A woman who lived in an underwater house with a dolphin for 10 weeks has revealed the biggest problem that caused her a lot of stress.
Margaret Howe Lovatt had a wild affair with six-year-old bottlenose dolphin Peter as part of a bizarre NASA-funded experiment in the 1960s.
The aim of the project was to teach dolphins to understand and possibly even imitate human language. The strange long-term goal was to figure out how humans could talk to aliens.
And perhaps even stranger was the massive undertaking of building “The Dolphin House” – a sprawling, water-flooded complex where Margaret and Peter would live together for ten weeks.
The 23-year-old hated going out at night and still feeling like there was still a lot to do.
So she convinced the project’s lead neuroscientist, Dr. John Lilly made them live in the laboratory by waterproofing the upper rooms and flooding them with half a meter of water.
In this way, humans and dolphins could occupy the same space.
Margaret spent all her time with Peter in 22 inches of seawater—except when she was able to climb onto a dry bed or a desk suspended from the ceiling behind shower curtains.
The pair were supposed to live, sleep, wash, eat and play together as they tried to teach the dolphin – one of the most intelligent animals on the planet – how to talk through its blowhole.
But as the couple spent more time together, Margaret’s roommate, a dolphin, became a major problem as he began to experience strong sexual urges towards her.
“When we had nothing to do, we did the most. He was very, very interested in my anatomy,” she said.
“If I was sitting here and my legs were in the water, he would come up and take a long look at the back of my knee.
“He wanted to know how the thing worked, and I was so fascinated by it.”
Peter then became even more upset because Margaret didn’t want to fulfill his wishes.
“He would rub on my knee, my foot or my hand,” Margaret revealed.
She added that getting Peter back into the enclosure each time soon became a logistical nightmare.
This led to Margaret reluctantly making the decision to satisfy Peter’s sexual urges manually.
“It was just easier to integrate it and let it happen,” she admitted.
“It would just become part of the action, like an itch. Just remove that scratch and we would be done and moving on.”
Lovatt insisted: “It wasn’t sexual on my part. Sensual, perhaps.”
“It seemed to me that it made the bond closer.
“Not because of the sexual activity, but because you don’t have to vomit all the time.”
“And that’s really all.
“I was there to meet Peter. That was part of Peter.”
Peter had fallen in love with the 23-year-old research assistant, but funding for the experiment ran out and The Dolphin House was forced to close.
And when the two separated, Peter was so heartbroken that he took his own life.
He refused to breathe, sank to the bottom of his tank and died in what is commonly referred to as a “suicide.”
Peter was taken away by Margaret and placed 1,000 miles away in Dr. Lilly’s other, much smaller lab in Florida.
Within weeks, the seemingly heartbroken dolphin died, apparently by suicide, as he was kept in cramped conditions without his “lover.”
“I got this call from John Lilly. John called me himself to tell me. He said Peter had committed suicide,” she said The guard.
The lab’s veterinarian, Andy Williamson, even attributed his death to a broken heart when he was taken away from Margaret.
He said: “Margaret could rationalize it, but when she left, could Peter too? The love of his life is gone here.”
Ric O’Barry of the animal rights organization The Dolphin Project also supports the description of Peter’s death as a “suicide.”
He said: “Dolphins are not automatic air breathers like us. Every breath is a conscious effort.”
“When life becomes too unbearable, the dolphins simply breathe in and sink to the bottom.
“They don’t take the next breath.”
Scientists disagree about whether dolphins have the mental capacity to engage in “suicide” in the human sense.
However, animals in distress have been known to engage in self-destructive behavior that can be fatal – as was the case with Hugo the whale, who rammed his head into his aquarium so many times that he suffered a brain aneurysm.