Ketch syndrome is a geographically isolated phenomena occurring in and around Tinder Valley, Colorado. The syndrome has not yet been determined to be completely psychological or physical in nature, as observation of a subject is difficult.
A common cause of the syndrome has not yet been determined, but most reported cases occur after a lengthy hike in Tinder’s Grant trail. Symptoms begin with the onset of complete Anosmia. Within an hour, the subject will be unable to detect even the most pernicious of odors. Later, more extreme symptoms include lost time, anemia, hyporeflexia, labored breathing, and finally skin lesions. Sufferers often complain of the feeling of a weight on their chest and nightmares of being scratched. The skin lesions are the last symptoms to occur and always appear when the patient is terminal. They have been found all over the body but occur most frequently on the scalp, forensic testing has determined that these injuries are not caused by the subject’s nails.
Ketch syndrome gets its name from the “Ketch” or “K’ch”, a word that has been attributed to various native tribes of the area, though both the Arapaho and Cheyenne nations have denied this allegation. The Ketch was depicted in popular illustrations as a polecat with the face of an owl, but with the usual features of thumbs and red eyes. The most commonly occurring variation of the tale is that the Ketch is a creature that lives on the many pines of the valley. The Ketch is said to be both envious and contemptuous of humankind, for it can mimic certain phrases but lacks a greater ability to speak. To avenge this, the Ketch lays in wait for a passerby in a likely tree, dropping onto their shoulders when they stop to rest in its shade. The scalp lesions were attributed to the creatures attempt to get a more comfortable grip with its claws, said to be the length of a human finger and retractable like a cat’s. If too much time has gone by, the Ketch will mimic a distress call and then drop on the unsuspecting rescuer.
The Ketch is invisible to human eyes, so its victims only perceive it as a persistent weight on various parts of the body. The only way to detect the creature was its incredibly foul odor, said to be like rotting flesh. The first symptom was interpreted as the Ketch ramming its tail in the victim’s nostrils to prevent discovery. Once sequestered in a sickbed, the victim becomes a smorgasbord for the Ketch, who will drink freely from the victim’s bodily fluids. Once the victim dies, the Ketch will nest on their corpse until the body is transported, whereing it will flee back to the pines.
Ketch syndrome has not shown any reaction to modern medicine, therapy, or surgical intervention. Ketch syndrome has 100% mortality rate.