GNI SPECIAL REPORT: Dateline Knoxville: Now that he's safely out of the country on other adventures, we can report that Barcus, world renowned archaeologist and suspected tomb raider, i.e. dealer of lost artifacts, paid a visit to Ijams last summer.
The International bon vivant Barcus—mensonge énorme—is secretive. Little is known about him except he speaks with an awkward French accent. At Ijams, Barcus quickly called for a closed door meeting with the second, third and fourth graders attending the Tall Tale Nature Day Camp at the South Knox nature center. Barcus shared a secret and none of the campers are talking. It's all very hush, hush.
Afterwards, the group slipped out of the building and quietly explored one of the iron-gated caves nearby in search of lost time. The hidden cavern is sealed-tight to protect the wildlife that lives inside: bats, salamanders and various cave-dwelling squiggles.
The campers were surrounded by a sandy limestone formed during the Ordovician Period of geologic time, meaning that the young cave explorers were going back over 440 million years. The cave itself is thousands of years old, steeped in mystery but does it really hold a shadowy secret?
Who knows? Lips are sealed. And Barcus is once again, incommunicado.
- Stephen Lyn Bales