The introductory Turtle Treasures page sets the general tone and lays down the law for anyone interested in contributing to this (very serious) search. For treasures… inside turtles. And at this point, if one chooses to believe Turtle Treasures to be an elaborate tongue-in-cheek stunt, then the tongue must be planted so firmly in cheek so as to cause pain to the inner cheek wall of one’s mouth.
The SA article goes on to explain that the people who participate in the Turtle Treasures forum are actually cracking open a turtle shell and rummaging inside. One can only assume that these people employ some sort of B.F. Skinner-esque behaviorist detachment technique, which leads them to believe turtles feel no pain because they have no way to ‘express’ it properly. Here’s a screencap of a person who claimed s/he found a turtle treasure (careful – it’s graphic, and maybe NSFW):
So many questions, dear readers. Where does it end – and where, perhaps more importantly, does it begin? I can only offer an exasperated sigh.
The silver lining to this story is, of course, that the site that hosted Turtle Treasures seems to have quietly packed up and left the internet, leaving few traces. But it’s a wonder to me how this didn’t make larger waves back when it was published. And now, rather than rejecting out-of-hand a collective of ‘possibly cruel’ eccentrics, I hope you too can revel in the mystery of Turtle Treasures.