Home / The Mystery Over The Existence of Bigfoot Continues

The Mystery Over The Existence of Bigfoot Continues

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A great mystery is unfolding in the world of cryptozoology that is as interesting as any plot found in your typical thriller novel. It has its unscrupulous villain, its weary protagonist, and a cast of witting and unwitting accomplices. It may even have two dead bodies.

The source of this bubbling cauldron of drama is a long awaited report by Dr. Melba Ketchum on the DNA analysis of an animal that is currently relegated to the world of American myth. It’s been described by tens of thousands of witnesses over the years and has reportedly appeared in thousands of blurry photos and shaky videos. Perhaps it’s best known for the footprints it leaves behind, the first piece of evidence that saddled it with an unfortunate moniker, Bigfoot. It’s a name as ridiculous as the idea of an eight foot, bipedal man/ape roaming the forests of North America.

To many, the suggestion of such a thing is laughable. The skeptics on the subject are as steadfast and obsessive as the believers. They spend countless hours decrying the myth to the point that objective observers may think that they suffer from far worse mental disorders than those who see Bigfoot in every photo with trees. The Bigfoot phenomenon engenders the same kind irrational and passionate discourse that one would expect to see in a political debate.

And that is why the Ketchum report has taken on so much meaning. The rumors have been flying about her paper that she has co-authored with as many as five other individuals and submitted for peer review to an unidentified scientific journal. What does the paper say? Those who know aren’t talking, and those who don’t know are leaking information like a hole in a hot air balloon. In fact, there is more disinformation than information circulating about the Ketchum report. And I do mean disinformation.

It’s been alleged that a man by the name of Tom Biscardi has been purposely planting stories in the blogosphere to discredit the Ketchum report. Biscardi is most famous for hoodwinking the mainstream media in 2008 by attempting to pass off a Bigfoot costume in a freezer with opossum entrails as a real honest to goodness Bigfoot. They bought it hook, line, and sinker until he produced pictures of the obvious hoax at a well-attended press conference.

Biscardi runs his own Bigfoot research organization (Searching For Bigfoot Incorporated) that appears to be inspired more by carnival sideshow techniques than by actual scientific methodology. According to another researcher, Steve Kulls, part of Biscardi’s business plan states, “should someone else find Bigfoot, it would cause a loss of faith in SFBI’s abilities…” The inference is that Biscardi will do anything to be the leading Bigfoot research organization even if that means planting false and inflammatory stories in the mainstream and virtual media about his competition.

In addition to this plot that contains a dysfunctional dose of counter espionage and crypto-intrigue, a blogger by the name of Robert Lindsay has introduced a startling sub-plot. Lindsay has reported that a hunter by the name of Justin Smeja shot and killed an adult female Bigfoot and her offspring. Smeja made the claim on a taxidermy messageboard and was directed to contact a group called the Olympic Project headed by Bigfoot researcher Derek Randles. The incident has been dubbed the Sierra Shooting and numerous versions of the story have surfaced since Lindsay first reported it, but the most astonishing claim from the story has not changed, and that is two Bigfoot were killed in California near the Nevada border.

The story loses focus when one inquires about what happened to the bodies. Smeja claims he and his fellow hunter left them behind because they were scared out of their minds. Yet a substantial tissue sample from the alleged shooting did reportedly end up in Dr. Ketchum’s lab. Smeja’s apparent explanation is that he returned to the area sometime after the shooting and found the tissue sample. Many have pointed out that this explanation doesn’t really make sense when you take into account the changing weather conditions coupled with the number of scavengers in the area that would have consumed or carried off any remains of the bodies.

One is left with several burning questions after hearing the twists and turns of this drama. The most prominent being is any part of it true? All of the major players are only talking through intermediaries so it’s hard to say for sure. The only thing that you could possibly take away from all this is that the people involved in the search for Bigfoot are potentially more interesting than even the very creature they are trying to prove exists. There is such a sense of conflict deeply rooted within the community from both skeptics and believers that one can’t help but get sucked into the fray. It’s truly a fascinating display of human behavior.

Note from author: In the interest of full disclosure – I got involved in the Bigfoot community because of a young adult novel I wrote about the topic. I hope that Bigfoot is an actual creature because the world would be so much cooler with a giant ape/man in my backyard. I await with barely-fettered excitement for the release of the Ketchum report and a complementary documentary by Adrian Erickson that is said to have conclusive footage of the creature.

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About R.W. Ridley

  • anon

    this link is for a deleted and therefore web cached first page of a long thread on the forum Alex Hearn started in 2008. In it Hearn and others make some pretty choice comments about Biscardi, Gimlin, and more.

  • anon

    According to Hearn’s own words in the deleted link Biscardi knew what he had, and had it long before Hearn comes in picture…so, it doesn’t seem like that’s what happened… Biscardi “hired” hearn to fill on in on his dead “podcast” and go to the area of the toenail and stay in the guys cabin a few times.

