The park opened in and still operates today.
Courtesy of Tim Hollis. Greeks were particularly ardent fans, with intuition about dolphin intelligence that far outstripped their actual ability to study the creatures, restricted as they were to glimpses of dolphins from boats and the shore, more than two millennia before the first ocean-diving frogmen. In B. Did Aristotle, too, envision a dolphin that could pop out of the water to speak to us like something from a dream? Smiling out from ancient depictions of love-goddess Aphrodite, the wise-eyed Greek dolphins hint at an otherworldly consciousness humans long to connect to.
After European scientists discovered in the 19th century that marine life could survive in a glass aquarium, it touched off an unstoppable Victorian fad, a. Polite Victorians in black mobbed the zoo to get a look at the crabs, mollusks, fish, and underwater plants that had previously hidden beneath the surface of the sea, and then bought miniature versions for their tables at home.
Sports fishermen flank the marine mammal they caught in this vintage postcard for St. Petersburg, Florida, in the s. Thanks to the particular mythology around dolphins, Victorians cottoned to dolphins as a decorative element, producing lamps, inkwells, candlesticks, cups, plates, and vases in glass, iron, bronze, and silver with dolphin designs. Dolphins held up the corners of building friezes, curled their tails at the end of letter openers, and glittered in brooches and stickpins. Even today, stylized dolphins are prominent on Victorian-era houses, particularly in coastal areas like San Francisco.
In the latter half of the 19th century, tanks and the live animals displayed within got more and more elaborate as aquarium enthusiasts figured out, by depressingly deadly trial-and-error, what could be kept in which conditions.
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Early experiments in the capture and display of marine mammals went no better: A pair of beluga whales displayed at P. But dolphins were easy to catch, so we kept on catching them.
Children looking at a bottlenose dolphin at Marine Studios in St. Augustine, Florida, in Courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection. Augustine, Florida. The place was originally envisioned as an underwater movie set, with camera-ready plants and animals living in one of two half-million-gallon steel tanks equipped with hundreds of portholes situated to give the best camera angles. Somebody got the notion to sell tickets to looky-loos to offset costs.
It turned out to be a great idea: 30, tourists showed up on the first day, and kept on coming to see the helmeted diver sink to the bottom of the tank to feed the barracuda and tarpon, the bright captured coral reef with darting fish as unfamiliar to these pre- SCUBA Sunday drivers as the landscape of the moon. Strange tropical plants and mysterious creatures were as important to the early Florida tourism industry as beaches and orange groves.
A dolphin performs at Floridaland, a short-lived Sarasota theme park open between and Historical accounts differ on who was really responsible for the dolphin-training craze. Some credit a Grassy Key, Florida, entrepreneur named Milton Santini with the discovery that dolphins would perform actual dog-like tricks on command. The story goes that Santini captured and displayed dolphins in his mini oceanside zoo in the early s. After a terrible car accident, Santini used therapy balls as a part of his recovery.
One day, when he dropped a ball in the water, an impish dolphin brought it back to him. That game of fetch was soon expanded into a whole array of coaxed stunts. Flippy is proving that porpoises have a brain development so advanced that it may compare with that of the dog and chimpanzee.
The park changed owners and operated as Aquafair between and Dolphins soon appeared in a dizzying array of souvenir merchandise: keychains, felt pennants, banks, salt-and-pepper shakers, snowglobes; all were emblazoned with images of dolphins rising majestically from the water or accepting a proffered fish. The Floridaland theme park, which opened on Christmas Day and closed on July 2, , sold souvenirs like this View-Master set featuring performing dolphins and porpoises. In fact, evidence was piling up that the experiences of captive marine mammals were pretty grim.
The Irish journalist Ed Moloney, one of the researchers behind the Boston project, advances another theory for the disappearance of informers like Wright and McKee. As with other disappearances, false reports were put about. Wright and McKee had been seen here or there, the stories went, alive and well. McConville was dragged from her Belfast home in December , a few months after the death of her husband, as her children looked on. It was this case that led to Gerry Adams's recent arrest. The police did not open an investigation into McConville's disappearance for 23 years.
In , after an inquiry into this failure, the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland concluded that there was no evidence that she had been an informer. Brendan Hughes also spoke about this case, telling the Boston researchers that he had recovered a radio transmitter from McConville's home, questioned her and warned her.
I took a device out of her house … and warned her. McConville was taken away and shot a few weeks later, Hughes claimed, after she was found to have a replacement transmitter.
A Grim Disguise
Hughes also said that the order for McConville to be shot was given by Gerry Adams, an allegation that Adams denies. While the bodies of most informers were dumped in public places as a warning to others, Hughes said the IRA decided McConville must vanish. If Hughes's account about the radio was truthful — and McConville's children believe it to be preposterous — many in Northern Ireland would argue that there are serious questions to be asked of the British army, which would have known that the first radio had been confiscated by the IRA and that McConville was in serious danger if she continued to carry out work for them.
Her body was found by chance in , near a beach on the Cooley Peninsula, across the border in Co Louth, after a heavy storm washed away part of an embankment. One of two disappearances the following August. A year-old man with learning disabilities, Wilson spent four days living with an army unit at their base near his home in west Belfast, and was never seen again. His name was added to the list of the disappeared after a tip-off to the ICLVR in , and his body found at a beach north of the city the following year.
Disappeared, and then "undisappeared" two weeks later. An unemployed father of seven from Derry, he was shot as a suspected informer and buried across the border in Donegal. After members of the clergy protested at his disappearance, a local priest received a telephone call to say that Duffy's body could be found in a coffin that had been left inside a car that was abandoned on the border. The dead man's clothes were found to be caked with mud and lime.
The disappearance of Molloy in July was so successful that few people noticed that it had happened until the IRA admitted it 24 years later. A quartermaster for the organisation in Belfast, Molloy is said to have confessed to having been an informer for the British for three years, disclosing the location of arms dumps and possibly providing information in that led to the arrest of 16 leading members, including Adams and Hughes. Molloy was named by the IRA on the list of the disappeared that it released in March , and a few weeks later his remains were disinterred and placed in a coffin that was left in a graveyard just south of the border.
There is reason to believe that the body was delivered up in this way because it had actually been buried in the front garden of a house, rather than a remote rural location. Aged 17 when he vanished in November His parents had bought him clothes for Christmas; they kept them for the next 22 years, unable to believe he was dead. The IRA admitted in that they had shot him as an informer.
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His sister, Dympna Kerr, said last year that she could not go to the scene. A year-old old captain in the Grenadier Guards, Nairac disappeared in May after being abducted by the IRA from a pub in South Armagh, where he is said to have been attempting to pass himself off as a republican from Belfast.
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He was taken across the border into the Republic and shot dead. A number of men have been prosecuted and imprisoned on both sides of the border for their roles in the kidnap and murder, but Nairac's body has never been found. Megraw, 22, was abducted after masked men arrived at his home in west Belfast in April , reportedly sedated his wife with a forced injection, and waited for him to return home. His name was on a list of the disappeared published in by the IRA, who said he had admitted to having been a British "agent provocateur" - which his family deny.
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His remains have never been found. In May , a time when IRA members in west Belfast were guarding their weapons even more zealously than usual, McClory, 17, and Brian McKinney, a year-old with learning disabilities, were abducted and beaten because they had used one of the group's handguns in a robbery at a bar near their home in west Belfast. The pair were released after two days, and returned the money they had taken.
A week later they vanished again. McKinney's mother, Margaret, knew immediately that he had been killed. I couldn't look after my other children, I was walking the streets, crying. People would stop and stare at me.