Tell us about yourself
“From 1979 to 1982 I worked as an animal handler (or wrangler, as we were called) for a pharmaceutical testing facility in the Los Angeles area. Occasionally we were contracted for various government projects.
In the early spring of 1982, I was assigned to Project Omaha, a top secret program for the Pentagon. My superiors kept me in the dark about the details, I was only told that I would be in charge of handling 2 animals that were being tested for military applications and not to ask too many questions.”
What is your 1st recollection of the creatures?
“Well, by the time the animals arrived at our facilities, they were already close to a foot long, one was male, the other was female. At first they just appeared to be two very large squirrels but as the days passed, they exhibited some odd and and surprising behaviors, like walking upright in their kennels regardless, they seemed to like me and I couldn’t help but grow fond of them.”
What happened next?
“Randomly, I was ordered to prepare them for transport, which often entailed giving them sedatives, I was not told where they were going or what was being done to them, they were picked up by the same 2 soldiers and returned days, sometimes weeks later.
When they would return, they were noticeably bigger but appeared to be sick, often with respiratory problems, lesions or skin irritations accompanied by erratic and sometimes aggressive behavior.”
Did you voice your concerns to your bosses?
“They were clearly special creatures and I became emotionally attached to them, I named them Jack and Hanna, after the famous Zoologist, Jack Hanna. It became harder and harder to know that I was complicit in their mistreatment and when I finally approached my superiors about it, I was told to do my job and keep my mouth shut or they would quote “ruin me for life”
What happened in the aftermath of voicing your opinions to your bosses?
“Once it became clear that my superiors weren’t interested in my concerns, I resigned myself to just doing my job and caring for Jack and Hanna as best I could but, it broke my heart to see them returned in increasingly worse shape. I contemplated quitting many times but my love for the two of them kept growing, they seemed to look at me as a surrogate parent. As the weeks and months passed they were leery of everyone but me, they even liked my music and they would go crazy over my Junior Mints, funny I know but true”
What music were you listening to?
“Kind of embarrassing to say but I was listening to a lot of Kenny Loggins at the time, I was s big fan of the album “Keep the Fire” until “High Adventure” came out later that year, they dug it…..so did I”
What happened next?
“One afternoon, while one of the lab assistants was cleaning out their kennels, he got too close to Hanna when Jack attacked him, (he was over 2 feet long by that time) he hurt him pretty badly and sent him to the hospital with deep lacerations to the face and chest and almost bit the man’s nose completely off”
What did your superiors do?
“I was held responsible for the incident since I was in charge of their care, they threatened to fire me over it but instead issued a formal reprimand. I had been hiding the fact that Hanna was pregnant for weeks and couldn’t tell them that was why Jack acted so aggressively. A week later Jack attacked another lab worker who managed to get away before being hurt too badly. The next day, the order to euthanize them was handed to me. I was given 48 hours to put them down”
How did you feel about that and what did you do?
“I didn’t sleep at that night, I knew I couldn’t kill them and that whatever I did next would alter the course of my life forever so, I came up with a plan and went to work the next day knowing my life would never be the same. That day, I tried to act as normal as possible knowing I was about to violate my contract and break several laws in the process but I was resigned to sneaking them out of the facility and disappearing into shadow.”
So how did you get the creatures out of the facility?
“Well, since I was personally in charge of administering the euthanasia drugs, I took Jack and Hannah to the “kill room” and gave them both a heavy sedative instead….. in lieu of disposing their bodies in the designated medical waste receptacle, I put them in my car and left early that day claiming an illness”
What did you do next?
“I filed a police report claiming my car had been stolen and the next day, wrote a suicide note citing the emotional stress of my job as the reason for my death. I set my company vehicle on fire and pushed it over a cliff took a coffee can full of cash I saved, all my camping supplies and drove north with Jack and Hannah”
Where did you go?
“I drove to Northern California where I released Hannah into the Arcata Community Forest and then to the Six River National Forest where I released Jack. I lived in the forest for the next 8 months, checking on them both regularly before feeling confident they would make it on their own then I left California to begin my new life”
Was that the last time you saw them?
“No, I would check in them twice a year or so for the next 4 years”
How did you find them?
“This is going to sound crazy but I would blast Kenny Loggins on a boom box in the woods late at night, it worked every time, they were both always so happy to see me. They both grew so much, it could be frightening encountering them in the dark”
Why did you decide to come forward all these years later?
“I knew it was only a matter of time before the news of their existence came out and seeing everyone calling Dr. Daniels a fraud or a crazy man, I knew I had to break my silence. I know there will be many who don’t believe me and that’s fine, I understand but I would not risk coming forward unless I felt I had to. These creatures exist and need to be protected”
What Happened to Hannah’s baby?
“Sad to say but I have not seen Hannah since the early 90’s, I assumed she died and when I saw that Dr. Daniels had found the skull of a “Murrel” (I’m not fond of that name btw.) my heart sank because I knew it was her. It’s her baby that people in Arcata have been seeing, I call her Bella because of a bell shaped mark on her right ear”
What is next for you?
“I have to keep moving, especially after this comes out but I will be keeping up with the campaign to protect Jack and Bella, I fully support what you all are doing and am grateful for your efforts. I’m sorry so many have dismissed your organization as fake or insane but I want to say thank you for enduring”
We want to thank you for risking it all to tell your story, we appreciate your courage and best of luck.