You may think all children are wild, but these feral youngsters lived that adage to the extreme. From the forests of Germany to the jungles of India, untamed children have held society’s fascination for centuries.
Kamala And Amala
Kamala and Amala were discovered in 1921 in the jungles of Midnapore by a missionary named Reverend Joseph Singh. Singh took the girls, approximately aged eight and two, from a wolf den. They ran on all fours, howled, and had no interest in human interaction. Neither lived long past their capture. Amala perished within a year and Kamala within five, having learned to speak about 50 words. Like many tales of feral children, Kamala and Amala’s story has been called into question. French researcher Serge Aroles speculates that Singh may have fabricated most of the story to raise funds for the orphanage he was operating.
John Of Liege
The story of John of Liège dates back to a 1644 account by Sir Kenelm Digby. Digby described a 21-year-old man who was caught trying to steal food from a farm. The man originally fled to the woods at the age of five to escape the fighting of civil war, but never returned to civilization. Instead, he spent the years in the forest, surviving off roots and berries.
Memmie Le Blanc
Memmie le Blanc, known as the “Savage Girl of Champagne,” first appeared in the village of Songi, France. When a villager tried to scare her back into the woods by setting a large dog on her, the child killed it with a quick hit from the club she carried. When she was finally captured, the villagers took her to the Viscount d’Epinoy, who watched in fascination as the girl tore through the carcass of an unskinned rabbit his cook was preparing. In 1731, the Viscount sent for the girl to be educated at a nearby hospital. She was often asked back to his chateau, however, and would terrify party attendees by putting frogs on their dinner plates.
She was baptized Marie-Angelique Memmie Le Blanc. Over the course of the next 10 years, she learned French and was later the subject of a contemporary biography that described her arrival in France via slave ship. Recent researchers believe she may have been a Meskwaki native born in the present day area of Wisconsin.
The story of “Leopard Boy” can be found in the recordings of British ornithologist and police officer E.C. Stuart Baker. A January 1, 1921 article in the Schenectady Gazette describes a scenario where Stuart was overseeing a pool of forced laborers mending a road near the village of Dhunghi. One man approached Stuart and said that if he were forced to work, no one would be able to look after his feral son and the boy would run back to the jungle. The man produced a boy who squatted on all fours and appeared to have some form of cataracts on his eyes. According the story told in the paper, the boy had been stolen by a leopard as an infant and assumed dead. Instead, he was found with her cubs when the animal was killed three years later.
Lobo Wolf Girl Of Devil’s Rive
In 1835, settlers John and Molly Dent were passing through a part of Texas now known as Devil’s River. Mrs. Dent was heavily pregnant and went into labor during a fierce storm. Her husband went to seek help, but was struck by lightening. Rescuers later found Mrs. Dent dead, having given birth. The infant was missing and there were wolf tracks surrounding the site, so no thorough search was conducted. Ten years later, a boy near San Felipe Springs supposedly saw a girl who traveled with a pack of wolves, hunting and eating livestock with them. Little evidence of this wolf girl exists, and the tale bears some resemblance to a campfire story.
Peter The Wild Boy
“Peter” was found in the Hertswold forest of northern Germany in 1725. The boy, who appeared to be about age 12, was filthy and walked on all fours. After some time in a corrections cell, he was taken to George, Duke of Hanover. The duke initially tried to feed and clothe the boy, whom he called Peter, but was repelled by his lack of manners. After being passed around the European courts and becoming something of a celebrity, Peter was brought to the countryside to live out his days in obscurity. He died at the age of 72, having never learned to speak more than a word or two.
Dina Sanichar’s story is similar to that of Amala and Kamala. He was also found with wolves in a cave, this time in the Bulandshahr region of India. Hunters believed him to be an animal at first, but found a six-year-old boy instead. He was taken to an orphanage in Agra, but never assimilated to human society, preferring bones and raw meat to cooked food. He died in 1895.
Marina Chapman was kidnapped from her home village in Columbia in 1954 and abandoned in the jungle at the age of five. She supposedly survived by living with capuchin monkeys for approximately five years, observing their habits and eating food that they dropped. Eventually rescued by hunters, Chapman now lives in England and has published a book called “The Girl With No Name” about her experiences.
Wolf Children Of WWII
German orphans at the end of WWII were known as “wolf children” in areas of Poland and the Soviet Union for their wolf-like, feral wanderings through the wilderness. In 1945, hundreds of wolf children scoured the woods and roads of Prussia, having been orphaned by the advancement of the Red Army. Many of them died of cold or starvation, but others were taken in by sympathetic Lithuanians in rural areas.
The bizarre tale of Kaspar Hauser began in 1828, when a teenaged boy wandered into the streets of Nuremberg, Germany. He told local police that he had been held captive in a small room for a prolonged amount of time and was able to write his name as Kaspar Hauser. The boy was taken in and tutored by a schoolmaster, who found him to be a quick learner. Hauser died in 1833 in a manner as strange as his initial appearance. Before dying of his wounds, he claimed that a stranger had given him a bag containing a cryptic note, then stabbed him in the chest. To this day, Hauser’s origin and sudden death remain a mystery.