The Ape-Man: his Kith and Kin
FERAL CHILDREN IN THE NEWS
“Come on, poor babe: Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and
To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say, Casting their savageness aside, have done Like offices of pity.”
~ Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, Act II, scene 3, line 185
'Werewolf boy' - who snarls and bites - on the run from police after escaping Moscow clinic
Daily Mail UK ~ December 21, 2007
Russian police are hunting a "werewolf boy" - who snarls and bites - after he escaped from a Moscow clinic just a day after being rescued from the wild. Doctors expressed shock saying he was found living with a pack of wolves in a remote forest in the Kaluga region of central Russia. "He's clearly dangerous to other people," said a police spokesman yesterday. "He's got typical wolf-like habits and behaviour. He has very strong and sharp teeth, which could really endanger someone if he bites."
The boy looks about ten - but after tests conducted by Moscow medics, they believe he maybe much older. They are puzzled because he appears intelligent but does not seem to speak Russian or any other language. It is suspected he has been running wild for many years.
Such cases are not uncommon in Russia where there have been regular reports of 'Mowgli' children abandoned by their parents who are cared for by animals. The boy moves around with his legs half bent, said Tvoi Den newspaper. "He was running with wolves and searching for food with them."
Villagers found this "wild creature" in a lair made of leaves and sticks in freezing temperatures and told the police who named him Lyokha, though his real identity is not known. "He's dirty, hungry, and looked to have had a hard time," said the police spokesman. "We brought him to a clinic in Moscow. It was simply unbelievable. He doesn't react when we call to him." Medics gave him clothes and said that he sprang down the corridor, bursting into his room and devouring his food like an animal. His nails on his feet were like claws.
After 24 hours he had evaded security men at the clinic and escaped. He is now believed to be on the loose in Moscow region. "We didn't even manage to complete the proper medical checks. We only succeeded in giving him a shower, cutting his nails and took some blood and other tests," said a doctor. "It's quite possible he is a dangerous with psychological problems but also a source of viruses and infections."
'Half-animal' woman found in Cambodian jungle may be long-missing daughter
Daily Mail ~ January 18, 2007
A woman who disappeared in the jungles of northeastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years, police and a man claiming to be her father said Thursday. The woman - believed to be Rochom P'ngieng, who would now be 27 years old - cannot speak any intelligible language, so details of her saga have been difficult to confirm.
"When I saw her, she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey... She was bare-bones skinny," said Sal Lou, who says he is her father. "She was shaking and picking up grains of rice from the ground to eat. Her eyes were red like tigers' eyes," Sal Lou, 45, told The Associated Press by telephone from Oyadao district in Rattanakiri province, where the woman was found last Saturday.
Rochom P'ngieng, then 8 years old, disappeared in 1988 when she was herding buffalo in a remote jungle area, said Chea Bunthoeun, a deputy provincial police chief. The province is about 325 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh. Mao San, police chief of Oyadao district, described the woman as 'half-human and half-animal.' Sal Lou, a village policeman who is a member of the Pnong ethnic minority, said he recognised his daughter by a scar on her right arm, a result of a cut from a knife she played with when she was young.
The woman was discovered this month after a villager noticed that food disappeared from a lunch box he left at a site near his farm, Chea Bunthoeun said. "He decided to stake out the area and then spotted a naked human being, who looked like a jungle person, sneaking in to steal his rice," he said.
The villager gathered some friends and the group managed to catch the woman on Jan. 13. Since being found, the woman has had difficulty adjusting to normal life, apparently because of her long stay in the wild. Sal Lou said it was virtually impossible to communicate with her because she cannot speak the local Pnong language. When she is hungry, she pats her stomach as a signal. "If she is not sleeping, she just sits and glances left and right, left and right," he said.
Sal Lou said his family was now closely watching the woman after she took off her clothes Thursday morning and acted as if she was going back into the jungle. Many questions still remain unanswered about the circumstances of her disappearance and what happened to her in the wild, said Mao San, the district police chief. Authorities want medical experts to take DNA samples from the parents and the woman to see if they match. The parents have given verbal consent for such a test, he said.
