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David Paulides is a cryptozoologist, investigator and writer known primarily for his work, including two self-published books, dedicated to proving the reality of the cryptid known as Bigfoot, and for his series of self-published books, Missing 411, in which he speculates about the disappearance of people in national parks and elsewhere. Paulides attributes mysterious, unspecified causes to these disappearances, while data analyst Kyle Polich has analyzed Paulides' data and concluded that, statistically, these disappearances are not mysterious in any way.
Early life and career
Paulides attained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of San Francisco and then in 1977 he began working for the Fremont Police Department. In October 1980, he transferred to the nearby San Jose Police Department and worked in the patrol division on the SWAT Team, patrol and Street Crimes Unit. During his time as a detective, Paulides worked in the Vice/Intelligence Unit, and performed a variety of assignments. In 2011, Paulides received approval for a deferred vesting status totaling 16.5 years of service for his time with the San Jose Police Department.
After leaving the police force, Paulides became a cryptozoologist, researching and authoring books on the topic of Bigfoot, as well as on the disappearance of people to which he attributes a mysterious, unspecified cause or causes.
Bigfoot or Sasquatch
In his pursuit of the cryptid known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch, Paulides self-published two Bigfoot-related books and created the research group called "North America Bigfoot Search" for which he serves as director.
Paulides has said North America Bigfoot Search was instrumental in the genesis of a paper published in 2013 claiming Bigfoot was real: "The world needs to understand that North America Bigfoot Search was the organizer of the study. We orchestrated the search that led to picking Dr. Ketchum to conduct a study of bigfoot DNA."
The resulting paper documented the analysis of 111 samples of hypothesized Bigfoot DNA and was written by eleven different authors: Melba S. Ketchum, P.W. Wojtkiewicz, A.B. Watts, D.W. Spence, A.K. Holzenburg, D.G. Toler, T.M. Prychitko, F. Zhang, S. Bollinger, R. Shoulders, and R. Smith. On November 24, 2012, DNA Diagnostics, a veterinary laboratory headed by Ketchum, issued a press release prior to peer review claiming that:
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.
Two months later, the paper "Novel North American Hominins, Next Generation Sequencing of Three Whole Genomes and Associated Studies" appeared in the inaugural issue of DeNovo: Journal of Science. Shortly after publication, the paper was analyzed and reported on by Sharon Hill of Doubtful News for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Hill reported on the questionable journal, mismanaged DNA testing and poor quality paper, stating that:
The journal, DeNovo, is a brand-new online outlet that consists of one issue with only this one paper. The website is clunky and amateurishly designed with stock "sciencey" photos ... The few experienced geneticists who viewed the paper reported a dismal opinion of it, noting it made little sense.
The Scientist magazine also analyzed the paper, reporting that:
Geneticists who have seen the paper are not impressed. "To state the obvious, no data or analyses are presented that in any way support the claim that their samples come from a new primate or human-primate hybrid," Leonid Kruglyak of Princeton University told the Houston Chronicle. "Instead, analyses either come back as 100 percent human, or fail in ways that suggest technical artifacts." The website for the DeNovo Journal of Science was setup [sic] on February 4, and there is no indication that Ketchum's work, the only study it has published, was peer reviewed.
This paper did nothing to change the fact that scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, hoax, and misidentification of animals, particularly black bears. This conclusion has been reached for many reasons, including the lack of verified physical evidence after centuries of investigation, despite the large numbers of creatures that would have to exist to maintain a breeding population. Occasional new reports of sightings sustain a small group of self-described investigators, which includes Paulides.
In an interview with Coast to Coast AM host George Knapp, Paulides stated that the goal of his North America Bigfoot Search group was to prove that Bigfoot exists, and, despite the criticism from the scientific community, he feels they have done so.
Following his work on Bigfoot, Paulides' next project was Missing 411, a series of self-published books, and a documentary, documenting unsolved cases of people who have gone missing in national parks and elsewhere.
According to Paulides, his work on this subject began when he was doing research in a national park when an off-duty park ranger found him and expressed concern about the questionable nature of some of the missing person cases which occurred in the parks. The ranger knew Paulides' background and requested that he research the issue. Paulides obliged, and asserts that he uncovered multiple lines of evidence suggesting negligence on the part of the park service in failing to locate the missing people. He broadened his investigation to include missing people from across the world, and this led to his belief that he has uncovered a mysterious series of worldwide disappearances defying logical and conventional explanations.
As of 2017, Paulides has written six books on this topic. According to A Sobering Coincidence, he does not yet have a theory on what is causing the disappearances, although he indicates the "field of suspects is narrowing." Paulides advised that his readers go outside of their normal comfort zone to determine who (or what) is the culprit.
