Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

The End of the Trail

by Revilo P. Oliver

UNDER THE RUBRIC, “Our Vanishing Cousins,” I discussed Dr. Dian Fossey’s study of the mountain gorillas in Liberty Bell, December 1985. On the twenty-seventh of that month she was murdered.

In a small clearing on the mist-shrouded slope of Mount Visoke, nine thousand feet above sea level, and in the midst of the small reservation she was trying to preserve for the dwindling race of mountain gorillas, to whom she was devoting her life, Miss Fossey lived alone in a cabin at some distance from a cabin occupied by a male assistant and from the camp of her native employees. She was evidently asleep when her face and head was split by one blow of a machete.

According to the press, it is suspected that she was killed by the relatives of a poacher on the preserve from whom she had taken his fetish when he was arrested by one of her native patrols; the killers were trying to recover the fetish to which the marauder’s life was tied by a magical bond. That is quite possible. The Congoid mentality identifies individuality with the fetish that a savage chooses for himself. The fetish may be almost anything, but it will be something at which you would wrinkle your nose if you saw it in a garbage can. That belief is instinctive and cannot be altered. You may teach the savage English and give him a fake degree of Ph.D. from a diploma-mill, but the only difference will be that he will deny having the fetish that he probably has in a pocket at that moment. (Cf. the observations of Congoid consciousness by Noël Hunt, from which I quoted in the May issue [“Different Spooks,” May 1986] of Liberty Bell.) Miss Fossey’s cabin was ransacked after the murder, evidently to find the fetish, but her money and automatic pistol were not taken. That is consistent with the theory. Since the rudimentary mentality of the Congoid could not possibly understand her reason for living as she did to study and protect the gorillas, it naturally assumed that she was a witch, and she seems to have encouraged that superstition in the hope that it would deter savages from killing her gorillas. A witch’s powers are somehow imprinted on her personal possessions, which, if taken, would lead her ghost to the thief, and a White woman’s spirit would be so powerful that no native witch-doctor could save the savage from the vengeful ghost.

That theory is likely to be correct, but it does not exclude other possibilities. Miss Fossey may have been murdered by some of the savages whom she hired to protect her gorillas from other savages. It is even possible theoretically, of course, that she was killed by an intelligent man of her own race, or a hybrid, who knew how to simulate the work of savages for reasons of his own. But whoever is guilty, it is certain that her determination to save a vanishing species was the cause of the murder.

In the end, therefore, Miss Fossey gave her life for the gorillas, but in vain. Her death dooms them. The “government” of the savages, who were released from civilized control by crack-brained “anti-colonialists” incited by our implacable enemies, obviously wanted to be rid of her and had taken to giving her only the short-term “visas” given to tourists. She could not be simply expelled because she was known throughout the civilized world and brought into the country the money contributed by persons interested in preserving the primates, our distant relatives, from extinction. She was famous and had enlisted the support of not a few influential persons as well as of anthropologists and ecologists in many nations.

The “government” of Ruanda (Rwanda), which some years ago confiscated half of the narrow territory that had been reserved for the gorillas, obviously wants to confiscate the remainder for the benefit of its niggers, who naturally multiply like guinea pigs and are becoming terribly numerous, since unthinking White men destroyed the ecological balance of the region by counteracting the forces of nature that compensated for the savages’ prodigious fecundity. Hagridden by superstitions about “all mankind” and the “sanctity of human life,” they defeated nature by providing medical services and subsidies obtained by taxing their own people. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the exemplary tales, our race has tampered with a natural force it did not fully understand and has started a process that it does not know how to stop.

Now that Miss Fossey is dead, the “government” proposes to turn the preserve into a “park,” and her camp into a “museum,” probably equipped with a few stuffed gorillas, as an attraction to which, it is hoped, tourists will flock to munch hamburgers and swill beer while staring at the cabin in which the White woman died.

Miss Fossey, with a self-dedication of which only women are capable, attained an intimate anthropological knowledge of a biologically decadent and now irremediably doomed species, such as no one had even approximated before her or will attain again. Her selfless research has greatly augmented the science of anthropology, and will be cited with appreciation so long as our race endures and retains the love of knowledge for its own sake that is a racial trait peculiar to our kind. Her work cannot be continued — could not be continued, even in favorable circumstances. She was a combination of scientific ability, almost infinite patience, unfeminine courage, and selfless devotion to her task that is probably unique. And, if truth be told, even the anthropologists who will appreciate and praise her work most highly will also retain in their minds an unspoken and hidden thought, a doubt about the sanity of a woman who sacrificed eighteen years of her life as no man, however great his scientific zeal, would do or could even understand. Most anthropologists are men; whether there are women who will understand, I do not know.

Miss Fossey’s research proved, among many other things, that the decadent apes, despite their enormous strength, are harmless, inoffensive, and lack the malice that is so common among more intelligent anthropoids. She came to like the subjects of her research for their own sake. She tried to preserve for the future the great apes whom she knew so well and understood. Unfortunately, she had not studied so carefully or understood so well the innately ferocious talking apes, who are so dear to American hearts.

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Source: Liberty Bell magazine, July 1986

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1 Comment

  1. Joe
    April 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm — Reply

    No one has ever quite written with the biting sarcasm of Professor Oliver. Even 32 years later, his style is unique and impeccable.

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