Feral Children: Lore of the Wild Child
2013 11 29

By Benjamin Radford | LiveScience

The feral child — a child raised by wild animals — is common in myth and folklore. Feral children are typically thought of as having been raised without human parental contact. A boy or girl raised by wolves — or bears or apes — is the original "wild child," often having little or no language ability or manners. Because feral children lack socialization, they are sometimes considered to represent a pure natural human state.


"She-wolf suckles Romulus and Remus" WikiMedia.org

Stories of feral children date back at least to Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers of Roman mythology rescued from certain death and raised by a wolf. In modern times, the feral child image evokes a strong romanticism for many people. This was especially true at the turn of the last century. Rudyard Kipling made a hero of the feral child Mowgli — an Indian boy raised by wolves — in his classic and wildly popular 1894 collection of stories "The Jungle Book." Writer Edgar Rice Burroughs created Tarzan, a boy raised by African apes, in the early 1900s, and his character remains popular in books and film a century later.

These are, of course, fictional feral children, but what about real ones? A story recounted in the Reader’s Digest book "Mysteries of the Unexplained" shows that feral children date back many centuries: "On July 27, 1724, the boy who came to be called Wild Peter was captured near the German town of Hamelin. He appeared to be about 12 years old. He could not speak and ate only vegetables and grass and sucked the juice of green stalks; at first he rejected bread. The story of the wild boy spread, and in February 1726 King George I of England sent for him."

The boy became a celebrated case, and turned out to be more influential than he could have imagined: the French political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau pointed to this feral child as an example of a "natural man," one untainted by modern life or learning. However, questions were raised about Peter’s story: "a German naturalist and scholar later examined all the earliest documents on Wild Peter and concluded that he must have lived with people until shortly before he was captured, because he wore a rag around has neck and parts of his body were pale rather than tanned, suggesting that he had worn breeches [trousers]." Wild Peter turned out to be just Peter.

Another celebrated account of feral children came from a reverend named J.A.L. Singh, who in the 1920s discovered two young girls (one about 18 months old, the other about 8 years old) in Bengal, India, who were raised by wolves. Singh claimed that the girls, whom he named Amala and Kamala, preferred raw meat, walked on all fours and would howl at the moon like a wolf. He tried, with limited success, to get them to speak and walk upright. The case aroused great interest, and several books were written about their mysterious case, including one on child development

[...]

Read the full article at: livescience.com



Related Articles
Kids Gone Wild: Shocking Stories of Feral Children
’Forest Boy’ Found After 16 Years in Siberia Wilderness
Germany’s ’Forest Boy’ gets community service
Does a cave prove Romulus and Remus are no myth?


Latest News from our Front Page

US Silent on Psychologists Role in CIA’s Tortures: Doctors
2014-12-20 21:53
Physicians for Human Rights had not received any response from the US Federal Commission to their call to investigate the role of health professionals in CIA’s torture program, Deputy Director of the organization told Sputnik. December 19 (Sputnik) — US government has not responded to calls to prosecute doctors, who participated in CIA torture program, the Deputy Director of Communications for ...
Ziolebrities: Simon Cowell donates £100,000 to Israeli soldiers to please pregnant jewish girlfriend Lauren Silverman
2014-12-20 21:00
Cowell, 54, is also planning a secret trip to Israel soon as he embraces the Jewish faith of Silverman, 36 Gala: Billionaire Haim Saban with Cowell Simon Cowell has publicly donated nearly £100,000 in support of the Israeli army. The X Factor boss pledged the cash to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces at a US fund-raiser in Beverly Hills. The lavish gala ...
Former Chief Security Officer for NewsCorp: N. Koreans Not Behind Sony Hack, Interview Leak
2014-12-20 2:17
Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor and former chief security officer for NewsCorp/Fox studios, says North Korea isn’t behind the Sony Hack. Nigam gave several bullet points for why the hack was likely an inside job. Attack code borrowed from a previous attack on Seoul, that’s why it’s in Korean. Private hackers typically borrow malicious code from other hackers.Nations state attacks follow ...
Sony Fires Back at Obama: Actually We Did Call the White House – Several Times
2014-12-20 2:13
Sony fired back at Obama after the press conference saying they had several conversations with the Obama White House before and after the movie was canceled. Via The Hollywood Reporter: After President Obama criticized Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview's release after theater chains decided not to show the film, the studio has issued a statement elaborating on the move. “The ...
The Bankster International
2014-12-20 1:55
Geopolitical analysis, the art of explaining power relationships through the prism of impersonal geography, can be a helpful tool for observers of the Great Game – but it also has its limitations. A case in point is the renewed US-Russia confrontation. Think tanks and policy insiders easily sell the narrative that from the dark days of the Cold War to ...
More News »