Despite expectations that construction would have been completed by October 2019, the Gokongwei Hall has yet to be finished. Some speculated that the reason for this delay may be due to the project not being a priority, but the administration has since clarified that it is due to lack of manpower. Recently, however, a new theory has emerged: the presence of a hidden cloning facility located inside the building’s lobby.
“Pauwi na sana ako noong nakita ko sila doon sa labas. Siguro mga 15 mahigit,” says Felix Juan, one of DLSU’s security guards. “Saan kaya sila galing? Sinilip ko ‘yung loob ng Goks; ayun—daan-daan sila.”
(I was on my way home when I saw them loitering outside. There were about 15 or more. Where did they come from? I peeked inside Goks; and there they were—hundreds.)
The meow-sterious laboratory
Juan explains that on the night of March 10, he found a facility located at the Gokongwei Hall lobby that housed hundreds of cats. Many of them seemingly appeared out of thin air.
Recounting what he saw that night, Juan narrates that the room he found contained “futuristic gear” and machinery. Gasping audibly, he had ended up startling a nearby cat, who scampered back inside the laboratory-like quarters. When he followed the feline, Juan noticed a dozen identical cats looking back at him, with more emerging from the back of the room.
The security guard was able to capture a 23-second video revealing the advanced laboratory inside the Gokongwei lobby. The video also shows that the lobby is visibly still in the middle of construction, as many building materials are still scattered around the area.
Several of the cats can be seen in the viral video, all bearing resemblance to one another: fairly large with long, white fur.
A step fur-ward?
Many questions have surfaced since the video gained the public’s attention. In response, the Lasallian community has voiced out their speculations on the facility’s purpose and the operations behind the strange cat appearances.
A theory circulating around Twitter asserts that the cats may be feline copies of DLSU students and staff, and that their purpose may be to replace the entire Lasallian community. Michael* (II, BS-CPE), one of the first people who posted on social media about this theory, claims that he once witnessed scientists conducting experiments at St. Joseph Hall late in the evening. He recalls that the experiments involved cats, but could not verify what exactly took place that night.
After Michael posted his first tweet, several Twitter users surfaced, sharing their experiences with the St. Joseph Hall experiments. Some claim to have seen records of each student’s DNA—tiny molecules containing genetic information that determine the organism’s traits—stored in a computer program used during these experiments. The DNA is thought to be collected through various means, such as saliva samples from used straws or sweat samples from classroom seats; parts of the DNA are then transferred into each cat’s body. One user even put forward that these experiments may have been eerily inspired by an episode from a Netflix series called Black Mirror: USS Callister.
Another explanation suggests that all the cat clones at Gokongwei Hall are exact copies of each other, appearance-wise, and are only different in character. The tests conducted at St. Joseph Hall may involve the transfer of a person’s information into the conscience of each cat, creating an artificial identity. The result is that each feline believes that it is a human being with a distinct past and a unique personality.
“It probably works kind of like a flash drive,” says Dr. Pooh Sicat, an assistant professor from the Cloning Department who specializes in Artificial Intelligence and Bionics. Sicat theorizes that instead of just carrying a person’s personality, the cat will begin to emulate that person—as if the feline were the human all along.
Since Juan’s first report back in late February, there have yet to be any other sightings of the mysterious facility. Although there are still many queries from students left unaccounted, none of these have been addressed by the University administration.
Sicat also looks forward to seeing the facility for herself. She tells The LuhSallian that she intends to explore the building and study the cloning process for research purposes, adding that her greatest priority now is to find out why these clones are being created in the first place. Currently, the cat clones are auctioned off in a Facebook group called Schrödinger’s Cat Bids, where researchers sign up to conduct a cat’s experiment.
“They really fight over the cats. Some of [the scientists] drop everything when their favorite cat is listed so they can grab the first slot. It reminds me of class enlistment back in college—a little chaotic,” Sicat says. She adds that in these experiments, scientists aim to physically recreate the “cat state”, referring to a Physics concept wherein an object can exist in opposite states at the same time, such as a cat being simultaneously dead and alive.
Juan has mentioned that he is also curious and would like to see the facility in closer detail. “Gusto ko rin makita ulit. Ano kaya pinapagawa nila doon? Saan nanggagaling ‘yung mga pusa?” he muses.
(I want to take another look. What are they building there? Where do the cats come from?)
*Names with asterisks (*) are pseudonyms.