'Half-Animal' Woman Is Discovered
After Spending 19 Years Alone in Cambodian Jungle
Fox News ~ January 19, 2007
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A woman who disappeared in the jungles of northeastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years, police said Thursday. The woman — believed to be Rochom P'ngieng, now 27 years old — cannot speak any intelligible language, so details of her saga have been difficult to confirm. The girl, then 8 years old, disappeared one day in 1988 when she was herding buffalo in a remote northeastern jungle area. She was discovered this month after a villager noticed that food disappeared from a lunch box he left at a site near his farm. "He decided to stake out the area and then spotted a naked human being, who looked like a jungle person, sneaking in to steal his rice," said Chea Bunthoeun.Since being found, the woman has had difficulty adjusting to normal life, apparently because of her long stay in the wild, said Mao San. Authorities want medical experts to take DNA samples from the parents and the woman to see if they match. The woman's parents have given verbal consent for such a test, he said. More>>>
Jungle Girl Comes Home
TimesNow.TV ~ January 22, 2007
It's a story which strongly resembles Edgar Rice Burrough's 'Tarzan of the Apes' but the difference is this story is true.
A woman, believed to be about 26 years old, went missing 18 years ago in the jungles of Cambodia. More>>>
Cambodia's 'jungle woman' offered trauma treatment
Canadian Press ~ January 22, 2007
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Human rights groups fear that Cambodia's "jungle woman" is suffering from the spotlight cast on her since she emerged from the wild, and offered Monday to provide any needed medical and psychiatric treatment. A family claims the woman is 27-year-old Rochom P'ngieng, who disappeared in the jungle of Cambodia's northeastern Rattanakiri province while herding water buffaloes when she was eight years old. The family claims she is their long lost daughter, based on a scar on her right arm from an accident that occurred before her disappearance from the remote village of Oyadao. Their hut has drawn crowds of villagers and journalists, keen to see the woman whose family says she was found Jan. 13 walking like a monkey out of the jungle. She pats her stomach when hungry and uses animal-like grunts to communicate. Licadho, a non-governmental human rights group, fears the woman is enduring trauma after returning to society and could have been a victim of abuse, said Kek Galabru, the group's president. "We believe that this woman is a victim of some kind of torture, maybe sexual or physical," said Kek Galabru. "She must have experienced traumatic events in the jungle that have affected her ability to speak." Since the woman is unable to speak, her identity remains unclear with many questioning if she is indeed Rochom P'ngieng. More>>>
Search on for 'feral man' as mystery deepens over woman lost in jungle for 19 years
· Second naked person spotted in jungle
· Family withdraws permission for DNA tests
The Guardian ~ January 20, 2007
Gone to the dogs: the girl who ran with the pack
The Age - Australia ~ July 19, 2006
She bounds along on all fours through long grass, panting with her tongue hanging out. When she reaches the tap she paws at the ground, drinks noisily with her jaws wide open and lets the water cascade over her head. Up to this point, you think the young woman could be acting — but the moment she shakes her head and neck free of droplets, exactly like a dog when it emerges from a swim, you get a creepy sense that this is something beyond imitation. Then she barks. The furious sound she makes is not like a human being pretending to be a dog. It is a proper, chilling, canine-like burst of aggression and it is coming from the mouth of a young woman dressed in T-shirt and shorts.
This is 23-year-old Oxana Malaya reverting to behaviour she learnt as a young child when she was brought up by a pack of dogs on a rundown farm near the village of Novaya Blagoveschenka in Ukraine. When she showed her boyfriend what she once was and what she could still do — the barking, the whining, the four-footed running — he took fright. It was a party trick that went too far and the relationship ended. Miss Malaya is a feral child, one of only about 100 known in the world. The story goes that, when she was three, her indifferent, alcoholic parents left her outside one night and she crawled into a hovel where they kept dogs. No one came to look for her or even seemed to notice she was gone, so she stayed where there was warmth and food — raw meat and scraps — forgetting what it was to be human, losing what toddler's language she had and learning to survive as a member of the pack.
A shameful five years later, a neighbour reported a child living with animals. When she was found, at the age of eight in 1991, Oxana could hardly speak and ran around on all fours barking. Though she must have seen humans at a distance, and seems occasionally to have entered the family house like a stray, they were no longer her species. Judging from the complete lack of documentation about her physical and psychological state when found, the authorities were not keen to record her case — neglect on this scale was too shameful to acknowledge — even though it has been of huge and continuing interest to psychologists who believe feral children can help resolve the nature-nurture debate. What is known about "the Dog Girl" has been passed down orally, through doctors and carers. "She was like a small animal. She walked on all fours. She ate like a dog," is about as scientific as it gets.
