Chapter 8:     Hard Science

An intense amount of scientific research was focused upon little 
Adam at first, he was THE great curiosity of the moment.  

It was calculated --as we had guessed-- that he had been about 
two years old when we found him, ascertained by comparing his 
dental and linguistic development to human babies and assuming 
some similarity.  

After we had had him for one year it was evident that he did 
indeed develop much as humans do, more slowly than gorillas or 
chimpanzees, for example.  There were lots of enthusiastic 
experts around to do the guessing, anyway.

The Great Pacific Northwest Indigenous Primate Research Center 
became the centralizing agency for all the scientists, doctors, 
anthropologists, linguists, psychologists, zoologists, 
crypto-zoologists-- you name it, everyone wanted to study Adam, 
and his mother's body.  

At first the IPR Center was a rather cozy gathering of academics
who were extremely enthusiastic about revealing "the mysteries of 
the sasquatch", a completely new field of study with unlimited 
horizons.  Most of them were nice people, socially relaxed, 
idealistic.  Everybody got along and Adam was the beloved 
"wunderkind".  The IPR was our little club.

As said, most of them were nice guys, but some were not. Luckily,
as Adam's guardian I was in a position to protect Adam from 
serious harm, because there were also a few who would gladly have
dissected him in their dedication to hard science.

His mother's cadaver had also been probed and sampled, opened and
reassembled.  When they were through sampling her they froze the
body in liquid nitrogen.  She was in a freezer on the UW campus.
They wouldn't embalm her and put her on display until they were 
all through using her.

So just what had all those experts come up with in their poking 
and prodding of our lucky little sasquatch waif and his poor 
dead mother?  

The sasquatch blood, both mother's and son's, contained special 
antibodies which protected them from any bacteria or virus, 
absurdly healthy blood: they couldn't catch any human disease! 
It was therefore impossible to determine the mother's age, she 
could have been 18 or 80, her body evidenced no aging or 
dissipation.  Not even her teeth provided a clue as to her age, 
it seemed that she was growing new teeth all along.  The healing 
processes within both her and Adam were also quite accelerated 
in comparison to humans, at least 4 times faster. 

Therefore was there no way to project a natural life-span for 
Adam, although it was probable that he could live a human lifespan 
in perfect health.  Unofficially, one doctor dared to whisper that 
theoretically such an efficient organism could live...forever. 

Their metabolisms were in fact so efficient that excessive 
carbohydrates were toxic.  Adam did react badly to overdoses of 
sugar, one candy bar was all right, but three gave him headaches,
nausea, personality change for the worse: a toxic reaction.  

At home, we observed that he started getting fat on human food, so
we had to establish a diet of raw vegetables, fish and lean meats, 
no dairy, no sugar.  When he got older it was very hard to control 
his diet, he was desperate for junk food.  He was a sugar addict 
(literally) and it was bad for him; besides making him fat he 
became hyperactive, then had headaches and got very cranky when he
suffered sugar withdrawal.

"Oh God," Elaine would say, with hand over her eyes in a mock-
dramatic-tragic pose, "and it was me who gave him his first Oreo 
cookie, I may never forgive myself."

