Night at the Museum: The Blue Monster

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Shadowed Monster at Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

Spooky and dangerous things lurk in the shadows of a darkened museum at night.  Since childhood we’ve known, despite what silly adults tried to tell us, that monsters hide in the corner of lightless rooms, wedge themselves behind drapes, and lie motionless under beds until our eyes become heavy and close in a moment of weakness.  We knew what scratched against the window in a passing storm.  We knew what moved curtains in a still,  breezeless night.  We knew what made those creaking sounds in the hallway.  We knew what lay beneath.

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With some trepidation we accepted the invitation of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster to give a near Halloween, nighttime presentation on sea turtle strandings and the new NMLC marine animal hospital in Buzzards Bay.  Shortly after setting up our equipment came the fateful words that must have channeled Vincent Price from too many horror classics in the last century.  “Would you like to spend some time in the museum while you’re waiting for the audience to arrive?  The lights are out, but you can still find your way around,” tempted the museum’s office manager and institutional memory, Julie O’Neil.

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Moon Jellies Shine in Reflective Glow of Emergency Lights

As we creaked down the stairs to the darkened basement museum, edging against the wall so that no gobblin could sneak behind us, we rounded a blind corner to spy a column of moon jellies swirling like shimmering ghosts in the reflective glow of corridor overheads.  Beautiful, graceful and definitely “mood setting” for a Night in the Museum.

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Night at the Museum: The Blue Monster

What they neglected to tell us, what no one had mentioned, was the legendary Blue Monster that haunts the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.  Part Hydra, part Medusa, part Gorgon, this terrifying spectre with bulbous eyes, prickly horns and snake-like appendages has taken hold of one of the museum tanks, patiently waiting for some unsuspecting visitor to stumble in the dark.  Beware, Ye Who Tread Where No Mortal Should Venture!

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Crabby Prisoner Held in the Blue Monster’s Lair

Still blissfully ignorant of the Blue Monster, but nervously wary of the creatures of the dark, we pressed onward through the shadows.  We found scratching against a glass cage to our right a really crabby prisoner who had been trapped by the museum’s Blue Monster.  You could almost make out his muffled screams for help mouthed through the watery cell.

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Midnight Mugging

We shined the beam of our pocket flashlight on another glass cell and uncovered what appeared to be a midnight mugging as one painted turtle held down another in the darkened caverns of the museum.

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Nervous Young Striped Bass

In a nearby tank a juvenile striped bass floated silently in the dark, listening to scratching, scratching, scratching, rapping coming from around the hallway bend.  We looked at each other.  Could this be the terrible Lord of the Lair who cast such an aura of fear among his minions?

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Blue Monsters Emerges from the Shadows

Yes, we could see outlines of the Blue Monster as he emerged from a dark corner.  The camera’s infrared detector caught movement and snapped a somewhat shadowy mugshot of the culprit.

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No turning back!  The monster stood between us and the stairway to freedom and back to the museum auditorium.  THE SHOW MUST GO ON … monster or no monster.  So, we trained our camera flash on the creature and clicked a series of images, blinding him momentarily and allowing us to escape into the light above.

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Don Lewis Discusses the Marine Animal Rescue Cycle

After our nerves settled, the presentation proved a success thanks to the gracious hosting and wonderful facilities of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.

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Bob Dwyer, Julie O’Neil and Don Lewis

Our very special thanks go out to Bob Dwyer, Executive Director, and Julie O’Neil, Office Manager and recently designated Hero of the Environment.  I’m personally hopeful that the blue sign over Bob’s right shoulder and the red sign over my left shoulder in this picture snapped by Sue Wieber Nourse don’t portend a secret message subliminally transmitted by the Blue Monster below.

For a truly exceptional experience, day or night (!!!!), we recommend you visit the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster.

Postscript:  For those who may be interested, the shadowy “monster” in the first image above is a juvenile snapping turtle in its darkened tank.  We’ll leave the identification of the Blue Gorgon to your own imagination.

2 Responses to “Night at the Museum: The Blue Monster”

  1. […] the original post: Night at the Museum: The Blue Monster « Turtle Journal Share and […]

  2. DenzelWpar says:

    Hello there, Happy halloween!!!