This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.
Alice Marble discovered it’s amazing properties during a high school science class.
Alice was an athlete and it quickly dawned on her that if she kept it a secret it would help her achieve her goal of becoming a world-class tennis player.
She kept the secret well but occasionally enthusiasm got the better of her as you can see in the photo above.
It was 1939 and Alice had become the top ranked women’s tennis player in the US.
Unfortunately for Alice, by the time WW2 ended she was too old to continue her career and even Hypercillium could not stop the ageing process.
She did not want her secret to become public so she concealed her discovery, but as we all know, nothing stays buried forever.
When Alice died her estate was put up for auction.
The various lots included a locked wooden box.
The box had been sent to Alice by an Australian soldier who was stationed in Palestine. The box was exquisitely inlaid with brass and ivory but the key had long since gone missing.
Miguel bought the box unopened for the princely sum of five dollars.
When he managed to get the box open without doing too much damage he found a set of papers that looked like they had been written by a teenage girl, as well as a sealed Petri dish containing what looked like mould.
It looked like ordinary mould.
The kind of mould you get when you leave a pair of sports shoes in a bag for a year or two, but it was anything but ordinary.
Miguel Shreckengost was the first to understand it’s potential.
Miguel had long been an admirer of Howard Florey. Florey was the scientist who developed Penicillin. He understood what Fleming had stumbled over but had failed to recognise.
Shreckengost did not discover Hypercillium but he did develop it into what we know today.
Without it we would not be able fly.
Imagine not being able to fly, it seems silly I know.
Once upon a time there were no electric vehicles either, but not being able to fly?