National Park Mystery Spot 39 Revealed: A Saintly Father Lived and Died There
It was specified that Mystery Spot 39 is a National Park System unit. To help you identify this park, you were given these clues:
A saintly father inherited DNA from his father.
"Never touch an armadillo" is sound medical advice.
If isolation is essential, you don't need a moat. Just choose a place reached only by boat.
On the north side of an island north of the largest island in a non-northern state.
The answer is Hawaii’s Kalaupapa National Historical Park. This relatively young park (established 1980) was created to preserve and interpret remains of the historic Kalaupapa Leper Settlement on the island of Molokai. During 1866 – 1969, nearly 8,000 Hawaiians suffering from leprosy (Hansen’s disease) were quarantined on northern Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula. Because the Kalaupapa Peninsula site is so isolated, even lacking road connections to other Molokai communities, it was deemed an appropriate place to house leprosy patients in medical quarantine. Although mandatory quarantine ended in 1969, some former patients chose to continue living at Kalaupapa. Today the community has no active cases of Hansen’s disease.
Two people who devoted themselves to the care of leprosy patients at Kalaupapa for many years are venerated as saints in the Roman Catholic church. Father Damien de Veuster, a Belgian missionary priest who contracted leprosy and succumbed to its ravages, was canonized in 2009. Mother Marianne Cope, a naturalized American nun who was credited with several miracles, has been decreed a saint and is slated for canonization in October 2012.
Here is how the clues lead you to the answer:
All human males have Y-chromosomes containing DNA passed from father to son. The saintly father referenced here is, of course, Father Damien.
"Never touch an armadillo" is sound medical advice because the armadillo is one of the few animal species that harbors Mycobacterium leprae, the bacterium that causes Hansen’s disease. Unfortunately, the disease can be transmitted from infected armadillos to humans and vice-versa. Of the roughly 200 cases of Hansen’s disease reported in the United States each year -- nearly all of which can be easily cured with antibiotics if detected early -- about one-third are caused by handling armadillos or consuming armadillo meat.
“If isolation is essential, you don't need a moat. Just choose a place reached only by boat” (a place like the leper settlement at Kalaupapa, for example).
The Kalaupapa Peninsula is located on the north side of Molokai, an island situated north of Hawaii (the Big Island), which is the largest island in the decidedly non-northern state of Hawaii.
Kudos to the Traveler readers who identified this mystery spot: Eric, Reoux, OutInTheStiks, celbert, RangerLady, Connier, David Crowl, djjeffrey100, Ken, Lisa, JanetinKY, JeffB, Eric Nelson, Janna, CB, ron erpelding, y_p_w, and tomp2. All are eligible for our monthly prize drawing.