Adam got a toothache once, having developed a cavity from all the candy he'd been eating. It was the only time we ever saw him in pain, since he usually ignored cuts or bruises, which healed in a couple of hours anyway. He didn't cry, but we could see it in his eyes. So we took him to a dentist. Actually, two dentists, the first fellow took one look at Adam and backed away saying, "I'm not sticking my fingers into an ape's mouth, I don't care how tame he is!" Fortunately, Dr Benson here in Monroe was eager to study the dental set of a sasquatch. So there they were, Adam head bent back, mouth gaping wide; Dr Benson peering in, saying, "...amazing! aha! my goodness..." He put a filling in the cavity, a simple job. Then he told us, "I've studied comparative dental patterns for most primates, so I was especially interested to see how sasquatch teeth fit into the scheme of things. What Adam has resembles human teeth and jaw, a little more robust than ours, but certainly not simian. However, one major difference is that there are new teeth forming under the present ones, I think they keep regenerating." A month later the filled tooth fell out, three weeks later a new one had grown into place.
The effect of Alcohol was an unknown we were reluctant to experiment with. We all knew how Indians and Esquimos reacted culturally to White Man's Firewater, ostensibly because their DNA did not include the tolerance to alcohol bred into generations of Europeans. I didn't want to offer him the sip of wine that might genetically trigger automatic alcoholism. But a doctor made tests with minute injections of alcohol and found that it burned away very rapidly: it would be hard for a sasquatch to get drunk at all, but it would probably pass out from heat exhaustion. DNA analysis showed that he was not exactly human, but definitely not an ape either, something else entirely, a "new" species. His intelligence seemed comparable to a human child's so far, but they warned us that it could top out, as a chimpanzee's does at about an 8-year old human level. However, Adam's brain capacity was larger than a human's and his neurological reactions and senses were rather superior, he could just as well end up a genius. No one knew. Doug Wielson, being one of Adam's staunchest fans and supporters, was so enthusiastic about Adam's abilities that an interview with him was a central part of a Discovery Channel TV Documentary, The All-American Bigfoot Boy. "When I came to study Adam, I assumed, like everyone else, that a sasquatch was some kind of half-man half-ape--a subhuman. But he's not. He's superhuman. Physically and mentally. Linguistically he's a genius--then again, mathematically he's a dope--so one could say his intelligence is of a human AVERAGE, although specializing in certain talents. "His organizational skills are also excellent. But all of this opens a question: assuming that other sasquatches are anything like Adam, why do they live like they do, hand-to- mouth, hiding from us? Why aren't they the masters of the world? "Well maybe because they don't need to be. Or don't want to be. "So are they all ascetic samanas, in balance with Nature? Maybe so, but Adam certainly likes civilization. You'd think that other sasquatches would be tempted to join us too. Kind of a mystery there."
With the discovery of those sasquatch antibodies and healing potentials, an entirely new direction in longevity and regeneration research was opened up. That's when the IPR went from a fringe specialty investigatory group to top priority front-line research. The pharmaceutical concerns came in with their Big Money and then the science got very hard indeed. The decisions were suddenly being made by people in suits with economic agendas and the coziness of the IPR evaporated. Even the original scientists were seduced by bigger grants, more prestige, more money. I too was offered the big money, but would be selling Adam out if I ever accepted it. There were demands for more security, the investors didn't want "their only specimen" running loose, perhaps even running away, or becoming damaged. They wanted him contained, caged, wired, traced, online. IPR became the classic heartless organization with sinister plans for their own aggrandizement. The rumor that sasquatch blood could be the key to human longevity and health--especially for the rich, of course--changed everything. There was not only money at stake here, there was political power and lust for personal immortality. Fortunately, Adam's blood type was incompatible with any known human type or I think they would have drained him dry. As it was he was constantly tapped for blood tests. The IPR bosses wanted to own Adam, wanted to control him and wanted to be able to do whatever they wanted to him. The only thing stopping them was us...and the law. Any attempt by the IPR to treat Adam as their property or their slave was met by legal action, backed up by a network of friends and fans and volunteer grass-roots lawyers. It was also bad PR for them, it made gory headlines. So they were held in check. When my grant expired I did not renew it, I had employment as a high school teacher by then and would no longer be compromised by being on IPR's payroll. But since I did have legal responsibility for Adam, as my adopted son, the IPR offered me a position as Adam's negotiating agent and I accepted that just for his sake. The IPR wasn't all bad either, many of the same old friends continued doing research and there were distinct advantages for Adam in being connected to the organization. Grants for his future education were guaranteed, for example, since a part of the research was to see how far a sasquatch's intelligence actually could reach. Medical expenses--if he should ever need them--were covered, as well as various insurances. Eventually it was ascertained that adapting sasquatch antibodies to human DNA was impractical and that research had to go about synthesizing human antibodies instead, so the pressure was off Adam as their only supply of a rare ingredient. Lucky for him. But still, much of the research was theoretic, based upon the only two sasquatches we had access to, one living one dead, trying to extrapolate data for the entire species.
We had a carefully kept family secret about Adam back then: his kiss would cure the common cold. We didn't want word of that to get out to anyone economically interested in bottling Adam's juices, but it's hardly a secret anymore, so I can mention it here. None of us near him ever caught colds. We hadn't really thought about that until Melly came back from two weeks in California with a bad cold, sneezing, sinus headache, the works. The kids were almost five years old at the time, so Adam kissed her "to make it better" as kids do--and it did, within half an hour! After that we observed that it always did with any of us.
