Woman who had sexual relationship with a dolphin, speaks for the first time
A BBC documentary called “The Girl Who Talked To Dolphins” will shed a light on the bizarre nature of an experiment which was conducted on the American Virgin Islands in 1965.
Led by neurologist Dr C Lilly, the research was intended to prove that dolphins could be taught to speak English.
The research was odd to begin with but took a very unusual turn when Peter the bottlenose dolphin became sexually interested in his teacher Margaret Howe.
Peter and Margaret
23-year-old Margaret from the Virgin Islands was recruited to live with Peter day and night for ten weeks while trying to teach him English, in complete isolation.
Dr Lilly had written a bestseller in 1961 called “Man And Dolphin”, believed that the marine mammals were capable of understanding human language and was unbelievably licensed by the American government to investigate the effects of LSD on Dolphins.
Margaret Howe today
He once injected two dolphins with a dose of the hallucinogenic party drug LSD to no effect before being funded by NASA to experiment into the marine mammal’s ability to speak.
Peter the dolphin and Margaret shared a waterside villa which was flooded with sea-water, 22 inches of it in on the first floor.
Margaret had a desk suspended from the roof and a bed also hanging from the ceiling which had a shower curtain to protect her from the dolphin’s splashes.
They had some success with the language training managing to train Peter to say an approximation of the words "ball", "one", "we", "triangle" and "hello", and eventually, when Margaret parroted "work, work, work", he would reply "play, play, play".
Peter, who liked to watch TV during his study breaks, was coming into sexual maturity and his relationship with Margaret quickly took a turn.
"Peter liked to be... with me. He would rub himself on my knee, my foot or my hand and I allowed that.
"I wasn't uncomfortable - as long as it wasn't too rough. In the beginning I would put him on the elevator and say you go play with the girls for a day.
"It was just easier to incorporate that and let it happen, it was very precious and very gentle, Peter was right there, he knew that I was right there."
“Peter is his energetic self and a bit nippy on the toes,” she wrote in her diary, referring to the little nibbles Peter made.
“I carry a long-handled broom with me for that and ward him off. This is not always the case: we have had several long “loving” sessions.
“The water is deep enough for him to roll over and this he does for tummy rubs. He sleeps just next to my bed" she said.
The dolphin started to obsess over Margaret, “Peter has become sexually aroused several times during the week” she wrote.
“I find that his desires are hindering our relationship, he jams himself again and again against my legs, circles around me, is inclined to nibble and is generally so excited that he cannot control his attitude toward me.”
"It was sexual on his part, it was not sexual on mine, sensuous perhaps”, Margret said.
"It would just become part of what was going on like an itch, just get rid of that we'll scratch and we would be done and move on.
"I was there to get to know Peter, that was part of Peter.
“That relationship of having to be together sort of turned into really enjoying being together, and wanting to be together, and missing him when he wasn’t there.
“I did have a very close encounter with, I can’t even say a dolphin again, Peter, she told BBC’s Christopher Riley.
The experiment ultimately ended and the lab was closed.
Peter was shipped back to a tank in Miami where, in a matter of weeks, he committed suicide by by refusing to breathe and sinking to the bottom of his tank.
Experts say this was caused by depression brought on by a broken heart.
The Girl Who Talked To Dolphins is on BBC4 on June 17 at 9pm.