good standing with the state (What happened to “Don’t Mess with Texas!!”), this one with two guys named Robert Schmalzbach and Richard Stubstad, registered in September, 2010. The address is 408 County Road 4105, Timpson TX. What is going on out there in the county? Are they doing lab work or building farm machinery? This woman has more corporations than Mitt Romney!! and seems to pay less taxes!! Evidently this is the corporation started by Ketchum, Robert “Java Bob” Schmalzbach, and the late engineer Richard Stubstad. According to Schmalzbach, he was brought on board to help with business and find samples (he had previously been an officer of Search for Bigfoot, which was Tom Biscardi’s group (he of the Georgia-fake-bigfoot-in-a-freezer mess). Stubstad became interested in the bigfoot subject, found Ketchum, and paid for mtDNA sequencing of samples that had previously been reported out as human by the usual screening tests. Stubstad then looked closely at three mtDNA results and found what he thought was a pattern which was statistically “almost significant.” This seems to have set off the whole idea that samples which had in the past been reported as human, may actually have been from Sasquatches. This dovetailed with the ideas of David Paulides, who also became associated with the project around the same time, late 2009-early 2010. Schmalzbach has said that he advised Ketchum to write the copyright documents (shown in this post) in the fall of 2010, (which was about the same time that this corporation was registered and also the same time as Ketchum’s radio and internet radio interviews). Schmalzbach has said that after the Halloween interview, he told Ketchum she had said too much, and she became angry with him. Shortly after that, Ketchum “lawyered up’ and the two men (along with a scientist employed by Ketchum) were “cut out” of the project. This apparently left Paulides and Ketchum as the “principals” in the project.
There seems to be much more to this story than meets the eye. Over the Line, Smokey!‘s staff cannot possibly run down all these leads, and still keep on top of breaking news about important topics like the fate of Hostess Twinkies. We will continue to monitor this interesting story, which appears to be as much about those who profess a belief in bigfoot, as it is about any real evidence of the existence of said “creature.”
UPDATE: Nov. 29-30, 2012. Big news from Dr. Melba Ketchum. (and a few rambunctious comments to this post!)
She still has not published anything, but has released a statement again claiming that she has bigfoot/sasquatch DNA. Reading this new claim and comparing it with the copyright papers she filed in 2010, which we previously published, there seems to be at least one important difference: In 2010, she said:
“….testing has ruled out ape cross and any ancient contributor and that Sasquatch is indeed a modern human with some genetic mutations accounting for their physical appearance.”
Whereas, in 2012, she says:
“…Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.”
Hmm. Seems like a big difference….what changed?
Back to the November 24, 2012, press release: someone named Robin Lynne (apparently) posted that linked material (apparently largely written by Dr. Ketchum) on the website of Dr. Ketchum’s “DNA Diagnostics” lab. That website gives the following contact information:
DNA Diagnostics, Inc. ™
d/b/a Shelterwood Laboratories
PO Box 455
569 Bear Drive
Timpson, TX 75975
Phone (936) 254-2228
Fax (936) 254-9286
The byline of the press release, however, is Dallas, maybe a hundred miles away. In the press release Dr. Ketchum’s location is given as Nacogdoches, TX. This press release gives a contact phone number for Mr/Ms.? Lynne? in a Michigan area code. I’m getting confused. Over the Line, Smokey! couldn’t resist trying the number, and after a few rings, a woman answered with a perfunctory upper Midwest “Hello.” Sure enough, she was “Robin Lynne,” but she really couldn’t give much more information about Dr. Ketchum’s study. However, when I asked where these specimens/supposed Bigfoots were found, Robin said, in a matter-of-fact way, “oh, they’re everywhere.” “Oh, really,” I said, half joking, “have you seen one?” to which she answered, “of course, they come around here all the time and I give them food.” Well, I was taken aback. All this bigfoot mystery could be put to rest once and for all if the world would just beat a path to this woman’s back yard. Why hasn’t this happened? Why is she the “press agent” for Dr. Ketchum? A little web searching indicates that “Robin Lynne” is apparently Robin Lynne Pfeifer, a well-known person in bigfoot circles, who claims to feed and communicate with a number of bigfoots. This person evidently traveled to Russia recently to attend a conference where it was was stated that scientists were 95% certain of the existence of bigfoot.
