The Obstacles of Science
(c) 2011 Jeremy Gosnell
He was more religious then I although he was my best friend and it was that reason alone that I decided to take him along. I was a scientist and he was something of a purist one could say and over the years of our friendship we had many arguments concerning the origin of humanity. Most of our disagreements ended in a discussion about the possibility of evolution. In reality neither of us were supporters of Darwin’s famous theory although while he was totally against it I was able to find some parts of the theory that that I understood. Having him with me today would be a great asset to me; mainly since it would give me a broader second opinion to think about. In turn this could open my mind to the thoughts of another. Together we could formulate stronger more fluent ideas about the origin of these creatures and what they really were. I needed him not only for his strong spiritual sense but also for his remarkable and never ending positive attitude.
Over the years I had been highly criticized to the point where my peers were not making expressive views about my work; they making fun of me. It was the area I chose to study that made them laugh and snicker during my seminars at the university. With funding I studied an area of science that many professionals argued was a waste of time. I made several trips yearly to Alberta and Northern Canada in pursuit of my subject. All of which over the years had turned up nothing but more questions and dead ends. It was after seven years and over a hundred thousand dollars in funding, countless ridicule from my colleagues that I had given up my work for a more concrete area of study.
On a Thursday during mid-fall my attitude towards science had reached an all-time low. For years I was able to bite my tongue while I was called a fool for pursuing an animal that many believed to be nothing more than a hoax. For me as a scientist it was a dark time. A time that it appeared as all my hopes of being remembered for something great were being thrown out and I would be quickly forgotten. In reality I had never made any great stride or discovery in the field but I always maintained my passion. As I sat there that day drowning in my own gloom the ringing phone almost went un-answered. In the darkness of that afternoon it seemed like the only ray of light. I had given up so much in pursuit of science; my wife, friends, a social life - this call may have been my chance to re-coup my desperate losses.
“Ethan Conrad.” The voice on the other end of the line asked. The accent was Canadian.
Not an established Canadian accent like you would find in Montreal but a more broken one.
“Speaking” I answered in my normal monotone voice.
“I contacted your office and they gave me your home number, I hope you don’t mind me calling you at home like this.”
“Well if you are calling to tell me that I am a fool and should give up on the study altogether then yes sir I do mind you calling me at home.” My reply seemed to give some pause.
“No sir, this is the Canadian Wildlife and Game Commission out of Alberta and we are calling to well tell, I mean ask you to come and take a look at an animal we recently took into our custody.” This made me think, and it was clear that he was keeping many details about this “animal” hidden as if he was afraid that I would turn his offer down.
“What type of animal are you talking about?” I asked.
“Well we were hoping that you could tell us.”
It was drawing closer. The moment I had waited for as a scientist my entire career and soon enough so many un-answered questions; many of them I myself had raised would be answered.
“Well Ethan this is it, your time to prove to me that I was wrong all along.” John said with a grin.
“If this is what I think; what I am hoping it is then it won’t prove anyone wrong, just prove a lot of people right.”
John laughed, having him there my best friend and constant ally; even while others called me an idiot felt good and re-assuring.
“This is it.” the pilot yelled as we began to touch down on a small landing pad out in the Alberta wilderness.
It was obvious this was the only Fish and Game station for at least sixty miles.
As we entered the facility Thomas Ashton the Ranger who had called me a few days earlier was present ready to brief us on the situation.
“It was one of our men who first spotted the creature about ten or so miles from here, he was hurt pretty bad when we found him, obviously had been hit with an off-road vehicle or something. It is obvious that the people who hit him thought he was a person, or were too afraid to stop since they must have taken off.”
