The April Fool Archive

Garson Inconnu, boy scientist    (April Fool's Day - 1949)

Pageant magazine, in addition to having an upside-down back cover, ran an illustrated inside feature (also upside-down) about Garson Inconnu, a four-year-old boy genius who had worked on the Manhattan Project, helping to build the atom bomb. The article explained that the U.S. government had concealed the boy's existence, fearing he might "fall prey to alien agents."

The Boy America Hid
by Averil Shores

At exactly 15 minutes past eight o'clock on the morning of August 6, 1945, Garson Inconnu, then four years old, lay asleep in his bed in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Half the world away, the city of Hiroshima in Japan crumbled beneath man's most horrible weapon of destruction — the atom bomb. To the Japanese it was the end of the world. To four-year-old Garson Inconnu (security designation: Lirpa Loof) it was the climax of a lifetime of scientific investigation. Fearing to harm the child's normal development, the Government has kept this, the biggest secret of the war, carefully under wraps. Only now can the story of the four-year-old who helped build the atom bomb be told.

At six months, Garson Inconnu was reading. At one he was interested in calculus. By three he was poking holes in Einstein's theory of relativity. His parents, noting his alertness, encouraged him to the fullest extent of their meager means. When the Government called for scientists to risk their lives on the atom bomb project they sent Garson to New Mexico. They heard no word from him until the middle of July. Then, on a postcard dated July 16, 1945, they made out these words in his childish scrawl:

"Can't say anything but project was devastating success. Terrific. Radiating. Dr. J.R. Oppenheimer of University of California, Lt. General Leslie Groves, director of Manhattan Project, most helpful. Please send spare cyclotron (under bed), new slide rule, marshmallows, lollipops, candy for campfire Monday night. Your son, Garson."

Little Garson had played his role in saving civilization. Fearing the youth might fall prey to alien agents, the Government said nothing about his activities, kept him in a musty file drawer in Old State. But the four-year-old kept on with his work. He is today absorbed in the development of isotopes which give every indication of promise of implementing a new era in the further development of a scientific future fur all mankind among them Garson Inconnu.

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