Last month, British child psychologist Lyn Fry, an expert on feral children, went to Ukraine with a Channel Four film crew to meet Miss Malaya, who now lives in a home for the mentally disabled. Five years after a Discovery Channel program about her, they wanted to see if she had integrated into society. Ms Fry wanted to find out how far the girl was still damaged — and to see a reunion with her father. "I expected someone much less human," says Ms Fry, the first non-Ukrainian expert to meet Oxana. "I'd heard stories that she could fly off the handle, that she was very unco-operative, that she was socially inept, but she did everything I asked of her. "Her language is odd. She speaks flatly as though it's an order. There is no cadence or rhythm or music to her speech, no inflection or tone. But she has a sense of humour. She likes to be the centre of attention, to make people laugh. Showing off is quite a surprising skill when you consider her background. In the film, Miss Malaya looks unco-ordinated and tomboyish. When she walks, you notice her strange stomping gait and swinging shoulders, the intermittent squint and misshapen teeth. Like a dog with a bone, her first instinct is to hide anything she is given. She is only 1.52 metres tall but when she fools about with her friends, pushing and shoving, there is a palpable air of menace and brute strength. The oddest thing is how little attention she pays to her pet mongrel. "Sometimes, she pushed it away," says Ms Fry. "She was much more orientated to people."
After a series of cognitive tests, Ms Fry concluded that Miss Malaya had the mental capacity of a six-year-old and a dangerously low boredom threshold. She can count but not add up. She cannot read or spell her name correctly. She has learning difficulties, but she is not autistic, as children brought up by animals are sometimes assumed to be. Experts agree that unless a child learns to speak by the age of five, the brain misses its chance to acquire language, a defining characteristic of being human. Miss Malaya was able to learn to talk again because she had some childish speech before she was abandoned. At an orphanage school, they taught her to walk upright, to eat with her hands and, crucially, to talk. Through an interpreter, Miss Malaya tells Ms Fry that her mother and father "completely forgot about me". They argued and shouted. Her mother would hit her and she would pee herself in terror. She says she still goes off by herself into the woods when she is upset. Although she knows it is socially unacceptable to bark, she certainly can.
Miss Malaya seems to be happy looking after cows at the Baraboy Clinic's insalubrious farm, outside Odessa. "It was dirty, terribly rundown and primitive," says Ms Fry, "but in Ukrainian terms, very desirable. Her carers are good people with the best interests of their charges at heart, though there is no therapy as such. Oxana is doing things she is good at." It was here that the reunion with her father was staged a few weeks ago. In the film, they stand awkwardly apart and it is ages before anyone speaks. Miss Malaya breaks the silence. "Hello," she says. "I have come," replies her father. The exchange is moving in its halting formality. "I thank you that you have come. I wanted you to see me milk the cows."
'Feral' girl was locked in dark room by mother for seven years
Daily Mail ~ June 18, 2007
A girl of seven who had never seen sunshine has been rescued from a remote farmhouse. The child, who was kept in a darkened room, had skin like parchment and is believed to be extremely disturbed. She had never met anyone but her mother, who is believed to have kept her hidden away in shame because she was illegitimate. German police said the woman also kept eight head of cattle at the farmhouse, and they were better looked after than her daughter. One officer described the girl as "virtually feral". Police and welfare officials swooped after a tip-off that the 45-year-old woman was hiding a child in the farmhouse near Augsburg in Bavaria. At least one youngster living nearby had glimpsed the child through a window and told her parents: "There is a little girl in the strange house." The farmhouse was said to be like a rubbish tip inside, full of rotting food, paper and tins. In a highly bureaucratic country such as Germany it is baffling how the woman managed to keep the child without her being registered somewhere. Prosecutors are to press cruelty charges against her. The girl's uncle lives nearby but he has not been arrested. Local people tipped off the police after spotting the woman buying children's clothes.
Johannes Kreuzpointer, the senior public prosecutor in charge of the case, said police were trying to establish who the father of the girl is and how she was missed by the German welfare state. "The investigation is continuing and many people are being interviewed," he said. The mother has been taken to a different town as feelings of anger grow about the treatment of her daughter among local people. The mother was seen around the town but described variously by locals as "withdrawn, joyless, shy and strange." Police are to have her psychologically assessed in the coming days before deciding whether she should face charges of neglect. The theory is that the woman gave birth to the girl at home in July 1999 and never told a soul about it. She lived on inherited property some way from people and was able to carve out a solitary existence for herself and her child.
