The Erickson Project Is Confusing!

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 10th, 2011

Chart Credit: Bigfoot Lunch Club

Okay, let me be honest. I find the details and events tied to the Erickson Project confusing. I don’t think I’m the only one, so I thought I’d open the floor for a discussion, to see if any of the profound thinkers who stop by here can enlighten me. I’m serious.

Let’s see, here’s my attempt to boil down the facts into a simple string of events. First, a wealthy guy (e.g. Adrian Erickson, who seems to be a decent fellow) decides to conduct a secret project to prove Bigfoot exists, but there are immediately a bunch of leaks.

It gets out that samples of Bigfoot parts are needed, and reportedly Tom Biscardi (*red flag* goes off in my brain) is the first on the scene with a toe nail or some such.

Then other folks turn up with various samples, e.g. body parts, steaks, or whatever. Dr. Melba S. Ketchum (another seemingly decent actor in this drama) is picked to do the DNA testing, maybe coauthor a peer-reviewed scientific paper, and keep quiet. But she starts posting comments on the process on her Facebook page (*confusing red flags*).

Various people like Robert Lindsey, Guy Edwards, and Craig Woolheater serve as avenues of some of the leaks. It gets so bad that Edwards can quote Robert Lindsey on the Bigfoot Lunch Club (with teasers on Cryptomundo) in June 2011, to wit: “Surely, the most breathtaking news so far involves the sequencing of Bigfoot DNA. We already reported previously on the sequencing Bigfoot mitochondrial DNA, which is coming out 100% human. That means that the Bigfoot female line goes back to human females.”

Edwards entertainingly posts the chart up top.

That’s about how it all seems to be unfolding, with a few mores twist and turns, side treks and trips, as I see it in my simplistic overview.

What other details have tickled your interest in this melodrama? What have I missed? Has anyone really seen any good summaries or timelines on this whole project? Enlighten me, please!

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

25 Responses to “The Erickson Project Is Confusing!”

  1. todreynard responds:

    Great satire! But, otherwise, who wants to waste time deliberating the gibberish of fools?

  2. Hapa responds:

    “we already reported previously on the sequencing Bigfoot mitochondrial DNA, which is coming out 100% human.”

    ……Perhaps because the DNA comes from human beings….and not Sasquatch…?

    Perhaps a Hoaxer Sapien……?!

  3. William responds:

    I agree, this is at a minimum very confusing. So what are we to make of this if it is so? That BF is simply a more animalistic and bigger version of man? So he lacks the ability of speech and fire but is able to compensate quite well by his physical size and prowess and bizarre ability to grow a coat of shaggy hair like a dog? This is what we end up with to explain his existence?

    Somehow, I find this a bit lacking. Anyone else?

  4. Krakhed responds:

    Eh, I’m still waiting for some real information. I’m not sure I trust the “leaks”.

  5. Ragnar responds:

    “Surely, the most breathtaking news so far involves the sequencing of Bigfoot DNA. We already reported previously on the sequencing Bigfoot mitochondrial DNA, which is coming out 100% human. That means that the Bigfoot female line goes back to human females.”

    Or it means the samples were contaminated with human DNA. Just in case, they should sequence everyone involved, from the lab techs to the “investigators” and see if it matches.

  6. theprof responds:

    I’ll only believe that it is all true when the BFRO tells me it is true…ow. Just bit my tongue…

  7. Steven Streufert responds:

    It is clearly evident that games are being played here, on all sides, and really we should just ignore all of these rumors and foregone conclusions until we have actual, real, confirmed scientific results. Give it a chance, but don’t buy the hype from any camp with a stake in it. This DNA study puts the the entirety of bigfooting endeavors on the table. If it fails or falls into the realm of speculative fantasy we involved will all be left scratching our heads asking, What Now?

  8. bobhelferstay responds:

    From what I understand, the people who are providing the leaks don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.

  9. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Does this mess include all that shot-a-baby-Bigfoot-came-back-and-found-a-leg thing? I’m losing track….

  10. dogu4 responds:

    Gee, a couple of hunters take down a sasquatch and yet there are no pics, not of the body, not of the steak, nuthin’…not even pics that others might be saying are faked…nothin’… and yet this reluctance is supposed to help reduce the incidence of wild speculation and rumor…please prove me wrong, but if I anyone thinks this is an elaborate hoax with the purpose of stringin’ on the rubes, who could or would blame them?

