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

Chess-playing computers may cause the robot apocalypse
2014 04 23
Sore-loser chess programs might be the end of us all... In the movie The Terminator, we heard the human side of the story of Judgment Day, with the machines getting smart and seeing us as a threat. It wasn’t until the sequel that we heard the tale from the machine’s point of view, as it chose to start World War III ...
Archeologists’ findings may prove Rome a century older than thought
2014 04 23
It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more so than believed until now. Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year ...
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
2014 04 23
A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. "I can’t speak for other MPs, but I’ve had many, many calls over the past eight years about chemtrails. And these questions are not so easy to answer," ...
Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound
2014 04 23
If it quacks like a duck... it’s not always a duck. Scientists have reportedly gotten to the bottom of the mysterious ’Bio-Duck’ sound in the Antarctic. Here’s a recording of the strange sound (it’s kind of a stretch to say it sounds like a duck, but who are we to second guess the biologists?). --- Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved By Tanya Lewis ...
’Extreme’ Carbon Dioxide Reduction will be a Death Sentence for Humanity & Planet Earth
2014 04 23
If we allow a fraudulent pseudo-environmentalist cult to control every aspect of our lives then our children are doomed to a totalitarian existence which Stalin could only have dreamed of. “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine ...
More News »