Daughters Struggling After Mom Locked Them Away for 7 Years
Fox News ~ February 12, 2007
Three girls who were imprisoned by their mother in a house of indescribable filth for seven years may never recover from the ordeal, experts said last night. The girls were shut away from the outside world, existing in almost complete darkness, playing only with mice and communicating in their own language. When they were discovered, their home in a smart, upper middle-class suburb had no running water and was filled with waste and excrement a meter high. The floor was corroded by mice urine. The case has stunned Austria, still reeling from the Natascha Kampusch kidnapping, and the authorities were struggling last night to explain how such a horror story could have gone unnoticed. The girls’ ordeal was apparently sparked by their parents’ divorce, after which their mother, a 53-year-old lawyer, suffered a breakdown. But she won custody of the girls — then aged 7, 11 and 13 — and withdrew them from school, claiming that she would give them private tuition at home. Her husband, a local judge in Linz, Upper Austria, named only as Andreas M, was not allowed to see them once, despite his claims for access reaching court nine times.
The girls, Viktoria, Katharina and Elisabeth, were rescued only when police broke into the house after a neighbour, who had reported his suspicions several times, threatened a local council official with a lawsuit. Although that was in October 2005, and the three have been in a specialised therapy centre since, the scandal was only revealed at the weekend. The mother is now being held in a special remand prison branch for the mentally unstable. She will appear in court in a few weeks on charges of grievous bodily harm and torture, and is facing between five months and five years in prison. She had ensured that the blinds were constantly shut, and that all but one light bulb had been removed in the house. When they were released, the three victims had white skin and could not endure exposure to natural light. Authorities are now under fire for failing to have intervened sooner, despite repeated complaints by neighbours in the well-to-do Poestlingberg. The mother was said to have been summoned to court nine times during the seven years after complaints by the father and neighbours, but officials never found a reason to investigate the case more closely.
Waltraud Kubelka, a therapist who is now treating the three girls, said that their psycho-social and physical development was “catastrophic”. “The oldest one is doing very badly and has no prospects of recovery. She was severely undernourished and practically anorexic after her release. The two younger ones will need years to come to terms with their horrific childhood. “In the first weeks after their release they were hiding under a bench in the kitchen [in the therapy centre] because that was the darkest spot. They could not endure light . . . they had not felt sunlight or fresh air for years.”
It is believed that the children had contact only with their mother during the seven years of captivity and, as a consequence, developed an almost unintelligible language of their own, described as a “singing-like” form of German. Even after a year of therapy the oldest daughter, Elisabeth, now 21, is said to be so disturbed that she stands only on one foot for long periods staring at the floor. She often bursts into tears. She and her two sisters also reportedly finish all sentences with the word “but”. But according to her carers, the youngest of the three, Viktoria, could soon be discharged from therapy to join her father, who now is in constant contact with his daughters. A council official said that authorities had had no knowledge of the “truly catastrophic” conditions. The mother’s legal training and knowledge of the law has reportedly enabled her to postpone the trial. The case will he heard in front of a court in Klagenfurt in the next weeks, as both she and her husband are well known in the legal community of Linz.
Natascha Kampusch was held for eight years by Wolfgang Priklopil, before escaping. Priklopil snatched her on her way to school when she was ten and kept her captive in a subterranean dungeon under his house near Vienna for eight years. Professor Max Friedrich, a child psychiatrist who treated Ms Kampusch, said that the two cases should not be compared. “This is entirely different, when the mother herself is the captor. It is tragic that the one person that commands full trust is misguided in that way. I do not envy their therapists.”
This Jane is the Tarzan of the wild
MORE ITEMS OF INTEREST
Economic Times News ~ January 23, 2007
KOLKATA: She is a legend. However, mention that to her and pat comes her reply: “But I am also real... I am me. When she arrived in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park in 1960, Jane Goodall was just in her mid-twenties, inspired by Tarzan and her intense love for animals and her passion for Africa.