  11. choppedlow responds:

    This was such a promising project in the beginning. Even we who are on the fence thought this might finally push this past the tipping point. But now it seems to just get worse and worse. What happens when you make promises you cant keep? You dig your hole deeper and deeper. And this is what they are doing. If this was all legit and as ‘professional’ as they have painted it to be, these problems wouldn’t persist. Hats off to them if they pull it off, but it seems like the safe bet is that it’s another huge pile of Bigoot crap.

  12. mid tarsal responds:

    I’m not sure what this means, but I tried to go to the Erickson Project website, and it takes me to Godaddy where it says the domain is for sale. Has anyone else seen this? As for the project itself, I wouldn’t get too excited about the video evidence except for the fact that John Bindernagel said that he went to that remote area of Kentucky saw a bigfoot there, and vouches for the videos that were shot there. I think he adds alot of credibility to the whole thing. How good the footage actually is remains to be seen. I feel that the dna evidence will probably end up being considered inconclusive, because to me and most others I think it’s far fetched that bigfoot is half human. I agree that if that’s what testing confirmed, it was probably due to human contamination of the sample, therefore, inconclusive.

  13. bobhelferstay responds:

    You’re all listening to rumors from people who have no idea what they are talking about. The only peope who KNOW what is going on are the people who are in the project. There is a NDA in effect.

    I highly doubt that Lindsey, Moneymaker, or anyone else who are saying, “I heard from a reliable source,” know what they are talking about.

    Give this time to play out.

  14. Bipedal_Bill responds:

    NDA….DNA….I wonder who’s really hiding in the woods…peeping their head out every-so-often….the whole project is a fuzzy blobsquatch.

  15. springheeledjack responds:

    Yeah, I’m convinced the “leaks” are all crap. From what I’ve seen none of these people really have any ties to the Erickson Project other than hearsay and that they say they are.

    I hope the Erickson Project is legit, but until I see some real data that is published and set, I’m taking everything at face value. I’m with Loren…when red flags like Biscardi start popping up, it’s “uh-oh” time.

    I think we’ve reached that point where someone or a group should be able to start accessing and cross referencing data and physical samples and come up with solid, tangible evidence. I do think we’re that close.

    In the meantime, I’m wary. And skeptical:)

  16. DNS responds:

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one who finds this whole episode puzzling. Seems like everybody wants a piece of it, but that does not necessarily mean there is anything there.

    Why does Biscardi continue to get the attention of researchers? Five minutes of due diligence should be enough to convince any sane person to avoid the possibility of being linked with that circus in any way.

  17. DWA responds:

    I don’t find this confusing at all.

    Bad science is bad science. That’s what this has been, from word one.

    I stick to the real scientists on this topic.

  18. diogenes responds:

    this seems to be generally accepted, although this is from secondary sources;

    1. There is a DNA study that has been on-going since at least 2009, in that by about that time Ketchum felt she had evidence of a Bigfoot (radio interview with Paulides – Erickson calls in I think) which had involved her a year or so prior thru a TV show..
    2. Contributors to the study are often identified through their role as go between rather than actual sample procurer,. Larry Jenkins of AZ found the toenail submitted to Ketchum in 2009 via Biscardi. Local news ran stories and photos, perhaps even prior to Biscardi’s arrival. Representation of the toenail then became a typical BF competition, not sure who is the “credible rep” now.
    3. On radio Paulides, at about that time, claimed reluctantly to have ‘some samples” in w/o being specific (he may have said bone) b/c Erickson usurped the show and claimed much more in the way of samples and video.
    4. H. Farenbach (sp?) in about winter 09/10 was giving lectures at an adult community program and discussed the “Kentucky Project” and seemed close to the information and also that the project was credible and EP had tissue and blood samples that were “good”
    5. sometime in early 2009 or late 2008 a video surfaced on web for about a week with resolution perhaps about 380p of what looked like a slender BF. perhaps teenager, pick up and lick a plate. The area was wooded, but the trees seemed young and there seemed to be a worn path to a table or bait station down which the camera was aimed. It also appeared to be dusk or dark, little color in the version I saw. (I saw it and thought not much since my own video was shot just about that time and I was not aware of BF “crowd or evidence” prior to late 2008 – so I had no idea what EP was). The video was pulled under threat of lawsuit..I believe Woolheater was the poster w/o NDA
    6. Many appear to have viewed the footage and given thumbs up, although i don’t recall if I ever saw a first person quote on that from Bindernagel or someone others claims to have seen all the footage.
    7. Contributions to the study accelerated after the radio show with Paulides, but also notably with Biscardi’s post on his website of Ketchum’s email and address and entire “Arizona Story” – worth the trip to find on his site.

