A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Apr 2016
From the cover
File No. 003
Interview with Dr. Rose Franklin, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Enrico Fermi Institute
Location: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
—How big was the hand?
—6.9 meters, about twenty-three feet; though it seemed much larger for an eleven-year-old.
—What did you do after the incident?
—Nothing. We didn't talk about it much after that. I went to school every day like any kid my age. No one in my family had ever been to college, so they insisted I keep going to school. I majored in physics.
I know what you're going to say. I wish I could tell you I went into science because of the hand, but I was always good at it. My parents figured out I had a knack for it early on. I must have been four years old when I got my first science kit for Christmas. One of those electronics kits. You could make a telegraph, or things like that, by squeezing wires into little metal springs. I don't think I would have done anything different had I listened to my father and stayed home that day.
Anyway, I graduated from college and I kept doing the only thing I knew how to do. I went to school. You should have seen my dad when we learned I was accepted at the University of Chicago. I've never seen anyone so proud in my life. He wouldn't have been any happier had he won a million dollars. They hired me at the U of C after I finished my Ph.D.
—When did you find the hand again?
—I didn't. I wasn't looking for it. It took seventeen years, but I guess you could say it found me.
—To the hand? The military took over the site when it was discovered.
—When was that?
—When I fell in. It took about eight hours before the military stepped in. Colonel Hudson—I think that was his name—was put in charge of the project. He was from the area so he knew pretty much everyone. I don't remember ever meeting him, but those who did had only good things to say about the man.
I read what little was left of his notes—most of it was redacted by the military. In the three years he spent in charge, his main focus had always been figuring out what those carvings meant. The hand itself, which is mostly referred to as "the artifact," is mentioned in passing only a few times, evidence that whoever built that room must have had a complex enough religious system. I think he had a fairly precise notion of what he wanted this to be.
—What do you think that was?
—I have no idea. Hudson was career military. He wasn't a physicist. He wasn't an archaeologist. He had never studied anything resembling anthropology, linguistics, anything that would be remotely useful in this situation. Whatever preconceived notion he had, it must have come from popular culture, watching Indiana Jones or something. Fortunately for him, he had competent people surrounding him. Still, it must have been awkward, being in charge and having no idea what's going on most of the time.
What's fascinating is how much effort they put into disproving their own findings. Their first analysis indicated the room was built about three thousand years ago. That made little sense to them, so they tried carbon-dating organic material found on the hand. The tests showed it to be much older, somewhere between five thousand and six thousand years old.
—That was unexpected?
—You could say that. You have to understand that this flies in the face of everything we know about American civilizations. The oldest civilization we're aware of was located in the Norte Chico region of Peru, and the hand...