Two stories came together this week to propel the iconic Bigfoot into the international news media. Neither story deserved the generally uncritical, undue attention that they got. But, people love Bigfoot, so they can't help but be intrigued that perhaps THIS time, someone really has "proof."
We've been duped. Again. As usual.
On Sept. 21, there was a Bigfoot Calling Contest at the Kinzua Bridge Festival in Pennsylvania. The next day, a man and his girlfriend reported they were leaving Kinzua Bridge State Park on a road bordering forest land when they spotted dark shapes back in the trees. The eyewitness noted, "At first they seemed to be moving towards us, and then they appeared to turn and head away at a slow pace." They concluded the two dark shapes could be Bigfoot.
Sounds fascinating, right? Well, the pictures were less than impressive and immediately put one in mind of a tree stump or uprooted soil and root ball. Due to the report of movement, it also appeared that we could be looking at people in ghillie suits or black bears. This story, which appeared on a Bradford, Pa., media site, would have (and should have) passed into oblivion as other blobsquatch photos have. They are such poor quality evidence that you can't actually do anything with it. However, fortuitously...
On Oct. 1, Melba Ketchum and Adrian Erickson held a press conference announcing additional evidence that Bigfoot is real. Along with several other Sasquatch researchers, they showed a "never before seen HD [high definition] video" purportedly of Bigfoot. Erickson was responsible for the video as part of his project to document the creatures. Additional support was provided by Ketchum who had completed a study of Bigfoot DNA which was published in the online "journal" DeNovo.
It's not accurate to call DeNovo a journal since Ketchum's paper is the first and only thing it ever published. Yet, since her paper had been supposedly reviewed by Nature journal and summarily rejected, Ketchum passed it to another journal that supposedly accepted it but chose NOT to publish. That was her story. So, apparently tired of this peer review stuff, shady dealings that are not altogether clarified strongly suggest Ketchum had a hand in repurposing and renaming the journal DeNovo. It sprung from nowhere as the publisher of the Ketchum et al paper. Ketchum then claims in the media coverage that her study was "peer reviewed" insinuating that it makes the study legitimate and credible (as if that means it's valid -- ut doesn't).
While there were scant media people apparent at the Tuesday conference, the Ketchum-Erickson announcement oozed across the world news in the following two days. On its journey, the Kinzua Bigfoot story road its coattails merging into a wave of Bigfoot news.
There are so many problems with what happened this past week regarding these developments, I could probably write a book about it. But I'll try to summarize. (If you are interested in the details, you can find the most comprehensive coverage of these stories at my Doubtful News website.)
Here is a thumbnail sketch of the issues. First, Ketchum. Her study being touted in this press conference AGAIN had already been thoroughly panned by the scientific community when the results were announced in November 2012 WITHOUT the data to back it up. When the DeNovo paper appeared in December, it was seriously read by interested scientists who were, how do I say this kindly, LESS than impressed. Her research is now considered a joke. In fact, she even used April Fool's jokes as references in her supporting literature! Her hypothesis that Bigfoot is a hybrid ape-human has, in no way, shape or form, been accepted as valid.
The HD video footage,
A poorly done science report and a fake-looking video. We are expected to find this groundbreaking? Frankly, it's been offensive to watch what this group of researchers have tried to pass off as legitimate. Any disgust felt by people who are seriously interested in the folklore or reality of Bigfoot is fully justified.
Yet, the media swallowed the hook. Almost no source across the world (one exception is HuffPost's Lee Speigel here) did any background check into Ketchum's paper publishing history. I wrote an extensive chronology of the problems leading up to the paper and the aftermath. That information is readily available online at the CSI website and shows up highly ranked in Google. It was not utilized. The continuing sagas of the Erickson and Ketchum projects and the surrounding controversy was documented at Doubtful News and several other locations, also easily found with minimal searching. These critiques were not cited except to generally note "skeptics" are "skeptical." How completely unhelpful.
Media FAIL. They have perpetuated the idea that there is legitimate proof of Bigfoot presented here and have suggested that this is science. It is neither science nor should it have been taken at face value. We might as well have been reading the supermarket tabloids for all the journalism that went into this coverage from big name outlets.
Speaking of face value, it took all of a day for the Kinzua Bigfoot sighting to be revealed as a big ball of tree roots. Controversy continues to swirl over the details of this event -- was it a mistake or hoax? I can't say. All I can say is it's not a Bigfoot.
Yet, the news showed the picture of the Bigroot along with their story touting the announcement of the Bigsuit video and discredited Bigflop study. Much needed skepticism was nearly nonexistent.
These people are asking the public to accept Bigfoot is real. That is a huge claim. I am insulted that they attempted to feed us this garbage as evidence for it.