Here is the text of the Nov. 24, 2012 press release from Ketchum: Bigfoot’ DNA Sequenced In Upcoming Genetics Study Five-Year Genome Study At DNA Diagnostics Yields Evidence of Homo sapiens/Unknown Hominin Hybrid Species in North America
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Dallas, TX (PRWEB) November 24, 2012
A team of scientists can verify that their 5-year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.
The study was conducted by a team of experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology, led by Dr. Melba S. Ketchum of Nacogdoches, TX. In response to recent interest in the study, Dr. Ketchum can confirm that her team has sequenced 3 complete Sasquatch nuclear genomes and determined the species is a human hybrid:
“Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.
Hominins are members of the taxonomic grouping Hominini, which includes all members of the genus Homo. Genetic testing has already ruled out Homo neanderthalis and the Denisova hominin as contributors to Sasquatch mtDNA or nuDNA. “The male progenitor that contributed the unknown sequence to this hybrid is unique as its DNA is more distantly removed from humans than other recently discovered hominins like the Denisovan individual,” explains Ketchum.
“Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence. Further study is needed and is ongoing to better characterize and understand Sasquatch nuclear DNA.”
Ketchum is a veterinarian whose professional experience includes 27 years of research in genetics, including forensics. Early in her career she also practiced veterinary medicine, and she has previously been published as a participant in mapping the equine genome. She began testing the DNA of purported Sasquatch hair samples 5 years ago.
Ketchum calls on public officials and law enforcement to immediately recognize the Sasquatch as an indigenous people:
“Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a ‘license’ to hunt, trap, or kill them.”
Full details of the study will be presented in the near future when the study manuscript publishes.
Dr. Ketchum is available for interview or to answer further questions about the Sasquatch genome study and associated research on novel contemporary hominins at media(at)dnadiagnostics(dot)com. Contact Robin Lynne firstname.lastname@example.org 231.622.5362 Email
All that aside, I wanted to talk to Dr. Ketchum herself, so I called the phone number listed for DNA Diagnostics, in Timpson, only to find that it had been disconnected! According to the State of Texas, DNA Diagnostics Inc is “not in good standing” regarding their franchise tax. Hmmm.
A quick search on Shelterwood Laboratories yields the fact that Ketchum was sued for patent infringement and had to stop doing certain tests. Hmm. According to her co-defendant, Ketchum failed to do her homework, and this resulted in the suit:
April 2009 The 2nd lawsuit was filed and this was the final straw between Dr. Ketchum and InGen. Due to Dr. Ketchum’s failure to properly research certain tests that are allegedly protected by patent, InGen was drawn into another lawsuit which eventually led to the early termination of the contract between InGen and Texas A&M. InGen severed its relationship with Dr. Ketchum which was the best thing that has come from that suit.
It is now August 2012 and still no one answers the phone, which is disconnected, emails, and the website is “under construction”, and I still have not received my test results or a refund. THis Company took our money and ran!
County records show that Ketchum deeded the lab building back to it’s former owner at the end of August, 2012.
Looking into one of these complaints, Over the Line, Smokey! discovered that there were a succession of complaints from members of an organization called Cat Fanciers, who had a contract with Ketchum (doing business as Shelterwood Laboratories). The group finally terminated its relationship with Ketchum over the issues. This may explain the presence of the blank page entitled “Cat Test Status” on her website.
Looking through the press release/site, I did find two email addresses, so I tried them; no response so far. Some of the site is copyright 2007. Other parts have been recently updated. The only person listed on the “staff” page is Dr. Ketchum herself. On the “ordering tests” page, it says: ‘We are currently moving to a new facility, please contact us about testing in 2013. New Test Forms are still in production since we are now offering literally hundreds of DNA tests.” The idea I’m getting is that the operation in Timpson has been shut down and Dr. Ketchum has moved on, apparently, to Nacogdoches, Texas, a hoot and a holler down the road from the (?former) location of DNA Diagnostics Inc at 569 Bear Drive, Timpson TX. Have to check on that. There is a “genetic research” page with a bunch of claims that Over the Line, Smokey! can’t evaluate, and a picture that looks, frankly, like someone’s kitchen. There is a page labeled “cat test status” which is bare.