    Hearn also admits in that deleted post to not really doing anything but tagging along..with Biscardi and others and then somehow ending up their spokeman?

    His claims are pretty steep compared to his short but vocal history as a Bigfoot researcher. The website indicates his involement differently, unless we consider fantasy bigfoot research.

  • I can’t speak for Larry, but if I had to guess, he found the evidence went to biggest name in BF research. Like it or not, Biscardi gets the most mainstream media time so many have linked his face to BF research. He has no credibility in the BF community, but those outside the community don’t realize that. I have no idea if Larry is up to date on who’s credible and who’s not. As Alex state, Biscardi turned the evidence over to him because he didn’t realize what he really had. This isn’t my opinion, but some have said that Biscardi isn’t a very smart man. Handing over bona fide BF evidence may be proof of that.

  • anon

    Is the sample hearn refers to the toe (or fingernail) owned by Larry Jenkins of Seligman, Arizona? I can’t figure out why Biscardi or hearn are involved, Jenkins is alive and well. Did he sell them the sample? It was found by the guy… did hearn find another sample? Or did Jenkins sell his sample to Biscardi and so on?

  • tmi0920

    Better than any novel I’ve read in a while! Riveting to say the least. I’ve learned more about Bigfoot in the last two months than my entire life. I hope something breaks before the end of the year…. Its fascinating.

  • S sparr – That is a good question. While there are no claims of photos of the bodies that I know of because the hunters left the area immediately after the shooting, there is said to be pictures of the large tissue sample that was allegedly sent in for DNA analysis. I believe the claim is that the owner of the photos is not allowed to release pictures because of a Nondisclosure agreement. Please note – these are not my sources. These are the details that have emerged through various sources. The only claim that has remained consistent throughout the various versions of the story is that an adult and young animal were killed in the Sierra mountains. The shooter and one other eye witness claim they were bipedal and covered in hair. Beyond those two statements, the rest of the story has gone through several versions.

  • S sparr

    If this story of a shot Bigfoot is true where are the photos?? Sure they need dan proof but the photos could have been released ages ago right after this alleged kill

  • Thanks, Alex. Great stuff.

    On the co-Author issue, I’m going by Steve Kull’s blog. He had said he interviewed Dr. Ketchum and she gave him that information.

    I sincerely hope Erickson doesn’t get mixed up with Biscardi. That would be a disaster.

  • Nice article RW. Basically it is pretty much right on.

    A couple of key points that I noticed though.

    Melba Ketchum is not CO-authoring her paper with anyone; she is writing it her self.

    There has been no dis-information on the Melba Ketchum side of the story that I am aware of. Most everyone is taking a “wait and see” approach, as we trust the science that Dr Ketchum is using. As a group and individually, different people have pointed out inconsistencies in both the Lindsay and Stubstad stories. However, neither one of these individuals (Stubstad or Lindsay) are involved with the Ketchum Study, at this time.

    The Ketchum Study and the Erickson Project are two different entities. Stubstad has admitted to me and the world that he is under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Adrian Erickson. That should tell you that anything he says has the blessing of Adrian Erickson. If this wasn’t the case there would be a lawsuit. Lindsay has basically also been proven a shill for Erickson. These are the two place that most of the dis-information seems to be coming from.

    Tom Biscardi has recently realized his greatest mistake was relinquishing the DNA sample that he was involved with to me. He has been on the warpath of sorts. However I just point out that this man has run with evidence that has been proven a HOAX numerous times in the past. Now when he finally gets a real piece of evidence he lets it go. Why? Because he didn’t realize what he had… So this man runs with Hoaxes and Ignores real evidence, he is by far the leader in the world of Bigfoot Research. More like he is the biggest Laughing stock in the world of real research.

    IT seems now that he may have joined forces with the Erickson Project in some regards. Here’s why I say this.

    Biscardi only goes out on the road when he has new investors to finance such trips. After a long break Biscardi has started roaming the country again, with his little wagon full of snake oil (Comment, Borrowed from Susan Lee).

    To muddy the waters more and make himself look more important, Biscardi has recently claimed to find some DNA. It comes from people we in the Bigfoot world have known of for a few years now. Mike Slavin, Rocky Slavin and Dennis Marsh have been trying to peddle this story for a few years, of course the only person still biting is Biscardi.

    Stubstad and Javabob Schmelzbach have recently announced a new partnership working on a new DNA project and have been appearing on numerous radio shows (Including Bigfoot Live Radio with Tom Biscardi a bunch or times)? Since Stubstad has financed Biscardi in the past, I think it’s safe to put 2 and 2 together here. Stubstad is probably financing Biscardi again. as they have a common goal, that goal is to discredit Dr Ketchum, her study, and all those involved with it.

    Since Stubstad has an NDA with The Erickson Project, I think it’s also safe to assume that all this is all being done on behalf of the Erickson project, or at least with their blessings; What could the reason for that be?