“First off I want to thank you two gentlemen for coming out here on such short notice and second of all I want to warn you of the dangers and precautions about being around this creature. We have had him in custody for about one week, and there are some quick do not’s we have learned right off. Number one, this guy is big; we are positive it is a male for obvious reasons and he is about seven and a half feet tall and weighs two hundred and eighty pounds. And make no mistake about it none of that weight is fat; he is solid muscle so I don’t want anyone other than my guards in the unit with him, that is simply not up for negotiation. Second he is loud and seems to be sensitive to any type of noise, so when talking around him it is best to use your softest possible voice, even a whisper if possible. The noise he makes is extremely scary and intimidating so when you first hear it, which you will, he makes it every time we get close. Please do not make any sudden movement, those bother him too. He was tired for the first few days but he is in tip top shape now so be careful.”
As we walked down the corridor behind Thomas he continued to talk about how well the facility was equipped. He spoke about how they were ready to handle Bear and other large and powerful mammals and even this creature was no a burden on the unit.
As we approached the individual came into view. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, whatever you wanted to call it was standing right there before me. I had studied it, searched for it, wondered if it even existed and there it was right before my eyes. Its size was huge and the grunt it made as we approached was loud not unlike the similar groan of a huge Silverback Gorilla. It was a marvel to science and while it looked much like a Gorilla in build; its stance and features were far more humanistic. It glared at us with an obvious intelligence. I was sure the animal knew it was in captivity and was smart enough to realize that struggle was futile at this point. I took a position kneeling down. Showing this amazing animal that I was not aggressive.
John was simply awe struck and while I must admit that even I myself was somewhat intimidated by the animal’s presence, it was clear that the sight of it simply shocked John.
As shocking as this situation was for both of us it was clear to me that I would need several days to examine the creature and that most of this time would alone time with the animal.
It was this request that did not set well with the head ranger and for a moment I did not think I would receive any chance to study the creature at all. After some bargaining I was able to work out four hours a day alone with the creature for two days, at that time I was to compile a one thousand word report on what I found. “Well Bob I don’t see any reason for me to stay, it looks like you have finally gotten what you have been waiting for” John said still sporting the awe struck look from before. “Listen I didn’t invite you here just to be a passive observer, I want some of your views to appear in my initial analysis of this creature, so it doesn’t sound overly one sided.” Me reply had surprised him and the look that was giving me so much haste before had suddenly disappeared.
The creature was far more intelligent than I had originally anticipated. I had assumed in earlier theories that a Bigfoot or Northern Gorilla as I called them when I was speaking to members of the scientific community would have an intelligence somewhere between that of a Mountain Gorilla and a human. Lacking the ability to speak but being able to understand language in simple phrases and possibly being able to be taught to read certain sentences. While observing the animal though it was clear that it was much more adept to learning than I had originally thought and after only eight hours with it I was certain I was on the verge of teaching it to read. When spoken to it lost its animal instinct to be afraid, and it was clear it had finally realized that I was by no means there to harm it. Though after my days were up though the head ranger came and asked for my report. As I pleaded for just a little more time with the creature it was clear that I was not going to get it. “So what is to come of this specimen” I asked wondering if they would expose his existence to the world. “He will be euthanized for further studying; we need to be sure that these creatures are not harmful before we decide if we are going to allow them to continue their existence.” The ranger’s reply had exposed my worst fears about the well being of the animal.
It would have been the perfect opportunity to set myself apart from the rest of the scientific crowd. A finding that many had told me would never come; a creature that they argued simply did not exist. That argument may still continue among my colleagues. It’s the human races ability to destroy even the most mysterious parts of nature that made me do what I knew I had to. I freed him, back into the vast wilderness from which he came, and in doing so burned all chances I had at the great world wide recognition that I had been waiting for, that had been the burning flame that kept me traveling and studying for all those years. Although as I watched him jog out through the forest, first seeing his movement clear, then as he gained distance seeing him disappear I knew in the eyes of nature I had done what was right. It may take science and humanity another hundred, maybe a thousand years to find this amazing creature again, and in the end its freedom was more important to me than seeing it in a zoo or seeing my picture in a magazine.