Woman Became So Close To Dolphins That One Tried To Have Sex With Her
Margaret Howe Lovatt recalled how one dolphin used to 'rub himself' on her knee, hand and foot, explaining: "It was sexual on his part - it was not sexual on mine, sensuous perhaps."
Margaret has been a huge animal lover since she was a child, which led her to take part in a NASA-funded experiment nearly six decades ago.
At Christmas in 1963, when Margaret had just turned 20 and was living in St Thomas in the Caribbean, her brother-in-law told her about a secret lab on the island, where people were carrying out work with dolphins.
Unable to ignore her curiosity, Margaret drove out to the lab to explore what was going on and met lab director Gregory Bateson, who she managed to impress so much after simply marching straight up to the complex that he allowed her to get involved.
Despite having no scientific background, Bateson let Margaret observe the animals and write her findings down, which soon helped him realise she had a knack for spotting animal behaviour.
This eventually secured her a place on the NASA-funded study, which had been designed to determine whether or not dolphins could be trained to understand and speak English.
In BBC documentary The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins, Margaret recalled spending time with the three dolphins involved in the study. She said: "Peter, Pamela and Sissy. Sissy was the biggest. Pushy, loud, she sort of ran the show.
"Pamela was very shy and fearful. And Peter was a young guy. He was sexually coming of age and a bit naughty."
Spending more and more time with the dolphins, Margaret found she formed an even closer bond to them - including one in particular.
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"Peter liked to be... with me," she said in the documentary.
"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.
"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."
She continued: "It was sexual on his part - it was not sexual on mine, sensuous perhaps.
"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."
The study had been set up by American neuroscientist Dr John Lilly, who hoped the experiment would enable dolphins to communicate with humans by making human-like sounds through their blowholes.
He managed to secure funding from NASA, having convinced the agency that it could help understand other intelligent life forms using other forms of communication.
Eventually, however, the study was closed down following various concerns, including claims the dolphins had been given LSD.
Featured Image Credit: BBC