Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plum Island of Dr. Moreau

Interesting post on Gawker today regarding a very strange, mutated looking animal that was found off of Montauk. Here it is:

Many comments ensued speculating as to what it was. Right click and "save as" to find out what it really is (or one commenters guess that made sense to me...) Some of my favorites:

siouxnyc : "
I heard something similar washed up on Fire Island, but it was wearing a feather boa. The plot thickens."

BGGA : "also, is that a yellow 'live strong' bracelet on it's right forepaw?"

NinaHagen : "Anything missing from Plum Island? That is the facility being spoke of I believe. Anthrax, hoof & mouth - they got it all. That is my factoid of the day. [www.ars.usda.gov]"

mrconsig : "Viral marketing for Indian Point?"

The point being is, I knew there was some very fucked up shit that took place out there, ($20 Kobe beef dogs, anyone?) but had never heard of said, Plum Island. Some highlights from the tinWiki.org article.


1. The Plum Island government facility of 840 acres is accessible by ferryboat or helicopter, about one and a half miles off Orient Point, the easternmost hamlet on the North Fork of Long Island. Not to be confused with the wildlife preserve of the same name, Plum Island is home to a series of labs which are officially categorized by the USDA as an animal research facility.

2. In 1954, operating under the guise of an animal research facility, the USDA and the Army jointly constructed two bio-containment quarantines, Lab 257 and Lab 101. During this time, the United States was in the beginnings of the Cold War, a time best noted for nuclear proliferation and the space race. One of the lesser-known activites of this period was Project Paperclip, a top-secret program in which the Unites States government recruited former Nazi scientists of varying specialization and brought them to America, along with employment contracts and full citizenship, to continue their studies in the Cold-War rush for military superiority. The full number of scientists recruited in this way is unknown, but estimated at anywhere from five hundred to two thousand persons.

3. Initially, Lab 101 was the first building on the compound to be compromised. During a particularly strong storm in 1969, extreme winds blew sections of the roof from the building and tore the exterior door from its hinges. Employees were quick to respond, and all biological agents were verified to be secure, but the potential of what could have been an outbreak was not lost on the staff.

4. In 1971, Lab 257, which housed the deadliest germs on Plum Island, lost power due to a downed electric line. The power remained out for several hours, during which time the air filtration system failed and began allowing potentially virulent air out of the containment facility and into the environment. Like the previous incident, all biological agents were reported to be secure, but for weeks afterward an abnormal amount of animal carcasses, mostly birds, were found all over the island.

5. Staffing was also an issue. Given the somewhat remote location of the lab, employees would be on the island for days or weeks at a time, sleeping in the barracks and eating at in-house facilities until their "weekend", when they could return to the mainland until their next shift. Due to this trying nature of the work, it was allegedly commonplace for security guards to end their shift and leave, without being relieved by a fresh detail, leaving the facilities unsecured and accessible to virtually anyone.

6. During the 1970s, reports of Lyme Disease began surfacing in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. A southern virus springing up so far north (and suspiciously close to a well-known germ facility) prompted complaints from citizens and ex-employees about Plum Island's secretive and controversial nature. Soon afterwards, Long Island Congressman Thomas Downey launched an investigation into the island which eventually turned up interesting results. A internal research document recovered from the island, entitled "African Swine Fever", revealed that: Plum Island was experimenting with the Lone Star tick and the Cayenne tick, feeding them on viruses and testing them on pigs, during the time Lyme disease was being reported far from its original habitat. They did not transmit African swine fever to pigs, said the document, but they might have transmitted it to researchers or to the island's vectors. Naturally, this was a public relations disaster, and Plum Island remained a topic of controversy for years.

7. Although the government has long maintained that bioweapons research is not being conducted there, on August 24, 2006 President George W. Bush requested $23 million be set aside in the defense budget to upgrade key structures of the facility, possibly bringing it up to BL4, the highest level of biocontainment usually reserved for bioweapons storage.


Anyways, I started looking on Google Maps to see if I could see any Cloverfield type shit down there (I didn't, however, the beaches actually look pretty nice), but I did find a nice little insignia on one of the helipads left by our friends the Nazis, no doubt, as the were continuing on the US Government sponsored quest for the SuperRace...(see pt. 2)

Check out tinWiki for more details. Leave any strange Plum Island stories in the comments section.

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