Kyle Polich, a data analyst and host of the Data Skeptic podcast, documented his analysis of Paulides' claims in the article "Missing411" and presented his analysis to a SkeptiCamp held in 2017 by the Monterey County Skeptics. He concluded that the allegedly unusual disappearances represent nothing unusual at all, and are instead best explained by non-mysterious causes. The possibilities include incapacity due to falling, or other sudden health crises, leading to a lone person becoming immobilized far off-trail, drowning, bear (or other animal) attack, environmental exposure, or even deliberate disappearance. After a thorough analysis of the missing person data, Polich summarized that these cases are not "outside the frequency that one would expect, or that there is anything unexplainable that I was able to identify." This presentation was discussed in a February 2017 article in Skeptical Inquirer, a publication of the CSI. In the article, Susan Gerbic reported that:
Apparently, according to Paulides, people have been disappearing from or missing time after visiting National Parks. Kyle, as a data scientist, said this piqued his interest. Paulides takes any case of a missing hiker as being a part of the conspiracy, even if the case has a natural explanation. He (Paulides) gave no reason for these disappearances but finds odd correlations for them. For example, two women missing in different years both had names starting with an "A" with three-letters, Amy and Ann. Paulides, in another example, stated that something was odd because in a few of the disappearances berry bushes were nearby. Seriously!
Polich later also published his analysis of Paulides' data in the Skeptical Inquirer. In the August 2017 article, An Investigation of the Missing 411 Conspiracy, Polich concluded: "I've exhausted my exploration for anything genuinely unusual. After careful review, to me, not a single case stands out nor do the frequencies involved seem outside of expectations."
- Tribal Bigfoot
- Hoopa Project: Bigfoot Encounters
- Missing 411 — Eastern United States: Unexplained Disappearances of North Americans That Have Never Been Solved
- Missing 411 — Western United States & Canada: Unexplained Disappearances of North Americans that have never been solved
- Missing 411: North America and Beyond
- Missing 411: The Devil's in the Details
- Missing 411: A Sobering Coincidence
- Missing 411: Hunters
- "Board Meeting Notes (June 2, 2011)" (PDF). SJretirement.com. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- "Tribal Bigfoot".
- "Hoopa Project: Bigfoot Encounters in California".
- Johnston, Scott D. "'Sasquatch Summit' brings Bigfoot believers to the beach". The Daily World. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- "Home Page". NAbigfootsearch.com. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- Hill, Sharon. "The Ketchum Project: What to Believe about Bigfoot DNA 'Science' (Spring 2013)". CSICOP.org. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- Paulides, David. "Blog #188". NAbigfootsearch.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- Cossins, Dan (February 15, 2013). "Bigfoot DNA is Bunk". The Scientist. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- Nickell, Joe (January 2007). "Investigative Files: Mysterious Entities of the Pacific Northwest, Part I". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
- Bear signs, San Diego Natural History Museum.
- Daegling 2004, pp. 62–63.
- "Bigfoot [a.k.a. Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, Mapinguari (the Amazon), Sasquatch, Yowie (Australia) and Yeti (Asia)]". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2008.
- Earls, Stephanie. "Bigfoot hunting". Archived from the original on January 29, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- Radford, Benjamin (March–April 2002). "Bigfoot at 50 Evaluating a Half-Century of Bigfoot Evidence". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved August 17, 2008.
- "Missing 411- Eastern United States: Unexplained Disappearances of North Americans That Have Never Been Solved".
- "Missing 411-Western United States & Canada: Unexplained Disappearances of North Americans that have never been solved".
- "Missing 411 Trailer". YouTube. Canam Missing Project. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- "Missing 411 2017 • Drama • 1 h 37 min • English". Microsoft.com. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- "Strange Disappearances in National Parks – David Paulides News Clips". Las Vegas 8 News NOW. 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
- Paulides, David (2011). Missing 411 Western United States and Canada. North Charleston, South Carolina: CreateSpace. p. ix–x. ISBN 1466216298.
- "David Paulides Missing 411 – C2C – 12th March 2014 HR (1)". Premiere Networks. 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
- Marsh, Roger. "Missing Person Cases: Never Be Last in Line". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- Paulides, David (2014). Missing 411 The Devil's in the Detail. North Charleston, South Carolina: CreateSpace. p. xiii. ISBN 1495246426.
- "I-Team: Strange Circumstances Surround Park Disappearances". Las Vegas 8 News NOW. 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
- Polich, Kyle. "Dataskeptic: Podcasts". Dataskeptic.com. Data Skeptic. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- Polich, Kyle. "Missing411". Dataskeptic.com.
- Taylor, Dennis. "Skeptics take on God, psychics, even science". Monterey Herald. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- Gerbic, Susan. "Local Skeptical Outreach & Activism: Monterey County SkeptiCamp (Feb. 3, 2017)". CSICOP.org. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- "MCS SkeptiCamp 2017 – Kyle Polich – Frontiers in Woo". Youtube.com. Monterey County Skeptics. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- Polich, Kyle (August 2017). "An Investigation of the Missing411 Conspiracy". Skeptical Inquirer. 41 (4): 54.
- "Missing 411: North America and Beyond". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- "Missing 411: The Devil's in the Details". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- "Missing 411: A Sobering Coincidence". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- "Missing 411: Hunters". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 8 February 2017.