Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysterious crime novel “The hounds of the Baskerville” is not only filled with a thrilling sensation but also with scientific plots, that leaves behind a rationalized viewpoint after all chapters for the readers. This story explains how the death of Sir Hugo Baskerville is linked with his descendants, Sir Charles Baskerville, followed by Sir Henry Baskerville who was saved by Holmes, and the chief reason being a ferocious, glowing, gigantic hound. Stapleton, who later found out to be a bloodline of the Baskervilles, exploit this hound to terrorize them to death and inherit the wealth and possessions of the Baskerville family. However, the novel doesn’t elaborate on the hound, even though it depicts the main theme of the story. I decided to focus my research on the hound and unleash the truth beneath this mystical hound.
Before I start, it is of utter importance to describe the character and detective role of Sherlock Holmes. The author’s magnificent character had his own way of investigating things. He initially starts with defining the mystery and approach towards it with a blank mind. He teaches us how to read a situation by, watching, listening and then deducing. At every point he uses rational and logical imagination to predict the outcome. A good listener undoubtly makes a good detective. None can ever be underestimated and have to bear in mind that anyone can be faulty. Lastly, the most crucial step is to differentiate vital facts from incidental facts. All these abilities allowed Holmes to crack all the case and narrow down villains. In this case, Stapleton was the culprit who went missing after being exposed of his detrimental deeds.
The name hound originally means a type of dog with an aggressive nature, which is specialized with a powerful sense of smell and a high speed, used over a prey. Here, it is described as an enormous beast with huge jaws, covered in dark fur which had supernatural glowing eyes. Baskerville had a scientific military base on Dartmoor, which carried out secretive genetic experiments on animals such as rats, mice, dogs and sheep to breed monsters and gigantic hounds. (Comunity, 2010) During the World War II, genetically modified animals were used on the battlefields. They were used for supplies, guard posts, carry messages, intelligence and a courageous companion to the soldiers. Sheldon reveals that the name hound is an acronym rather than just a word. Project H.O.U.N.D is named after 5 women and men, Jack O’mara, Elaine Dyson, Leonard Hansen just to name a few, and was executed on the Baskerville military base in Dartmoor. They developed a hallucinogenic drug which rendered its user incredibly suggestible. It was initially used for as an anti-personal weapon to totally disorientate and enervate the enemy using fear stimulus. Prolonged exposure to the drug results in the damages the frontal lobe of the target, causing paranoia, dementia and even manipulates them to be uncontrollably aggressive. As a result, this project was shut down in 1986. This drug was used in the fog at the moor, by scientist Bob Frankland to make the story characters, Sir Henry Baskerville, Holmes and Watson hallucinate and see things exactly as Frankland wanted in the hound. (Wiki) According to the book, Bob Frankland was interested in astronomy, often involved with his telescope and used it to keep an eye on the dense moor for anything suspicious. But in a different narrative version shown on TV drama, and movies, he was entitled as the principal researcher of the project H.O.U.N.D. The ground of the Dewer’s hollow was filled with pressure pads, designed by Frankland that triggered the release of fog along with the drug when it is being stepped. This made the ordinary dog seem like a hound as imagined by the viewers. Stapleton knew his way to avoid this steps and he kept the beast in Grimpen mire.
Porton Down, was used as a concurrent context of referral to Baskerville military base, which is all rumor but the actual mislead secretive scientific experiments assigned by the government were carried out in Porton’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) since 1916. (Wikipedia, 2018) During the Cold war, hundreds and thousands soldiers actively volunteered to take part in the secretive experiments at government’s research centers in Porton Down. This research institute in Britain accounts for £500m funds each year with an employee enrollment of 3000 scientists. (BBC, 2016) With a size area of 7000 acres, it was designed and constructed to avenge a Chlorine gas attack by the German along with phosgene and Sulfur mustard, during World War I. Initially they started with making masks and safety clothing to test for counter chemical attack against German. However, in 1925, the use of chemical weapon in war was restricted by the Geneva Protocol. Shortly afterwards, biological warfare research named Biology Department Porton (BDP) was started in 1940 under Paul Fildes, a molecular biologist. In 1942, it used bacillus anthracis, a bacterium, as a biological weapon after testing it in Gruinard Island. Soil sampling and testing in 1981 showed spores of anthrax. DSTL was also a site for animal testing, and the biomedical section was incorporated with efficacy testing, drug assessment, genetically modified breeding, surgical studies etc. However, very unethical and discreet experiments were carried out, such as animals being used for unusual purposes, exposed to toxic lethal chemical agents, gene cloning to attain bizarre features. About 10956 animals were used as testing materials in 1997. In 1953, aircraft Ronald Maddison died for an accidental touch of Sarin, during a toxic nerve agent test. A parliament official claimed that there were numerous things going on inside DSTL, for which the truth is very harsh to withhold, and yet the ministries are unaware of it. (News, 1999) It was later revealed that, their intention to preserve information and prevent public acknowledgement, was to obstruct information leakage to potential invaders, which might use it to create a defensive mechanism.
Today there are even more ill-intentioned scientific experiments carried out by privately funded research institutes that are unethical, have potentials to cause a bio-chemical apocalypse and pose a threat to the society. They are often set up without legal framework, and the governments’ intervention. The results will be deadly if immediate countermeasures are not imposed. Approach to a darker future can be prevented by close monitoring and implementing strict laws to all the research institutes to restrict the use of lethal or deadly agents for biological or chemical warfare. The provided transformation of a Spaniel to a mighty mystic gigantic hound with glowing eyes, as narrated in “The Hounds of the Baskerville” is just an example of a vigor outcome of what scientific experiments are competent of.