    My count of submissions known based on what I consider reliable internet news (hahahah) is :

    Paulides – a few
    EP – a handful
    Larry Jenkins – toenail
    Larry Surface – hair
    JC Johnson – tissue, blood
    Ruggs – the tooth (might have that wrong)
    Okla BF groups…I don’t follow but their forums alive with results early and reported by “Ed Smith”

    there are many more, but these are all self confessed.

    Provenance will be important and chain of custody. Perhaps for Larry Jenkins the long list of subsequent handlers won’t be an issue b/c his sample allows for deep extraction. Also, JC Johnson’s skunk/pipe video records collection..what else he has I don’t know. Larry Surface has the NV video recently, of general BF activity in his area, unknown if resolution, etc adequate.

    So, it sounds like EP still holds the HD video cards and perhaps collection records, enough samples to make a significant credible contribution to the study.

    If we “try” the samples and provenance based on character of individuals involved, or partial data in advance..well that would just be weird, if the evidence itself is distinguishable from a hoax. So, I want to see the data! It matters not to me, the names attached so much to the chain of custody, as the circumstance of finding, supporting evidence, no one will accept anecdotal or witness testimony, so I hope the hard evidence is persuasive and the differences in the genome adequate to overcome persuasive counter arguments.

    I did find a journey through the writings and comments of Janice Carter, Mary Green, and a particular blogger in Canada recently on the topic (can’t recall name..sasquatch something or other) interesting…and those combined with the other random posts on the net seem to, in essence give a rather deep picture.

    As for Erickson himself? rich or poor, nice or mean, honest or not….who cares, just get the footage out and the details, and let the world pick it apart…it will stand or not.

    I think we, at least in the Bf community, will be happy to finally see it.

  19. Sincero responds:

    Weird… when news of this project came out this site was awash with people claiming this was finally the proof in the pudding, and vouching for the character of Erickson and the scientific mores of Ketchum, and doing everything possible to justify the ludicrous story behind the carving of sasquatch steaks, yum, etc. etc..

    Many of those people have either spun 180′ or are notable by their absence. Odd.

  20. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    There’s nothing wrong with changing your opinions in light of new information, we working in the scientific fields do it all the time. Otherwise, it would be impossible to remain objective. Also, someone mentioned that we should give this time to play out. I have used many labs for analysis of important samples. Only once did a sample take about ten months to run, and when the manager of the lab found out about it, she was apoplectic. Time’s up. S–t or get off the pot, as we say in Texas.

  21. diogenes responds:

    I have also noticed shifting public alliances since this started.
    And with not much to do but wait have thought a bit about it and wonder this:

    prior to 2009 whatever DNA ketchum saw was intriguing, she confesses, and appears to have scientific curiosity.
    Finally, the BF sighs, someone to take testing all the way through….
    The toenail went from a wildlife forensic lab in early may 2009 to Ketchum when that lab’s testing reached it’s limit…(see Biscardi’s AZ story).
    Initially one only heard about Ketchum somewhat in the same sentence as Meldrum…I think the Destination Truth or such TV show ?
    And then for a time it seemed there were no special parties to the study..Erickson was talking, Paulides, and so on and all seemed to be in friendly competition..agreeing to come under a scientific study…
    But then things change….by 2011 summer ketchum seems inaccessible and Paulides the spokesman for the Project, and goes so far to call it his project. And the resulting arguments on net who was there first (sounds like the TV show to me..anyway) seems Paulides won b/c he is the one to announce in Jan 2011 paper will be out this year….
    Well what’s that say? Certainly by early 2011 or the end of 2011 Ketchum say BF’s as a sub-species or closely related to humans. Makes sense then the Paulides connection.
    But, the scientific curiosity so many BFers signed up with seems to have morphed into serious commercial interests: as witnessed (if true) with leaks on registered domains (feralhumanproject) and Paulides Sasquatch Genome Project…..a
    The other participants no longer in the know..but feeling like Paulides is, and them still waiting on sample results (or in some cases samples back) begin to get one likes to be outside the circle…especially went you already paid.
    Time is going so slow for those waiting… EP on footage since 2005 and samples since late 2009 or early 2010…..then
    what? Some weird story about shooting a Mom and Child Sasquatch…WTF? The story gets no traction for four blogs…then finally late spring 2011 it begins to take off. By summer 2011, 320 comments on Lindsay’s blog…and the story won’t die

