Gene X Lifeform
...scientific, medical and technological advances and discoveries have always been years, if not decades, ahead of the public’s knowledge.
HOWARD HUGHES’ UNDERGROUND GENETIC RESEARCH?
So, it seems quite possible that having the knowledge, ability and funding; maybe Hughes’ researchers took him literally back then and created “the genesis of life itself” for real, or at least in some form, and then needed to bury it. In that case, an underground ...
I was very fortunate to have grown up in the town of Westchester, the “Home of LAX: Los Angeles International Airport”; four wonderful marine-layered miles from the beach.
My neighborhood bordered approximately fifty acres of open triangular-shaped land owned by Howard Hughes. The other two sides bordering the property were Sepulveda Boulevard on the west and the railroad tracks and Centinela Boulevard (and after the mid-sixties, the 405) on the north.
The Airport Boulevard dead-end “entrance” to the Hughes “bean fields” was at the bottom of the hill of the street I lived on and although technically we were trespassing every time we entered the fields, it was never enforced. So, for all my youth and early teens it was literally a mini-Disneyland to explore. Huge hills sculpted with caverns, canyons and slopes ran down from Sepulveda Boulevard high above and extended out from the descending backyard fences of the neighboring houses on the south side. This served as a corner mountain backdrop to the flatland bean fields below. There was a creek that ran the length of the property, wide enough to navigate a hand-made wood raft constructed by a local for locals. We’d glide along the creek on the raft and scoop up jars of tadpoles; bring ‘em home, watch ‘em turn into frogs and then let ‘em loose back in the creek.
The presence of the trains as they rumbled along the tracks with their haunting diesel horns added character to the theme park atmosphere, especially at night. For some nighttime fun, we would hang out at the end of a cul-de-sac at the top of the hill just up the street from my house and watch first-run movies showing at the local Centinela Drive-In! The action on the screen was highly visible from our elevated position and although the sound was slightly delayed and echoed from the masses of car-speakers; we still saw countless movies for free!
For daytime bean field fun, impromptu ramps were built at the bottom of the surrounding steep hillsides as ending jumps for bike runs during the classic Schwinn Stingray bike era, from which the BMX sport has acknowledged as its’ birthright. We were gettin’ air back then, but hadn’t perfected a way out of the inevitable crash-landings. This brings up a much needed clarification about radical extreme sports. Pads? Helmets? Safety gear? C’mon! Try skateboarding barefoot, totally nude except for trunks. Then skate on a board with clay wheels, the upgrade from steel. Clay wheels’ lack of traction caused many spin-outs yet would actually stop on a dime, or a small rock, no matter how fast you were going! So, …as you hurtled through the air you knew that after your flesh hit the pavement and the sanding and grinding stopped, you’d pull the bloody and scraped version that was once your body up off the ground and get back on your board and take off. I have permanent scars from a nasty face/body-plant/grind back in ‘64. That’s extreme sports!
Besides pre-BMX, Tom Sawyer raftin’, and pre-Dogtown/Jackass skateboard stunts, there was unicycling! A band of about six of us tooled around on them for a few months. The same guy that I first saw ride by on a Sting Ray; rode by one day on a unicycle. That was totally bitchen! I thought you had to join the circus to ride those, but he was just a guy like me. The next day I got one at Wheel World in neighboring Culver City for $19.95, a “trainer” that I would eventually almost destroy along with myself in the attempt to become Master of the One Wheel. The guys would joke and have a great time at my expense as they’d watch me push off from walls and parked cars and take header after header. Until once I pushed off and peddled away and left them all in awe. At least four of them bought unicycles the next day. I eventually became Master of the One Wheel and in commemoration, upgraded to a chrome Schwinn unicycle; which I still have to this day!
While these were some of the above-ground fun things to do, there was another “world” to our Bean Field Theme Park: Underground World. Yes, Underground World! Near the center of the Hughes property was a small access tunnel with a perpetually unlocked grill-hatch cover. This short tunnel led to easy underground access to a large main tunnel that literally hooked-up to miles of drainage tunnels and culverts throughout Westchester and Inglewood and beyond.
We spent a lot of time underground in those days, so much so that we called our tight group of underground explorers the “Sewer Rats”. Even though these water drainage culverts weren’t really sewers, this was the era of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Rat Fink-mania, and so our name was perfect for the times!
One fave underground route provided access inside the local Frito-Lay factory grounds where we would “liberate” bags of Fritos off of pallets for nourishment on the underground trip back. Another underground fave destination was a two and a half mile route linked-up throughout Inglewood that allowed secret access into the Inglewood Cemetery ...but that’s a different experience archived for another time.
Usually we ventured underground acknowledging the buddy system, but once feeling adventurous I went into Underground World alone. I had been through there so many times, what would be the harm of a little independent exploring?
