Grand Rapids, MI- Scientists, Anthropologist and Historians have all converged on the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to conduct research on the legendary Dickens' family.
"I'm very excited about this, every since I was a child, I always wondered who these incredible Dickens people were. Hopefully, we'll unlock the mystery, here, where it all began" said Charles Broderick, founder of the Dickens Society. "I still remember all the references my grandfather would make when telling a story. If he was telling about someone running extremely fast, he would always say he ran like the Dickens'. Or if someone had an exceptionally foul mouth, he would say he cursed like the Dickens'. It didn't seem to matter what the action or feat was, if was done with extreme prowess, then it was worthy of being described as like the Dickens'."
Like Broderick, many other people have heard similar references to the legendary Dickens family and their extraordinary abilities in a wide array of feats, but who were the Dickens? Where did they come from? Why were they so gifted in everything they did? These are some of the questions researchers hope to answer in Grand Rapids, an area of the country where using the "like the Dickens" reference seems to be most prevalent.
"We're pretty confident that the Dickens came from, or at least settled in this area because everyone here mentions them so often. It's the older folks who seem to remember them the most, so we want to see if we can find any first hand accounts of the family" Broderick explains. "Since we arrived, we've overheard people saying things like he jumped like the Dickens' or they fought like the Dickens', so we're confident we have a good pool of people to start interviewing"
Apparently, the Dickens were a family of people, or perhaps even a tribe, who had near super human abilities. Researchers hope to discover their origins to learn more about what may have given the Dickens their special abilities. "If we can find the site of an actual Dickens settlement, perhaps our archeologists can shed some light on how they lived. We have anthropologists, scientist, historians, even a fully mobile DNA lab. We want to know what their diet was, their living conditions, their daily routine, their physiological make-up, any little detail could be a watershed discovery and help fuel research in how to improve human performance in all aspects of life" says Kurtwood DeFoe, chief scientist on the project.
The team has many other questions that lack immediate answers according to lead historian Susan Talbot. "What really drives me is to find out what happened to the Dickens. They were obviously incredible people with abilities that should have ensured their survival, but they seem to have vanished from the face of the earth. Perhaps at one point, they began to marry outside of their clan and dispersed, we just don't know".
Whoever the Dickens were, whatever happened to them, remember to think about them the next time you see someone perform a feat with incredible prowess and ask yourself, could one of the Dickens have done better?