Ecco the Dolphin was a 1992 Sega video game featuring an intelligent dolphin maneuvering through the waves. It was beloved to children everywhere. It even spawned sequels.
If you’re one of the many people who enjoy watching video game play-throughs, here’s one from YouTube:
It certainly seems simple and innocuous.
Ecco, however, was inspired by the writings of Dr. John C. Lilly, the man who invented the isolation tank. Specifically, it was inspired by ECCO. ECCO was the Earth Coincidence Control Office, who were an intergalactic group of monitors that kept tabs on every notable person on earth.
Dr. Lilly learned about ECCO during his time doping on immense doses of ketamine. This was after he’d gotten too used to doing large quantities of LSD and lounging in his isolation tank.
This, for those who find that scenario familiar, was the inspiration for the book and movie Altered States.
Lilly’s introduction to ECCO came during a particularly intense dose of ketamine. An agent of ECCO appeared in his home, removed his penis (bloodlessly) and handed his penis back to him.
Lilly was naturally perturbed, and called for his wife. When his wife came downstairs from the bedroom, she pointed out his penis was still attached. He corrected her, pointing out that it was a mechanical penis, replacing his original one.
Some time later, while floating in his isolation tank, Dr. Lilly decided he’d like to be a dolphin. From there, it was obvious that dolphins were in contact with, and likely observers for, ECCO. He obsessed over the idea, and came up with the most reasonable step in human/dolphin conversational relations. He gave them LSD.
This didn’t encourage them to talk in human language, surprisingly. He followed it in 1965 by an experiment in which a woman and a dolphin were arranged to live together in an enclosed area for ten weeks with no significant outside contact. The dolphin-and-penis focused scientist even encouraged his volunteer to manually pleasure the dolphin to encourage it to speak. She agreed to do so, and performed for science repeatedly throughout the three-month span.
The dolphin never did speak English, so the experiment was a failure for everyone, apparently, except the dolphin.
Question of the night: What animal would you most like to talk to?