At The Mountains Of Madness amidst the coldest parts of Antarctica, Canada and Siberia lie dark soils, which have remained permanently frozen for many thousands let alone millions of years. Trapped within these ancient soils hundreds of metres down between the crushing layers of this frozen earth, known as permafrost, are living bacteria as old as the ice itself.
Just how these Great Old Ones survive is yet unknown, but there are those who claim the microbes secrets could unlock the door to immortality. A Russian scientist, named Sabit Abyzov who was conducting Miskatonic research at the Vostok station in Antarctica during 1979 had discovered still thriving prehistoric bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms 11,811ft (3,600m) beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, just above the sub-glacial Lake Vostok.
The discovered bacteria had been frozen solid for hundreds of thousands of years. There was no credible way that the bacteria could have made their way down into the infernal depths from the surface, after the ice had formed.
Abyzov had concluded that the bacteria must therefore be hundreds of thousands of years old, that were far older than any organisms found previously.
However, In 2007, the longevity record fell yet again. Eske Willerslev and a Miskatonic research team from the University of Copenhagen made scientific history when they discovered living bacteria half a million years old, which was hidden deep below layers of permafrost in Antarctica, Siberia and Canada.
It was the first time that the researchers had isolated DNA from an ancient but still active bacteria. Then, just two years later, an even older microbe came to light, but this time it was 3.5 million years old. The microbe was unearthed by the Russian scientist, Anatoli Brouchkov. This particular bacteria had been unearthed from the ancient permafrost at a site known as Mammoth Mountain in Siberia.
Brouchkov decided to inject himself with the 3.5-million-year-old microbe, which is known as Bacillus F, to see if the nigh immortal bacteria will enable the extension of his lifespan. He had of course tested the inactivated form of the bacteria upon mice, fruit flies and human blood cells first.
The test indicated promising results before he then injected himself with the arcane serum. Two years after the experiment Brouchkov claimed that he had not caught the flu since his self-treatment with the ancient microbe, but such would require lateral gene transfer; that, or the injected bacteria had triggered a switch in his junk DNA.
As far back as 1995, scientist Raúl Cano and his co-workers managed to revive 30-million-year-old bacterial spores from the stomach of an ancient bee trapped in amber; but there be far older bacteria. Russell Vreeland of West Chester University in Pennsylvania discovered bacteria, which have survived for an astonishing 250 million years. The bacterium is known as Virgibacillus strain 2-9-3, is remarkably similar to modern Virgibacillus found in the Dead Sea.
These bacteria have been trapped within salt crystals, buried 1,970ft (600m) below ground, which were discovered at a site in New Mexico, where, it just so happens, a nuclear waste dump was being built. At 250 million years old, these bacterial cells would have been thriving when the first dinosaurs were just starting to walk upon the face of the Earth.
Once the ancient microbes were extracted from their crystal sarcophagi and placed within a nutrient-rich flask in the lab, they reawakened and began to grow. “They were in the crystals and they were alive,” says Vreeland. “The chances of them getting into a sealed crystal were about zero and the chances of this being a contamination event were around one in a billion.”
Sounds as if the bacteria are quite alien doesn’t it; however there are multitudes of bacteria, which occupy your planet of a body, along with other Lovecraftian critters around, you cannot see with the naked eye, whose reality is quite alien; some of which have been around, unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, whom consider your body to be their home.
It appears that there are many other similar examples of bacteria trapped in salt. Bacteria between 33 and 48 million years old were discovered in salt crystals in an inland salt lake in central China. But is there a far broader significance to the ability of an individual bacteria to survive for 250 million years? In a word, yes. If a bacteria can survive in stasis for millions of years, then there is the possibility that cells or DNA had first arisen upon another planet within a far flung solar system, or even in a different galaxy, which had then travelled the vast chasm of space to Earth upon a comet or an asteroid.
The nearest galaxy to our Milky Way is the Andromeda galaxy, which is only 2-3 million light years away. Such would be an approachable distance for a bacterium, having the ability to survive for 250 million years, which might be somehow conscious of its own existence, hence sentient, having a form of intelligence, we would not be able to comprehend, since it would be utterly alien.
