guano: Because of its rich content of nitrogen and phosphates, guano was highly valued as a fertilizer before the development of cheaper chemical substitutes. Also a source of saltpeter, guano was used in the production of gunpowder.
smoke hole: It is said that the bats rise like smoke from the Bat Cave at Carlsbad, NM. A smoke hole is also the entrance and exit of a kiva, a Pueblo Indian buried, or half-buried, ceremonial room symbolic of Earth Mother's womb. The kiva serves both sacred and secular uses. It also is from where the Kachina Gods emerge.
fluorescein: A green dye used in Navy survival kits.
aviatrix's fingers: "Let us remember that our fingers let us fly. Even phylogenetically our hands compare with bird's wings." (Hillman,1979)
amphitheatrical: The bats emerge into an amphitheater. In Ancient Rome, the primary purpose of the amphitheater "was to seat the spectators of gladiatorial fights and other brutal shows." (Robertson,1964)
Mexican bats: Mexican free-tailed bats, Taraida brasiliensis, of the family Molossidae. Also known as "guano bats." Those who reside at Carlsbad winter in Mexico.
sonar: Bats "see" by means of "echolocation," a term coined by Donald R. Griffin during the 1930s. Taraida brasiliensis is able to produce both FM (broadband) and CF (narrow band) signals to suit the topography and mission. The sounds are emitted from the throat and bounce off an object back to the bat's directional ears; its brain then instantly interprets and locates the object's origin. "Chiropteran (e.g., bat) acoustic orientation, and indeed that of most echolocating animals, is more akin to sonar than to radar, in that it relies on sound rather than electromagnetic energy." (Hill & Smith,1984)
crucified: "As a charm against evil in general...a live bat is crucified, head downward, above the lintel of the door in many parts of France, Holland, and England. This cruel practice, extending over many hundreds of years, is said to be in limited use today." (Peterson,1964)
lunatic scheme: Project X-Ray was proposed during World War II. During the tests, carried out in the Southwest desert, several military buildings were destroyed by armed stray bats. The project was abandoned shortly before the Atomic Bomb was tested nearby.
their god: In Mayan mythology a dying man had to pass through the "bat house" on his way to the depths of the earth. There he would meet the Death Bat, Camazotz, a "dismembering animal." "The remarkable feature of bat-god images is that many of them carry...a stylized motif--based upon a Zapotec hieroglyph--which is thought to be a symbol modeled upon the 'eyebrow' (or superocular) scale of a Mexican variety of rattlesnake." (Mundkur,1983)
Geiger counter: "Hans Geiger, among others, turned back to the electrical counter he had devised with (Ernest) Rutherford in 1908 and improved it. The result, the Geiger counter, was essentially an electrically charged wire strung inside a gas-filled tube with a thinly covered window that allowed charged particles to enter. Once inside the tube the charged particles ionized gas atoms; the electrons thus stripped from the gas atoms were drawn to the positively charged wire; that changed the current level in the wire; the charge, in the form of an electrical pulse, could then be run through an amplifier and converted to a sound--typically a click..." (Rhodes,1988)
Bones: Echo "becomes
gaunt and wrinkled and all moisture fades from her body into air. Only
her voice and her bones remain: then, only voice; for they say her
bones were turned to stone." (Ovid. From, "Metamorphosis.")