As an aspiring journalist, my first foray into the world of news-writing was about the wackiest, most intriguing story I've come across in some time: a giant, bipedal Squirrel inhabiting the forest behind Humboldt State University, in the small, college town of Arcata, California. I have since been waiting like a kid on Christmas Eve to write the follow-up article which has been on hold pending a teased 3-part interview with a "whistleblower" who claims to have first-hand knowledge of the inception of "The Redwood Man Squirrel", also known as "The Murrel".
After the 3rd and final segment of his interview went viral last week, I sat and pondered the claims made by the mystery man, who's face and voice were disguised to protect his identity.
Like something out of a movie, the man's claims at times were so specific and incredible, one can only think they're either complete and utter bullshit or just maybe they're true.
Before we get to the nuggets contained in the interview, another part of this ever-evolving story needs to be covered.
According to Steve Neill, "after failing to receive support and cooperation from the relevant local, state and federal agencies", "The Murrel Brigade" took their "body of evidence" to Russia for further testing, only to be denied entry into the country, first on the grounds of failure to file the proper written requests with the Russian state (to bring organic material into the country) and then denied again due to the "bizzare nature of their cargo". The frustrated group would not be discouraged as they embarked on the second leg of their planned trip to Columbia.
A few weeks into their South American stay, while awaiting the DNA test results, they claim that "4 men with U.S. State Dept. I.D.’s walked into the Biology lab at an undisclosed Colombian University where secondary tests were being conducted on the Murrel skull and presented official documents before seizing our prized piece of evidence along with all computer and paper files associated with it", they went on to state that "Employees witnessing the event said it was tense and chaotic, the men were said to have had several loud and threatening exchanges with lab personnel directly involved with the project and left many shaken and confused. A very angry Dr. Daniels boarded a plane for Washington D.C. today and is determined to get some answers, this comes only days after we went public with an interview from an alleged whistleblower who implicated government agencies in his testimony"
While in Washington D.C. attempting to retrieve their "prized piece of evidence", The folks at Murrel Central claim that their leader, 81-year old Dr. James Daniels suffered a mild heart attack and while in recovery is seriously contemplating retirement. More to come on this thread later.
Say what you will about these giant Squirrel-chasing adventurers however, they are anything but dull and their continuing quest for scientific recognition plays out like a crazy Hollywood thriller.
Enter the "whistleblower", who is either just blowing smoke and not a whistle or is indeed a witness to the creation and existence of two giant, genetically-engineered, upright Squirrels.
Assigned as an animal handler or "wrangler" to a top-secret, military assignment called the "Omaha Genome Project" or "Project Omaha", our John Doe says he was responsible for the daily care of two genetically mutated Squirrels engineered by government scientists for the purposes of potential military applications.
During the course of performing his duties, the anonymous source says he grew emotionally attached to the creatures and had crisis of conscience after bearing witness to their decreasing health as a result of the experiments they underwent. Bonding with the bushy-tailed test subjects over a mutual love of snack food including "Junior Mints" and the music of 80's soundtrack icon, Kenny Loggins, our innominate informant says he fell in love with his foster fur babies.
The tipster went on to say that he was ordered to euthanize the creatures after their increasingly aggressive behavior resulted in violent attacks on two colleagues, one of which suffered significant bodily injury.
Deciding that he would not follow orders to dispatch and dispose of his beloved beasts, he hatched a plan to break them out of the facilities and bring them to freedom. Simulating their exterminations and faking his own death to avoid being pursued and prosecuted, the daring defector beat a hasty retreat to Northern California.
After releasing the cuddly critters into the fertile forests they now call home, our caretaker would return over the years to reunite with them. Like the famous scene from the film "16 Candles", our stealthy steward would blast Kenny Loggins' "Heartlight" through the speakers of a boom box into the night air of their Redwood refuge to draw them in. Ironically, these would not be the only beloved, forest-dwelling creatures forever tied to Kenny Loggins.
Given the assertion of the surly Dr. Daniels that "there doesn't appear to be a breeding population", there are only a couple of plausible explanations for the existence of such creatures and since they likely weren't found in a puddle of radioactive ooze and raised by a giant Rat, proficient in the art Ninjitsu, I suppose this is as good an explanation as any.......assuming they actually exist.
I have reached out to Steve Neill, who is currently serving as acting director for SaveTheMurrel.org to see if I can get a one on one interview with the enigmatic informant, more to come in my next follow-up piece.
The full account of the whistleblower's story can be read and/or watched at this link: http://savethemurrel.org/category/blog/