Maryland isn’t the kind of state that you would think could harbor any kind of mysterious creatures, and the Washington Post wouldn’t necessarily be a source for such stories. But, in 1976 the Post published an article, now long forgotten, about a crabber by the name of Tom Sobotka and the strange creatures he claimed to have seen near a place called Poole Island.

The mid 1970’s was a strange time in general, Puerto Rico was experiencing it’s first major wave of animal killings by a proto-Chupacabras called the Moca Vampire.  Colorado and the American southwest was in the midst of the biggest wave of cattle mutilation in history and, most mysterious of all, there was Disco.

But back in Maryland Tom Sobotka did his crabbing around Whitemarsh, and more specifically around Poole Island. Whitemarsh was also a place where where between 1973 and 1976, a series of sightings of creatures similar to Bigfoot was investigated by the police. All this culminated in the military showing up, a mysterious dead orangutan, found in the middle of the road, a large body bag carried out by the military out of the wilderness and a subsequent cover up by the police. Like I said, strange times.

With all this in the background, Sobotka had an even more amazing story to tell about Pool Island’s Bird River. This was his favorite spot. At least until he started to see strange things. “There are things out on that island that nobody would believe. Nobody goes out there but me. If I told you everything that I saw, they would lock me up”, he told the Washington Post, and also researchers Mark Chorvinsky and Mark Opsanick who wrote an article for Strange Magazine.

Sobotka’s father new a guard that worked at the nearby government and military installation, the Abeerdeen Proving Ground. The guard told him of strange experiments that were been conducted there, involving animals, humans and mutations. Both father and son told the Post that by mutation they meant mutated fishes that appeared to have body parts belonging to other animals. He hinted at more, but refused to divulge what that might have been.


Date Created: 1936-11-08 Copyright Notice: Other Folder Description: Edgewood Arsenal (3) Folder Extended Description: 334-36 | -3 | Title: EDGEWOOD ARSENAL (SCENES) 334-36 Subject: EDGEWOOD ARSENAL (SCENES)

But, let’s take a short detour to 1962, and a project called Project 112 conducted by the Department of Defense. Project 112 mostly conducted in Alaska and in the south Pacific was about testing chemical and biological weapons such as Sarin, VX and various simulants such as BG among many others. It ended in 1973 about at the same time as MK Ultra, just when the sightings of the strange creatures began at Poole Island.

Date Created: 1943-03-07 Copyright Notice: Baltimore Sun Folder Description: Edgewood, Arsenal Folder Extended Description: 334-36 | Md | ( Scenes ) | Chemical Warfare | Title: EDGEWOOD ARSENAL MD (SCENES) CHEMICAL WARFARE Subject: EDGEWOOD ARSENAL MD (SCENES)

In 1975, a similar program to project 112 ended after nearly 30 years called the Edgewood Arsenal Human experiments, but this one was at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, right there where the guard Sobotka’s father knew alegedly worked.  The Army Chemical Corps, tested Mustard agent, Sarin, VX, psychoactive agents among 250 or so substances on 7000 volunteer soldiers and 1000 civilians.  

Meanwhile, back on Poole Island, the Chemical research Developing and Engineering center was also dumping large amount of toxic chemicals in the swamps. The military claimed that this wasn’t true, but a subsequent investigation by the Inspector General proved otherwise. While it has been suggested that the dumping caused the strange events at Poole Island, in reality that is more movie science than real science. In truth, poisoning from toxic chemicals do not result in monsters, and if it results in any mutations, the results is mostly death. But there are exceptions however, as we have seen in Chernobyl, and it is not beyond reason to speculate that perhaps this is simply what occurred here.

Tom Sobotka is of the opinion that human animal breeding experiments were conducted at Poole Island, but no real evidence has turned up to back that up. Today with splicing and CRISPR technology, that premise is obsolete. Today the idea of introducing animal traits in human beings, and specifically in soldiers is within the realm of science with the only barrier being morality, and morality is a thin permeable barrier.  But in 1970, splicing and CRISPR didn’t exist, and biology, prevents breeding in distinct species. 

In the middle of all this was this dead Orangutan that was found in the middle of the road. It’s provenence was never determined. The creature sightings ended in 1976 when the military went into the swamps. When they came out they were seen carrying a huge body bag, much too big to be human, and the police records for those days are missing.

So, how it all fits together, if it even does, remains a mystery. Still, that’s a lot going on in just one place in a short period of time. 

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