Another aspect of this drama is the role of a Russian writer named Igor Burtsev (variously spelled). It was he who set off the current round of “information” by posting this, a day or two before the Ketchum press release:
INTERNATIONAL CENTER of HOMINOLOGY (RUSSIA)
The DNA analysis of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Forest People specimen conducted by Dr. Melba Ketchum the head of DNA Diagnostics, Timpson, TX, USA has been completed!!!
Team of American scientists led by Dr. Melba Ketchum for five years has analyzed 109 purported samples of such creatures. The study has sequenced DNA of a novel North American hominin, commonly called Bigfoot or Sasquatch or Forest People.
There were a large number of laboratories associated with this study including academic, private and government laboratories in which blind testing was utilized to avoid prejudice in testing. Great time and care was taken in the forensic laboratories to assure no contamination occurred with any of the samples utilized in this study.
After 5 years of this study the scientists can finally answer the question of what Bigfoot/Sasquatch really is. It is human like us only different, a hybrid of a human with unknown species. Early field research shows that the Bigfoot/Sasquatches/Forest People are massively intelligent which has enabled them to avoid detection to a large extent. They are different than us, however human nonetheless.
The hybridization event could not have occurred more than 15,000 years ago according to the mitochondrial data in some samples. Origin of this Hominin was probably Middle Eastern/Eastern Europe and Europe originally though other geographic areas are not excluded. The manuscript associated with this study has been submitted to a scientific reviewed magazine.
For many years, people have refused to believe they exist. Now that we know that they are real, it is up to us to protect them from those that would hunt or try to capture them for research or for sport. They should be left alone to live as they live now. After all, they are our relatives.
At this time, analysis of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Forest People genomes is still ongoing. Further data will be presented in the future following this original study. Additionally, analysis of various hair samples purportedly from Siberian Wildman are being tested in an effort to determine if relatedness exists between the Sasquatch and Russian Wildman.
Dr. Igor Burtsev,
Head of International Center of Hominology,
Moscow, Russia +7(916)812-6253
Burtsev, it turns out, is not a scientist. He is, however, a friend of Robin Lynne Pfeifer, has visited her home in Michigan (he didn’t see any bigfoots) and he invited her on the Russian extravaganza. He was apparently working with Ketchum, gathering samples to send her. She seems to have given him “confidential” information about her results, and he then let the cat out of the bag. According to Ketchum, he did it without permission (hmmm), and her subsequent press release was simply intended to prevent any miscommunication….like anyone is paying attention to Igor Burtsev and his International Center of Hominology, I can’t say this isn’t the center of international hominology, because Over the Line, Smokey! has never heard of hominology and doesn’t know where it’s practiced? or believed or studied….but this looks like two guys, a web site, and time on their hands. Bigfoot blog ‘Bigfoot’s Blog’ suggests:
Isn’t it clear? Burtsev was used (or let it appear that way) to get the as-yet unpublishable Ketchum paper into the news ahead of [well-known British geneticist Bryan] Sykes [who is conducting a study of samples submitted as possibly from bigfoot.]
(Actually, the more immediate event involving “bigfoot” DNA testing was an episode of the cable television series “Finding Bigfoot”, which aired two days after the press release.
Burtsev, according to his site, also visited the Tennessee home of Janice Carter, who claimed to have be interacting with a group of bigfoots. Burtsev came away supporting Carter’s stories.
[Mary Green is still in the picture. She is quite old, very heavy and does not appear to be in good health, based on a photo. Jan Carter sold her farm to Adrian Erickson as part of his plan to purchase habituation sites. The BF's promptly disappeared as soon as the farm was sold Jan Carter took the money and moved to a new farm 80 miles away. All the BF's packed up all their stuff and followed her over the 80 miles of open terrain to the new farm. Now the BF's are all hanging out over at Jan's new place and the Jan and BF saga continues.