Records were made of Adam's physical performances on a regular basis as part of our "sasquatch research"; speed times, weights lifted. It kept the grant people happy because the figures were always so impressive. Even when he was quite young Adam could bench-press one and a half times his own weight--and without working out to achieve those results, he wasn't a dedicated body-builder, just a normal sasquatch kid. We usually made these measurements and tests in the UW gymnasium, where they had exercising machines and barbells. At age 4 Adam weighed 128 pounds, but could lift 140 pounds and hold it over his head. (Later, at age 15, he was interested in learning his own limits and did work out until he could press a monstrous 725 pounds!) We fed him well, although he actually ate surprisingly little food for the energy he burned and that rate at which he grew. A very efficient metabolism, the biologists said, also finding that he had certain muscle toning hormones to account for his greater-than-weight strength ratio. He loved all vegetables, was ambivalent about big clumps of meat, but would definitely eat it in a hamburger or a taco. Unfortunately, Adam was really into junk food. Whenever he could get it, chips and cokes and candy. When he started getting fat we tried to control his diet, but the kid could be pretty sneaky. One major question concerning the existence of sasquatches in the Pacific Northwest had always been that of Food. The forests of the Cascades and Olympic Ranges are mostly conifers and deciduous trees, ferns and mosses, not many edible foods. The few berries and fruits that grow in the summer months were hardly enough to support a population of gigantic sasquatches. Where could they get enough food to survive? Their diet must be similar to human, since they did not have large pot-bellies or the over- developed jaw muscles of roughage-eaters living on bark and leaves. Nor was there enough game to support a race of carnivores without being noticed. It would seem that sasquatches had to be living on air. Adam's diet was therefore of interest to the scientists. Several of whom had been irritated with me for having kept Adam secret so long, they would preferred to have analyzed the contents of his stomach when he had just arrived from nature. I explained to them that it was exactly therefore I HAD kept him secret: I wouldn't have Adam's introduction to our society being a sealed laboratory and some cold-hearted clinicians with a stomach pump--or worse. Besides, they did have the mother's body to analyze and probe and cut. In her alimentary system they found some bits of apple from the tree under which she had been shot, as well as traces of many different plants we usually consider to be Weeds: dandelion, chickweed, stinging nettles, thistles, burdock, mallow--all found abundant in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, doing research into edible weeds eventually brought us into contact with an entire society of "weed freaks", people of our very own human species who regularly forage the wilderness for alternative foodstuffs of homeopathic and nutritional value, with the added economic advantage that all of it is absolutely free. The bleak and inhospitable nature surrounding us became abruptly transformed into a virtual cornucopia of gourmet delights. If you like eating weeds, that is. Eager scientists attempted to entice Adam with a selection of those weeds to see how he ate them--which he simply wouldn't. He had become too fussy, spoiled rotten by an all-American diet of tasty goodies. Those same scientists wanted to put Adam on several experimental starvation programs, but Elaine and I simply refused to let them carry out most of the tests they had in mind. Instead we ourselves measured what Adam ate and let him have as much as he wanted of it. And although he did eat less than the scientists calculated he would need to grow and be strong, they insisted that he ate far too much to solve the mystery of how thousands of sasquatches in nature could survive on what was available out in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest or the Himalayas, assuming that the Yeti were of the same race. And yet, we knew they were out there, Adam was proof of that. So it was assumed that there must be very few of them and that the primary function of their lives was gathering food. There had been historical sightings involving huge manlike things rooting through garbage cans near houses, but that could hardly represent a staple diet. Other sighting stories involving food mention that they ate water plants from creeks, near footprints had been found discarded husks from spruce buds, even digging up hibernating rodents. One of the most detailed observations, by Albert Ostman in 1924, who claimed to have been kidnapped by a giant male sasquatch in the mountains of British Columbia, said that they had eaten nuts and seeds and berries, but no meats and no grass or leaves. (Ostman finally escaped by offering the sasquatch chewing tobacco, which it tried to eat, causing a retching fit, during which Ostman fled). So, many of the mysteries about sasquatches were being revealed, but many still remained, even though we had two to study. Adam didn't know much more about such things than we did, since he couldn't remember much of his childhood among the sasquatch folk.
He grew so fast: he was 3 feet tall when we found him, weighed 58 pounds, was of relatively delicate build; six months later he was 4 inches taller and 16 pounds heavier. By the time he was four years old he was 4 foot 10 tall and weighed 128 pounds of well thickened muscle, all covered with soft brown hair. And he was probably twice as strong as any other 130 pound boy--or man. He didn't just grow UP, he grew OUT: barrel-chest, broad back, massive neck, bulging arms and legs like weight lifters get after years of training--so when people called him BIG it was not just his height (or feet) they were referring to. Although big, Adam was hardly beyond the extreme range of human sizes. The tallest man in history, according to the Guinness Book of Records, was 8'11" and weighed 492 pounds. Robert Wadlow was a white American who lived from 1918 to 1940, back when medical science was incapable of curing his pituitary malfunction, so that his growth was out of control. He died at only 22 years of age. We didn't believe that Adam would ever become as tall as Wadlow, comparing their growth charts showed that Adam's height was actually a few inches under Wadlow's for each measured year of growth, although Adam was incrementally much heavier. Physiologists who studied Adam's growth and proportions projected a height of about 8 feet at maturity and a weight of around 500 pounds. Adam's mother had been only 7 foot 2 inches tall, weighed 393 pounds, but since Adam was a male they expected him to become somewhat larger. Eight feet tall also corresponded well with several sasquatch sightings recorded over the years.

Chapter 9

Adam out of Eden