Not Like That


Viral, viral, viral.

I've been thinking a lot about that word these last few days. Not in the sense of desperate ad men, chasing after the most recent buzz word theyve glommed onto. Side-bar: you can't arbitrarily shoot for your campaign or video 'going viral' dummy, that's the point of the concept. It happens unintentionally and without reason. Rant over. No, the viral I've been thinking about is the bad kind. The kind that makes you question every sore throat and itchy eye.

Like the Plum Island kind of viral.
I found a book. I think maybe I gave it to my father in law for a birthday. How quaint, right? A paper book! It was an exposé on the secrets and history of Lab 257 on Plum Island, out past Long Island. It has a strong whiff of conspiratorial cloak and dagger to it, but it was still a fun, gripping jaunt down the rabbit hole into a world of viruses and germ warfare I assumed only existed in Resident Evil games. If you ever read my post on the paranormal-focused podcast Mysterious Universe, you would know I have a strong inclination for the unknown and whispered about. The things that go bump in the night. Plum Island is the kind of place born of the mind of a fevered fiction writer, not the stern, sober minds of the United States Armed Forces. It's long been rumored to be home to horrifying experiments and animal testing. While the white-coats there aren't creating something for the Umbrella Corporation, they still do work with some of the deadliest pathogens known to man.

So here we are. That's a real place.

Lab 257, written and researched by Michael Christopher Carroll, is an expose that dates back to just after WWII. It's common knowledge we brought over Nazi scientists to build the rockets for our burgeoning space program. It's less commonly known that we brought over the best and most creative virologists to develop the latest thing: germs. 
This tiny little island, off the coast of New England, is home to labs that not only house some of the most deadly viri and bacteria in the world, but some of the most appallingly lax security. It used to be strong, mind you. Carroll's exhaustive history tells of elaborate and maddening levels of decontaminization coupled with strict protocol. All of this seemed to go out the window when the US Army pulled out of the facilities and handed control over to the USDA. Yes, that USDA. Whereas the Army would snipe the deer that would occasionally swim to the island (and possibly carry infected bugs off with them, because why not?) the USDA would just not deal with it. The manner in which Carroll lays out the facts and history here, you begin to see how not only Lyme's disease, but also the West Nile virus spread from the supposedly safe facilities. Also, the numerous security lapses and de-con failures are staggering. Straight up raw sewage, laden with still hot germs, was being dumped for years into what used to be fertile coast line.
Crazy stuff.

You've got to read this book. It is a page turner in the absolute best way. It's the kind of book where you come in to it with an incredulous attitude, only to find yourself flipping furiously through the pages and thinking 'No way would the government let this happen'. Yet it totally did. Read up! It's fascinating.