She was presented a stuffed chimp called Jubilee by her father when she was 18 months old. “But, this had nothing to do with my later journey into the wilds, Ms Goodall told ET in an exclusive interview. “I saved up for the travel to Africa. It was Professor Lewis Leakey, the palaeontologist, who triggered this journey that finally created my destiny. This was in 1960,” she said. As her research into the behavioural mechanisms of primates progressed, she discovered and drove home how close chimpanzees were to humans. This silently revolutionised prevalent theories on primate behaviour. In 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) crystallised in Arlington, Virginia. But it was a Wildlife Congress in 1986 which brought about a radical transformation. “I realised that chimps were vanishing. This turned me into an activist.” More>>>
Hair Boy:Prithviraj Patil has hair growing all over his face
Daily Cognition | Indian Pad ~ July 21, 2007
Sangli (Maharashtra), July 17 (IANS): A 11-year-old boy has hair growing all over his face and body, a rare medical anomaly. And doctors say that laser treatment or plastic surgery is the only way out. Prithviraj Patil, son of a well-to-do farmer in Sangalwadi near Sangli, suffers from a rare medical anomaly though he is otherwise like any normal child. Prithiviraj has no problem with his hair that is up to three-inches long except that it looks awful - there is no itch or rash on the skin or any bad odour accompanying the dermatological problem. Hairy nevus, where a person has patches of excess hair growth or hirsutism, is not uncommon. But hair persisting all over the body is very rare, said plastic surgeon Vinay Saoji. 'Though I have not come across such cases or its documentation anywhere, I suppose options like epilation could be tried out to rid the boy of the embarrassment,' Saoji told IANS. Prithviraj became an object of curiosity at a health detection camp here Sunday as he waited his turn in a long queue of people for a medical check up. The visit to the health camp was just another effort on the part of Dilip Patil, Prithviraj's father, in his quest to diagnose and possibly find a cure for his Class 5 son. Skin specialist Dayanand Naik, who found that hormonal and pathological tests conducted on Prithviraj were normal, said that laser treatment or plastic surgery could be attempted after a few years.
Kenyan baby girl 'rescued by dog'
BBC News ~ May 9, 2005
An abandoned baby girl found among a dog's litter of puppies is now doing well in hospital in Kenya's capital. Two boys heard the two-week old baby girl, named Angel by nurses, crying near their house in a Nairobi suburb. The dog's owner then found the baby covered by an old cloth in a plastic bag. She gave her some milk and cleaned her before she was taken to hospital. Doctors think the baby was left for two days before being discovered. The case is receiving huge media coverage. Local residents say the baby was probably abandoned in a nearby forest and the dog then carried her in the plastic bag from the forest over the main Ngong Road back to the house.
The dog's owner told The Daily Nation newspaper that two of her children came to her saying they could hear a baby crying but couldn't find it. "I followed them outside and looked around our compound and a nearby plot," said Mary Adhiambo. "I saw my dog, which I have had for five years, lying protectively with her puppy besides the soiled baby lying in a torn black cloth. I held the baby in my arms and carried it into the house."
A neighbour then took Angel to a nearby police station and on to Kenyatta National Hospital. Doctors found maggots in her umbilical cord, but a hospital spokeswoman said the baby was responding well to treatment considering she had been left outside in the cold. Hospital staff say members of the public have begun donating baby clothes and nappies. Unwanted babies are quite frequently abandoned in Kenya - because of failed relationships or extreme poverty.
FERAL CHILD CASES FROM THE MYSTERIOUS PEOPLE SITE
The Feral Child
An introduction to the strange world of Feral Children cases.
The Mystery of the Green Children - The strange story of
the appearance of two enigmatic children in Woolpit, England.
The unsolved mystery of the strange boy, sometimes described as
a feral child, who appeared from nowhere in Nuremburg in 1828.
The Delphos Wolf Girl
Teenage Wolf girl allegedly sighted running around Delphos,
Kansas in 1974. Stories link it with UFO case in the area.
The Wolf Girl of Devil's River
19th century case of wolf girl frequently sighted around Devil's River,
Texas, and the allegedly haunted Espantosa Lake.
Memmie Le Blanc
Bizarre case of 10 year-old feral child discovered in the
Champagne region of France in 1731.
Science Mysteries: Feral Children
The Feral Folk Site with highlights featured in ERBzine Motes & Quotes 0856
Savage Girls and Wild Boys:
A history of feral children
Faber and Faber, 2002
The Forbidden Experiment:
The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1994
A Scientific Tragedy
The Wild Child:
Unsolved Mystery of Kaspar Hauser
Feuerbach, Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von & Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff
Free Press, 1997
The Wild Child
related to feral experiences and ERB's Tarzan visit:
A collection of texts which prepared the advent of
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Georges Dodds Cover Page
Main Index Chart
Selected 19thCentury Simian Fiction (1830-1914)
Simian Fiction Contents