1 April 2019
We are sad to report the untimely death of Dr Emrhys Owen, who was a staunch member of the club in its first two years of existence. Early members of the club will remember him especially for his habit of playing with his rooks upsidedown. If opponents protested he would point out that nothing in the Rules specified which way up a rook should be placed.
In his professional life Emrhys was a research academic working on aspects of animal social behaviour. He had a particular interest in reptiles and in their level of intelligence. In 2016 he learned that a team from the Florida Institute of Tecnology, at Melbourne, Florida, had found evidence that certain species of alligator showed surprisingly high intelligence coupled with a level of social awareness and capacity for joint action that could not be explained by normal means.
Intrigued by this news, which chimed with ideas Dr Owen was already formulating, he obtained a research post at the Institute’s Tropical Wetland Rescue Center. He was already aware of the impressive evidence that certain species of birds display signs of telepathy. He postulated that this ability might also be found in reptiles, given that birds and reptiles are related in terms of their evolution.
In Melbourne, Florida, Dr Owen embarked on an ambitious project using the latest nanotechnology. He developed a sensor sensitive enough to react to tiny changes in electrical discharges from a brain – in short, brain-waves. His aim then was to train selected reptiles to play chess. Obviously the alligators’ physical characeristics and living environment would prevent over-the-board play in even the most intelligent of them – but what if they could use the power of their minds to move pieces on a screen linked to the special sensor?
Two years on and he felt he was making good progress. He was convinced that the alligators were indeed using telepathy and he was on the brink of being able to demonstrate results that would amaze the world.
Very sadly it all came to a tragic end last week, as reported by the Palm Bay (Brevard County) newspaper and the local radio station. He was killed in a horrific attack by a group of three adult caymans.
Eye-witnesses reported that it had every appearance of being a pre-planned, co-ordinated act.
Just possibly giving Dr Owen posthumous proof of his theory.