The meaning of ‘the bold-faced sentence’

The passage below is from Fathoms: The World in the Whale Hardcover by Rebecca Giggs.

Some people speculated that the malignancies to blame for the arrival of these huge cetaceans were emitted from the human world: a biosphere saturated by signals, electrical forces, and other presences of synthetic generation. In Skegness, in Lincolnshire, two of the dead sperm whales were spray-painted by activists or vandals. Mans Fault. Fukishima (misspelt). Man killed me. RIP. The logo of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was speedily applied to one whale’s tail-fluke, though the icon was missing a spoke and the CND disavowed any connection to the protest. Whose fault was it, the newspapers demanded, that so many sperm whales were appearing? Could it indeed be attributed to heavy water from the failed Japanese reactor, ejected into the Pacific many years prior? Were the spirits that moved, in these animals, not ours?

In this passage the last sentence is difficult for me to get its meaning.

First, the meaning of the ‘spirits’.

Dictionary says it can mean the following: the liquid containing ethanol and water that is distilled from an alcoholic liquid or mash —often used in plural


(Am I right?)

But it also seems to stand for ‘heavy water’ in the previous sentence.

(Am I right?)

Even if I am right on questions above, still, the sentence is obscure to me.

Just vague guess tells me, it suggests the likely possibility of the fault of ours not heavy water from Japan.

Why there are two commas before and after ‘in these animals’?

That makes me more confused than it really seems.

Can I remove them?

Then my vague guess seems more right.

Can you help me? Thanks in advance.

Stenka25First, the meaning of the ‘spirits’.

"3. A supernatural being, as:

a. An angel or demon.b. A being inhabiting or embodying a particular place, object, or natural phenomenon.c. A fairy or sprite."( https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=spirit ) Her spirits have nothing to do with liquid, per se. If you're going to try to sell spirituality, let's face it, there have to be spirits, and here they are. What they are in this particular case is anybody's guess. Come to think of it, spirits are always that. She has mentioned them before. They were in a previous question of yours.
Stenka25Why there are two commas before and after ‘in these animals’?

Writer's choice. I would have chosen to not even think to put them in, but they are not wrong. They make "in these animals" parenthetical, which means that the sentence can stand without them, and it can.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.

Thanks a lot as always, anonymous.

Thanks for reminding me my previous question.

Stenka25In this passage the last sentence is difficult for me to get its meaning.

For me too. While "spirit" here apparently refers to the supposed non-physical or supernatural essence of a being, I don't understand why whales' spirits would be "ours" on the basis of what has just been said. There is a another sentence that came up in my Google search, that seems to be often quoted from this book: "Our fear is that the unseen spirits that move in them are ours." Your sentence seems to be related to this, but I don't understand why we would fear such a thing, or why such a thing would even be suggested. There is apparently some point to it, at least in the author's imagination, that possibly one needs to read more of the book to understand.

Thanks a lot as always, GPY.

Thank you for reminding me the previous sentence relevant to the phrase in question.

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.