    the thing is..if untrue Ketchum could have dispelled ages ago…so something is “true” and it doesn’t sound pretty. I left OP out above intentionally…as providers..just too much spin coming from that groups..will just have to see the truth on that.

    So, perhaps those guarded now that sung praises earlier see…it isn’t altruistic scientific curiosity as they hoped..or excellent science..but, a bit more self serving…apparently a bid to begin and center a Genome Project for Feral Humans…talks, conferences, etc and perhaps even some patents for PCR amplification or something? And perhaps disregard for the BFers themselves..who hang on her every FB word?

    Who can back a secret that might include dead BF’s over a year ago and no disclosure? it seems ketchum is simply a hub thru which samples travel to other labs which send results back (apparently testing blind?)…so we’ll see.

    If the paper gets traction we shall have many choices to send DNA.
    So, prudent folks are waiting to see the goods…

    is early, no glasses, lots of typos I am sure, and no interest in editing…no disrespect intended

  22. diogenes responds:

    what is most troubling for me, and why I got public posting, is the Sierra Kill story. By late 2010 – when she is to have received the sample, she knew within her program, BF’s are very close to human in DNA..and “are real.” And yet the “Kills” if true remain unknown to the world, Max Planck Inst, or Genbank? I don’t see how the kill sample needed to be part of the study unless there is a body or some hard evidence that makes Justin Smeja (or whoever) look reliable as a witness.

    They blew it in my mind….perhaps patents, genome companies, etc can all be argued within “excellent science” but dead mom and baby BF’s cannot….
    They blew it, every professional that handled or tested that “steak” with knowledge of source and sat on the information..blew it in my mind. It will be difficult to argue altruistic science with that choice…we will hear about Gov coverups or whatever to justify…..and in my mind if the Gov really wants covered up? Well, contact them first or you are your own personal Wikileaks.

    But, this is America. where a sleazy lawyer can tell you, “Don’t worry about it, you will make so much dough, the fines, damages, anything they throw at you…peanuts, just pay.

    Lawyers ethics. I am unable to ascertain if any lawyer besides Ketchum’s is advising anyone….I hope that is not the case….

    again no glasses and not too interested in editing ( 70% of work force requires near vision, 20 years ago only 23%)

  23. diogenes responds:

    one of those mornings…of course, if our Government is involved…and the team is following that protocol…it’s all good.

  24. norman-uk responds:

    It has been difficult to keep track of all the speculations and assertions about recent DNA analysis on possible bigfoot samples. Maybe not worthwhile either until Dr Ketchum is able to disclose what her lab has actually found. Her statements seem to be the only reliable source.

    These type of DNA results seem to have particular difficulties. For years nothing was identified as new then in 2001 Professor Bryan Sykes was reported as finding one sample of primate DNA new to science along with two results for bears, one of which appeared to be a new sub-species . He later stated that the new primate result in fact was incorrect as the sample had been too small which would give a crazy result. I think he might like to review his result if Dr Ketchum’s results also turn out to be strange.

    Problems were also found with orange pendek results from Dr Lars Thomas and now there appear to be something special or strange about results from samples submitted to Dr Ketchum as bigfoot.

    Dr Ketchum first positive result was on a Josh Gates sample in 2009 when she described the DNA result from a hair sample he provided as from a large unknown primate in the human sequence (not sure what this means). She suggested DNA results like these could be used to establish a new species.

    Certainly it will take time for Dr Ketchum’s work to go through the hoops and be released. I think she is the first to undertake peer review and its going to be difficult especially if she is up against some of the sillier sceptics. Meanwhile one should keep an open mind and wait with some moderate excitement and much more hope than say there is with the ‘hobbit’ DNA being extracted.

  25. parafoot responds:

    The two creatures may have been shot, but I don’t believe they were killed. As for the hair, it always turns out as either human or some known animal.

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