I've never been to the farm, but there was a good writeup about it. There were never any BF's at that farm, IMHO. It's all a gigantic lie. :angry:
Mary Green is just a gullible person, and she has done a lot of other good research. She just got scammed by Jan Carter, who IMHO may be mentally ill, possibly with schizophrenia.
Mary Green one of the few who has seen the latest Kentucky Footage, and it is supposed to be a total blockbuster. It's said to be better than the PGF film! There are 14 seconds of closeup footage, from the chest up, of a young female BF named Matilda. She is in the forest and she is slowly approaching the camera. It shows excellent closeup footage of a BF in HD, for the first time in history. Meldrum, Bindernagel and the rest have all seen it too, and everyone thinks it is genuine.
The film was shot by the previous owners of the home who sold it to Erickson. There is also an incredible 4-5 minutes of HD footage of Matilda sleeping in a forest. This is not so closeup. She is lying on her back in the forest and looks very peaceful. At the end of the movie she starts to get alarmed and wake up. ]
… So many things about the farm don’t make any sense at all for a habituation site. It’s mostly open country. The person who visited the site went around to all of the neighbors and none of them had seen any BF’s. She sold the farm [to a bigfoot enthusiast] and moved 80 miles away and the BF’s packed up and moved with her? …
Then Bayanov and Fahrenbach support her. Bayanov goes there and experiences weird things. ..
Well-known bigfoot researcher Dr. Jeff Meldrum of Idaho State University had first hand experience with the antics of Burtsev and Pfeifer during the Russian trip:
In his talk, Meldrum described the players involved in the conference that began in Moscow and ended in Kemerovo. Specifically, he named Igor Burtsev, director of the International Centre of Hominology in Tashtagol, Kemerovo region. Burtsev already holds the belief that yetis exist in the area and are a Neanderthal relic population.
Meldrum showed photographs and described how the local Russian contingent greeted and treated the invitees with much pomp and ceremony but little scientific protocol.
As in scientific conferences, the attendees were taken on a field trip to a cave in the municipality of Tashtagol. Meldrum said he began to get concerned about the event when twisted and broken trees were rather conveniently located near the sites they visited. Reservations about what he had gotten himself into grew when he noticed saw cuts in the trees. The guides pointed to every bent and broken tree as marks of the yeti. From what Meldrum observed, the cave was not remote but apparently visited rather frequently with the trail maintained by the local municipality. The group was told the cave was a probable yeti habitation. Inside the cave, Meldrum notes that “right on cue”, isolated footprints and a “nest” were pointed out by their hosts.
Meldrum’s impression was that the “evidence” looked more like a staged event. Only right foot impressions were found, not a trackway as would be expected. His remark about the creature “playing hopscotch?” made it into the local press reports. The print had uncharacteristic pressure ridges that Meldrum described as consistent with that made from a rigid wooden imprint.
When a comment was made that the “nest” hardly looked used, Burtsev jumped into it himself for a photo opportunity, oblivious of any potential evidence that might have been there. A hair sample was collected in the cave but not from the nest.
After the excursion, the scientists convened to discuss what they had seen. The group was pressed by the locals to sign a consensus statement saying that what they saw constituted evidence that the Yeti exists in the region. Meldrum said that Valentin Sapunov, a literature professor from St Petersburg, was the one who drafted the “95% certain” language. Meldrum refused to sign noting that science doesn’t work by committee. Yet, the statement was given to press outlets and went viral.
Dr. Meldrum expressed that he felt the conference was “orchestrated” with “publicity stunts” to promote tourism for the region. He was dismayed and perhaps a bit angry that the Russian group “exploited his credibility” for their means.
In addition, Meldrum was put off by a Michigan woman, Robin Lynn Pfeifer, who claims that a family of Bigfoot was living on her 10 acre farm. He described how she, as a guest invited by Burtsev who believes her story, intruded into the scientific discussion. Meldrum admitted to confronting her over her lack of evidence for her outrageous story (which included her noting the creatures’ favorite food was blueberry bagels). Morehead was blunt, telling her that her kids were obviously playing a trick on her. Yet, disturbingly, Burtsev takes her account as typical in the U.S. and believes this kind of habituation was commonplace all over Russia as well!