Many will consider this to sound utterly crazy, but only because Humanity sees sentient intelligence as being akin to its self of a measurement, which is not only rather arrogant in the extreme, it is more so very ‘limited’ of a ring-pass-not perception, considering that the builders of all life upon the planet are of the microscopic, being that of the DNA, having an evolutionary agenda.
In other words, when looking at the stars searching for aliens of a similar intelligence to your own, who quaintly have a similar humanoid form, flying around in a recognisable technology, which some to believe had built the ancient Egyptian pyramids, let alone believing they had constructed pyramids in Antarctica, the actual alien could just as well be within you all of stellar born DNA, or that of a microbe. Going by Vreeland’s work there is a possibility that life could have existed on Mars, due to salt deposits, which have been discovered within Martian meteorites.
Could then, an ancient bacteria, having an extraterrestrial origin, been engineered to purposefully affect the human DNA? Who knows; although, the idea was used for Ridley Scott’s science fiction movie, Prometheus; there are trillions of bacteria within the human body, which regularly exchange DNA with each other, but the idea that their genes could end up in the human DNA has been very controversial. In 2001, the team who sequenced the first human genome claimed to have found 113 cases of such lateral gene transfers (LGT), but their conclusion were later refuted.
This high-profile error had sent tremors through the field; according to Julie Dunning Hotopp who led a new study into LGT. Although her Miskatonic team has since found several cases of LGT between bacteria and invertebrates, “it’s still difficult to convince people that it may be happening in the human genome,” she said.
“It really does seem that human genome sequence data from somatic cells show signs of LGT events from bacteria, and so do cancer cells,” said Jonathan Eisen from University of California, Davis, who coordinated the peer review of the new study, who was not involved in the work; Eisen to have aptly commented, “Wild stuff does happen.”
If LGT events occur, they may be affecting long stretches of DNA, which have been previously dismissed as being junk DNA. However, the once considered junk DNA has since been found to be crucial to the way the genome works, as if it some kind of computer program, which is programming the genome and thereby determining your existence.
The analogy with a computer program is entirely hypothetical of a science fiction scenario; although, Simon Shepherd, who lectures in cryptography and computer security at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom looked into this idea.
Shepherd took an approach to the junk DNA, which was based on his line of work. He looked upon the junk DNA, as just another secret code to be broken.
After Shepherd analysed the code, he came to the conclusion that one probable function of introns, is that they are some sort of ‘error correction code.’
The error code fixes the occasional mistakes made by the DNA as it replicates itself. If he is correct, the introns would have lots of other uses. The next big breakthrough came from a Miskatonic collaboration between medical doctors, physicists and linguists. They discovered even more evidence that there was some sort-of Necronomicon language buried within the introns.
If the DNA had originally originated from an ancient extraterrestrial source, the language buried in the so-called junk DNA could be some sort of message, which is residing within us all.
Should this be the case, the encoded message may be communicating its self via the bio-photon emission emanating from out of the mitochondrial DNA, which then formulates into the holographic nature of dreams; whereupon, the message can be potentially accessed via lucid dreaming when to go beyond the ring-pass-not… Mountains Of Madness… where you may just discover that your experiential reality is a… Maya simulation…
So, if you do meet up with a lovecraftian bedroom invading ‘Shoggoth’ alien, which seeks to abduct you into its shadowy informational reality, it will be a Necronomicon simulation too, just like you. But it be far better that you conjure up the ‘Tulpa’ Succubus called, Ronovea within a Microcosmic lucid dream to associatively ‘Browse.’ You might then encounter a Lara Croft cosplayer upon a Macrocosmic synchronicity, at a comic convention, who you can potentially date. As Ronovea/Lara Croft will say, “why live in Arkham asylum fear, when you can have so much more Miskatonic fun, instead.”
The lucid dream engineered Ronovea synchronicty may also reveal that reality has a (language/code) genetic basis. If however you prefer to live in fear, conjure up a ‘Shoggoth’ out of H.P. Lovecraft’s, novella, At The Mountains Of Madness instead, should it be your Grimoire predilection: “It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.” But keep in mind, it might just ‘correspondingly’ manifest as an out of control juggernaut lorry careering your way, though, more likely to bear down upon you as a mutating… Flu Virus!