There were many smaller culvert/tunnels that split-off that we rarely explored since the main one led to all the known fun, so I chose one and headed in. The main tunnel provided plenty of headroom; in the off-shoots, not as much. I realized from the downward slant that I was going deeper underground with each step. My flashlight revealed a leveling ahead and a dead end wall, but not a wall, a metal door with a handle, but smaller than a normal door, like in a submarine. I turned the handle, that was easy, but it wouldn’t open. I leveraged my feet on the sides of the walls and used all my weight to pull on the handle until it finally gave and I fell back on the ground. I got up and shined the light inside. A cursory inspection revealed what looked like a small storage room. I stepped inside and panned the flashlight around; cardboard boxes of various sizes were stacked randomly against the walls, on and under a small table and next to a small chair. I figured that I was probably under the hillside by now or maybe even under one of the houses that bordered the fields. It looked as though no one had been in this room recently as everything had a thin layer of dust on it. This was a stoke! As I fanned the light around this cool underground storage room, all I could think of was telling the guys ...about our new hang-out!
Curiosity and excitement turned to a bit of a letdown as the cardboard boxes seemed to be filled with binders full of scientific-looking papers, nothing fun. Opposite the door I came through there was another door. I considered to try and open it then decided not to push my luck any further before the flashlight battery would die on me. I could explore further once I returned with the guys. As I turned to leave, the light passed over a reflection that caught my eye. Something from in a box near the corner of the room reflected light. I had to check it out before I left. I moved a couple of boxes out of my way and picked up the small box; inside there was some sort of glass container with a metallic lid. Before I could stand up, the flashlight started dimming, right on cue! Then I heard a faint but distinct noise of movement behind me, I whipped the flashlight around, and dim as it was, it caught the silhouette of something that disappeared behind a stack of boxes, ...something not on all fours, upright on two legs, and although small, big enough that I freaked!
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! The adrenaline kicked in and I could feel my skin literally crawl; the flesh moved all over my skull! If you’ve never been in a truly frightening experience, a good one that gets the adrenaline flowing enough to get that “flesh-crawling” sensation; then either you’re blessed, ...or you’re missing out. That was my virgin adrenaline experience, but certainly not the last. My mind was moving faster than my body, I felt strangely uncoordinated and all the way out of there as I clutched the box I stumbled and fell while still in a forward motion! Fortunately the flashlight provided the minimum amount of light for escape.
Once above ground I stopped and rested, my heart was pounding out of my chest! What had I seen? What was that thing? What’s in this box? Then it dawned on me as I looked down inside the cardboard box that I had been clutching onto with my life; what was in this box?! I dropped the box as if it were full of rattlesnakes and jumped back! Then slowly approached it with a stick and moved the box lid open to get a better view - from a distance. The glass container inside didn’t break from the sudden drop. It was dusty and didn’t look as though it had been handled in some time, so I bravely picked up the cardboard box and brushed away a small area of the dust on the glass with my fingers to get a look at what was inside.
At first I couldn’t make out what it was I was looking at. As I began to brush away more dust I got a very eerie feeling that escalated with the removal of more areas of dust until finally I felt a wave of thrilling repulsion as I realized what I held in my hands.
There inside the glass container was the remains of a small human-like being! At that second I really freaked because I realized that it was one of these that I glimpsed moving in the storeroom! This was too freaky! I was so excited I couldn’t wait to show the guys what I had found!
But as I made the short walk home, the more I thought about it, the more I figured I’d better check-out this glass container completely before I told anyone, anything.
That was over four decades ago and what I recovered that day has only been seen by a very small select group of people ever since.
I knew that this was something extremely special, so special that I never did share it with “the guys”, as a matter of fact I knew that if anyone found out about it, I ran the risk of it eventually being taken from me. I grew up a lot that day. And although throughout the years “it” could become frightening if allowed, it always had the stronger power to instill feelings of wonderment.
I later went back underground with a couple friends and noticed that the culvert/tunnel entrance off the main tunnel that led to the storage room had been curiously welded shut.
To quote classic lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”, “...they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”; my childhood mini-Disneyland and paradise is now elaborate paved 405 on/off ramps and concrete multi-tiered parking structures for the Howard Hughes Promenade. This entertainment-retail-dining complex features “the bridge”, the movie theatre prototype which includes IMAX and a Director’s Screening Hall. Future “bridge” entertainment complexes are planned to be built on someone’s paradise in a city near you.
Over the years I gathered information and this is my final theory as to what this is, and why it is.
In 1953 Howard Hughes created the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His vision for his scientific philanthropy was neither modest nor ordinary: he wanted his medical institute to be committed to basic research; to probe “the genesis of life itself.”
By 1959 they had established laboratories of microbiology and had forty-seven investigators conducting research at eight different academic medical centers -- and -- were the rumored-to-be front-runners of genetic experiments in their day.
The HHMI presently promote that genetics are one of their top four research efforts.
This event in my life took place in 1963, ten years after HHMI’s inception; that put them well into a probable time-frame for advanced genetic experiments to take place. For as any informed individual knows by now and as history has shown; scientific, medical and technological advances and discoveries have always been years, if not decades, ahead of the public’s knowledge.
So, it seems quite possible that having the knowledge, ability and funding; maybe Hughes’ researchers took him literally back then and created “the genesis of life itself” for real, or at least in some form, and then needed to bury it, literally. In that case, an underground storage room on Hughes’ private property, whether possibly linked-up to a nearby house or basement connection, or standing alone, would have been the ideal place to stash things to be retrieved if so needed, or that were planned to never be found. Obviously they never counted on “Pre-teen Mischievous Neighborhood Sewer Rats: Explorers of the Underground World”.
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