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That human specimen, meanwhile, playing the game laid out before him and taking on the persona of missing link missing his context, forewent even a solitary intelligible word to these scientists, pretending to be possessed of a primitive tongue and ear--he couldn't understand them, so was his charade, not their wish nor their way of communicating with him. Incommunicado, their prize left them prey to hypothesis and wild, unprovable conjectures about precisely how he came to be precisely there. They named him "Runaway Daniel Bernhardt," a sophomoric, even craven attempt at humor only barely elevated from that of the shaved ape they proposed he actually was, remarking his resemblance to the missing leader of an Evangelical church then popular in Los Angeles, Pastor Daniel Bernhardt, who, by the way, was the same Pastor Daniel believed to have run off with Sister Aimee Semple MacPherson, the other famous Evangelist of Interwar Los Angeles. They believed this "Runaway Daniel Bernhardt," Bedouin without camel, wise man without present to deliver or star to guide, had stopped off for a trickle but received the Flood. Mistaking the Brea for a watering hole in what would then have been a temperate desert waste cooled by sea-winds, thirsty sinner Bernhardt was knocked off his feet and swamped by the flow of time--how little could they have suspected just how right they were.

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Not one of them could say how it was that, many thousands of years later, he was still alive, but conmen, hucksters and hoaxsters began showing up along Wilshire, collecting the tar and ladling it out it as "Ageless Elixir" and "Eau de Ponce de Leon." "The bubbles to solve all your troubles," went the sales pitch of one "La Brea Youth Formula." The fact that the tar smells a bit like rotten eggs, as you probably noticed passing by, was apparently no impediment to these intrepid entrepreneurs. You'll see some of those ingenious advertisements reproduced above.