More on that epidsode, here.
Therefore, the Russian Yeti spectacle was a planned, rehearsed event to promote tourism in the Kemerovo area. (See Come for the Yeti, stay for the skiing) Meldrum and other American scientists were burned by the promise of legitimate scientific evidence from a very non-scientific source. The Russian event is another notch of silliness in the Bigfoot story that ultimately erodes credibility in the subject and cryptozoology in general.
Ketchum seems to be a hot interview at this point. Here is a video from a Houston television station, in which she makes more claims about her study. It was done via Skype, and the quality is not all that great. By this clip, she seems to be in Nacogdoches. One notable remark: the study is in peer review (a process done by the better scientific journals). She says that many different specialists and labs collaborated on the project, but gives no names, and has no projected date for publication, saying she hopes it’s weeks rather than months.
In another interview with a Yakima newspaper, Ketchum says the “50-page manuscript” describes
“Sasquatch nuclear DNA [that is] “ incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin (member of the genus Homo, including Homo sapiens), and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence.”
Another player on the stage is an author named David Paulides, who writes on various mysterious topics including bigfoot, UFOs, missing persons, and the possible links between these three.
He recently wrote:
Dr. Mack’s work is very revealing and forever placed the alien abduction issue into a different paradigm for anyone studying the topic. He stated that abductees were having a real experience and the similarities in the stories could not be fabricated. The book explains how abductees when taken are frozen in place and paralyzed, yet have all other mental facilities .
**Let’s stop here and review a similarity.
We’ve read many bigfoot witness reports where they were camping and usually sleeping in a tent. The witness hears bipedal sounds or a roar and sometimes even observes a huge shadow. Witnesses state they want to talk yet cannot, they sometimes explain that they try to move and cannot.
Paulides seems to be a member of Ketchum’s inner circle. He claims to be “… the leader of the organization that started the Bigfoot DNA project, the organization that has supplied the most specimens…” Early in the course of her studies, he stated on his website “If you are interested in submitting a sample, please contact me directly.”
This week Paulides has indicated that publication could be coming very soon, days to weeks. This would be incompatible with a hard copy journal having the paper in its peer review process. Here are some other recent comments by Paulides:
Dr. Ketchum and her team of scientists and laboratories have been able to sequence three complete genomes, getting identical results independently verified by different labs. This is not a casual everyday finding, this will cause the scientific community to stand up and take notice. Many people have claimed to know what our results were, nearly everyone was wrong, even some high profile media people that have just recently made comments, all were wrong.
Paulides was also interviewed by the Yakima Herald. In the same piece which quotes Dr. Ketchum, he said:
“It falls in the realm of human,” Paulides said. “It has a human mother we can identify, that somehow evolved in the last 15,000 years, but in an unusual aspect of this we can’t track the father or find out who the father is. Based on millions of DNA strains that exist around the world, the father doesn’t exist.
“The only species we can identify is human. The male that procreated is unidentifiable.”
Now, Over the Line, Smokey! don’t know much Bi-ol-o-gee, but is he saying he can identify the mother? Wow, that should solve the whole problem; dial her up and ask her what her baby looked like!!! It can’t be that simple, can it? Over the Line, Smokey! has dealt with some bullshitters, and this would seem to be one. In Over the Line, Smokey!’s high school, it was taught that the nuclear DNA comes from both the father and the mother. I think Mr. Paulides must have been watching Dragnet instead of doing his biology homework. Or maybe they didn’t know about chromosomes when he was a teenager. Perhaps in his next interview he can clarify that.
