Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Damian Bravo, a Sasquatch believer. You can join Damian's group Sasquatch Lives? on Facebook and the group's official page at www.sasquatchlives.com.
A couple of things have shaken the Sasquatch community recently; the release of the new Sasquatch photo and the tragic death of fellow Sasquatch researcher Manuel Solorio, who died of a heart attack while on a solo expedition. Some of you might have missed the news about Solorio because of the new photo frenzy and its debate. Like certain news always does, it became more important than others.
Recently, I had the opportunity to informally ask Dr. Melba Ketchum some questions and I feel honored and privileged that she answered them. Dr. Ketchum is not only a gracious human being but a very classy lady; she told me I could post her answers before I even asked her if I could do so. This goes to show what a truly genuine person she is and how much she loves the community that has embraced her.
Dr. Ketchum stated that when she launches her web site it will have a special address for media inquiries, which will make sorting messages much easier.
Below are Dr. Ketchum’s answers to my questions:
Damian Bravo: Hello Dr. Ketchum. I wanted to see if I could ask you some questions, if it’s ok, for an article I want to write about you. My questions are not related to the study but more on how the community has embraced you since becoming part of the DNA study and if you have any regrets becoming a ray of truth for so many that believe in the existence of Sasquatch.
The Sasquatch "community" has been, for the most part, very supportive of the study and have also accepted me into their "community". There are so many good people that are truly excited about the study and this gives me tremendous encouragement. Regrettably, there are also a few individuals that have acted out horribly, including some of the "powers that be", and they have actually attacked me repeatedly. Though they are a minority, I could not believe the viciousness with which they fabricated and circulated lies and rumors, especially the personal attacks. That was unexpected. I have learned to consider the sources though and laugh it off, calling myself the tabloid queen of all things Sasquatch. You have to keep your faith and a sense of humor with all of this or it will steal your happiness and that is something I refuse to give up. The flip side is that I wouldn't trade anything for the wonderful, kind and generous people that have crossed my path because of this project. For those individuals, I am truly thankful. I am also extremely grateful for the fervent supporters of the project that I haven't had the privilege of meeting. Without these two groups encouraging me, I don't know if I would have continued with the study, what with all of the negativity and chaos involved. I am so happy that the majority of the people in the Sasquatch world fall into these groups. In the long run, the good outweighs the bad and I am happy at this point to be doing this. I also love the fact that the study will vindicate the thousands that have had sightings and have been ridiculed. Hopefully, the study will also bring about legal protection for the species. I sometimes feel that I didn't choose this, it somehow chose me.
Damian Bravo: When you were first asked to do this study, did you feel any hesitations and did you decide to think about it first because of the stigma of believing in Sasquatch?
I didn't feel any hesitation to start this project at the time. I have insatiable curiosity and love a good mystery so it sounded like something I would enjoy investigating. I really didn't believe that they existed and thought I would just disprove it and go along my merry way. I was totally oblivious to what was headed my way with this. It also never occurred to me how difficult "proof" would be and how long it would take. We had tested "alleged" Sasquatch samples since 1995 for species ID, but they had only tested as common animals until early 2009. Even then, I didn't trust my results as there wasn't enough DNA to continue with those samples. So, I just wasn't expecting this nor did I think about the implications since I didn't believe in them.
Damian Bravo: On another note, do you feel that if the results come out and prove Sasquatch does exist that the community of scientists and biologists will come together and truly study this amazing possible Hominoid as Dr. Meldrum calls them?
As far as the scientific community, that remains to be seen although I do expect a shift away from private study to more universities getting involved. It has been very difficult to study them as it is. I don't look for that to be any easier in the future. I think legal regulation of study methods will also be implemented for them and at least I certainly hope so. The project will prove their existence and will provide some insight into them also. Believe me, I am as anxious as everyone else and it is driving me crazy not to be able to shout the results from the rooftops. However, I have to do this absolutely in a scientifically accepted fashion or it will all be for nothing. It is too important as a scientific discovery not to do this correctly. I hope people are starting to understand this and I think that they are. Each day though is one day closer to what I am sure is going to be the most exciting roller coaster ride ever.
Hope this helps
Dr. Ketchum is truly a nice person to talk to. You can feel how passionate she is about the DNA research and how much she loves the community. In her words you can also get a sense of how connected she feels towards the people that support her. She was even willing to take time from her busy schedule to answer these questions and let me share it with everyone. Once again, I thank Dr. Ketchum and Sally Ramey for this opportunity to share her feelings and thoughts since initially becoming involved with the DNA research.