Bigfoot’s Blog has some other sources (which Over the Line, Smokey! can’t track down or vouch for) on the beliefs of Ketchum and Paulides:
Add to all of this the talk from the horse doctor’s own mouth about the Nephilim and some kind of Bigfoot molesting her and, well, you’ve got a very, very strange brew going on here. They deny the story about “Angel DNA,” but…
By “angel” she means the FALLEN ANGELS, basically the “Ancient Alien” theory. Bigfoot are the Nephilim. She has actually SAID this. She has expressed it obliquely in her press release by referring to something “novel” in the DNA. She told Wally and others that the DNA was from “out of this world.” Paulides has said that the Bigfoot lineage “STOPS” at some point, and from there there is no precedent in the DNA databases of earthly life. This can only mean one thing: the DNA is alien, or was manipulated by aliens. Say “angels” if you want. This is NOT Science. This is metaphysical lunacy. Much of this was reported by Robert Lindsay, and they called him a nutcase. I’d heard it from utterly reliable sources about a year and a half ago. I was asked at that time not to talk about it. I didn’t, until I’d heard multiple other sources of confirmation, such as from the Stubstad/JavaBob connection. Rhettman A Mullis Jr can confirm this–it came right from Ketchum, in her own words, in a four hour phone conversation he had with her. It was a similar situation with the recent news of her thinking she was molested by a Bigfoot that zapped and possibly raped her. SHE said it. It wasn’t just some weird gossip meant to disparage her reputation. David Paulides denies “Angel DNA” is in the paper. However, the idea of the Nephilim WAS in the first version of the paper, according to the Stubstad-JavaBob reports. She used the word “angel” in private conversations later. It’s a fact, folks… this is what she BELIEVES.
It also shows how belief precedes and conditions reality formation in the human mind. The real question is whether this belief pre-biased the supposed science of this DNA study and paper. It is a deep error to mix science with mythology, legend and religion. There may be truth of a kind in the latter, but the former seeks to discover and prove things that are literally real, not just figuratively so.
There is still a lot of mystery here, and a number of interviews are happening on a variety of media. Over the Line, Smokey! welcomes any new information on the subject.
[end of update]
According to a copyright application, rural Texas veterinarian/DNA lab owner, Melba Ketchum, DVM, is coming out with the news that the folklore beast called Sasquatch or Bigfoot is real!! She has DNA from a bunch of ‘em!! Not only that (hold on to your hat) Bigfoot has the DNA of a modern human being, with some minor changes in some genes that explain the characteristics that are popularly ascribed to this never-found “creature.” From the site Cryptomundo, we learn that she claims to have seen one or more Bigfoots. She is applying for a copyright of:
Sasquatch: The Tribe Revealed
Type of Work: Entry not found.
Type of Work Preregistered: Motion Picture
Literary Work in Book Form
Advertising or Marketing Photograph
Preregistration Number / Date: PRE000003852 / 2010-09-16
Application Title: Sasquatch: The Tribe Revealed
Title: Sasquatch: The Tribe Revealed
Copyright Claimant: Melba Stinnett Ketchum. Address: P O Box 455, Timpson, TX, 75975, United States.
Creation of Work Began: 2008-04-07 (Approximate)
Date of Anticipated Completion: 2011-06-22 (Approximate)
Projected Date of Publication: 2012-02-15 (Approximate)
Authorship on Application: Melba Stinnett Ketchum.
A film and/or documentary, narration or audio book, supporting photos and literary paper/document/book that will follow the The Sasquatch Project, the scientist and the scientific testing and proof for the existence of Sasquatch/ Bigfoot. Information will include discussion of results including A New Tribe of Living Humans, the complete Sasquatch mitochondrial genome sequence and nuclear DNA variations and text will show complete mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences were identified from DNA, analysis of the assembled sequence unequivocally establishes that the Sasquatch mtDNA falls inside the range of modern human mtDNAs and discussions of the origins thereof. The proof that the Sasquatch is not only the closest living human relative but is actually a contemporary living human. Also discussed is nuclear DNA testing performed on the same samples and the variations found in various genes including MC1R gene RUNX2 and FOXP2 as well as other targets genes involved in the perception of sound, transmission of nerve signals, the production of sperm and the lactase gene. Also discussed is how testing has ruled out ape cross and any ancient contributor and that Sasquatch is indeed a modern human with some genetic mutations accounting for their physical appearance. Also included are discussion of the history of samples and circumstances surrounding the acquisition, their testing, the circumstances surrounding the entire Sasquatch DNA Project. Documentary stars Melba Ketchum, et al
Over the Line, Smokey!, a big fan of the cinematic arts, loves that last sentence. Unfortunately, the only genes that Over the Line, Smokey! is familiar with are the blue kind. We’ll leave the technical stuff to the geeks to comment on.
added Jan. 25; more material in the copyright application:
Type of Work: Text. Registration Number / Date: TXu001766114 / 2011-07-19. Application Title: A New Species of Contemporary Feral Homo sapiens. Title: A New Species of Contemporary Feral Homo sapiens. Description: Electronic file (eService). Copyright Claimant: Melba S. Ketchum, 1955- . Date of Creation: 2011. Authorship on Application: Melba S. Ketchum, 1955- ; Domicile: United States; Citizenship: United States. Authorship: text, photograph(s), editing, Data Tables. Rights and Permissions: Maureen A. Doherty, Doherty Legal, 10777 Westheimer, Suite 1100, Houston, TX, 77042-3462, United States, email@example.comNames: Ketchum, Melba S., 1955- ===========================================
=====================================Type of Work: Text. Registration Number / Date: TXu001776703 / 2011-09-12. Application Title: A New Contemporary Feral Species of Hominin. Title: A New Contemporary Feral Species of Hominin. Description: Electronic file (eService). Copyright Claimant: Melba S. Ketchum, 1955-. Date of Creation: 2011. Authorship on Application: Melba S. Ketchum, 1955-; Domicile: United States; Citizenship: United States. Authorship: text, photograph(s), compilation, editing, Data Tables. Rights and Permissions: Maureen A. Doherty, 10777 Westheimer, Suite 1100, Houston, TX, 77042-3462, firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence. Names: Ketchum, Melba S., 1955-
Whew, sorry Dr. Ketchum, but you went and posted your age right there in public. I won’t be so rude as to announce it, other than to take note.
But seriously, folks:
It is not clear how many samples Ketchum tested, or where these samples came from, or how it would be known that the source was bigfoot/sasquatch, and not just some human being who might have left some blood on a barb wire fence or saliva on a discarded apple, or maybe my crazy uncle just spit in a jar and sent it in, with his usual wide eyed declaration of the truth of his latest tall tale. Given that the details are not well described, Over the Line, Smokey!, though not a genetics expert, feels pretty certain, regardless of what Ketchum wrote, that the 10 foot monster with glowing eyes is not of the same species as my mother. Or me. Or my son. And that those minor alterations in a few genes (we’ve all got those odds and ends hanging out) wouldn’t make my daughter’s feet grow to size 23. Besides, sounds like the alterations were all different. C’mon, Ketchum, I WAS born at night, but it wasn’t LAST NIGHT…..
Regular old human DNA means that whatever thing that DNA came from is part of our gene pool, freely interbreeding with the rest of us. I don’t know about you but for me, those “Bigfoot had my baby” or “I had Bigfoot’s baby” stories in the tabloids are strictly printed for The Stupids demographic.
Ketchum is a graduate of Texas A & M veterinary school. Apparently she is a veterinarian but is allergic to animals(!) and she has been operating a DNA analysis laboratory at Timpson, Texas, for animal owners, breeders, and other clients, including forensic work and court testimony. According to Cryptomundo, she has a rating of F from the Better Business Bureau, based on a dozen or so complaints, documented at the BBB site.
Over the Line, Smokey! is gonna go out on a limb here, and suggest that Dr. Ketchum has gone off the rails. Take that however you want. I see from one source who shall remain unnamed, that she has run over 200 samples, and not for free either; at $200 a pop, that would fund, for example, lengthy European vacations for two. So maybe she isn’t off the rails (/winks). What I can say (besides “a fool and his money are soon parted”) is that a scientist copyrighting scientific articles before they are published is pretty much like farting in the general direction of the scientific process, not to mention the scientific community.
UPDATE: Dr. Ketchum now has an open Facebook page on which she is claiming multiple encounters with multiple bigfoot creatures. So I think my term “gone off the rails” would be an accurate assessment.