Feral children, also known as wild children are human children who have been separated from human contact at a very tender age. Very often, they become subjects of legends and folklore.
It is clear then that they display no experience of human care, behavior or language. Acording to some, these children feel no self-awareness and barely have ‘ordinary human experiences. In such cases the human personality also remains undiscovered. This is because living outside the family, and peers, they are unable to develop with the state to the level of a social being.
Sociological opinion on feral children
The sociological concept states that a person becomes a conscious member of society when he lives in a social environment. When he experiences the things that an individual goes through within it. However, for the feral children, they lived outside society for a long time. Sadly, they had no chance to learn anything more than what they had a personal experience.
The above descriptions sound like a fantasy film script or some fictitious story. Yet there are several such cases throughout the globe.
Feral children give rise to one of the most persistent questions in science: is there a human nature? “Man is not born human. He does have the ability to become human. Learning to speak a language, for example, is a human exclusivity that can only be achieved through contact with others who speak”, says Luci Banks-Leite, from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp).
Indeed, in these children’s life stories, a factor among others stands out. They processed impressive ability to survive in the most adverse conditions. This include facing cold, heat and, often, the attack of animals.
Types of feral children cases
Researchers have divided feral children cases into three main types.
- the one who lived isolated from other human beings
- one who adopted by animals
- the one who remained confined
The wild child was trotting, sniffing, and gnawed on food. He loved the fields and had an aversion to wearing clothes and consuming cooked food.
Instead of speaking the boy used to make guttural sounds. His eyes never displayed any expression. His touch, smell, and hearing were apparently insensitive.
They called the child the Savage of Aveyron. However, later the French doctor and educator Jean Itard, who took him in charge gave him the name ‘Victor’.
According to the doctor, the boy gave scientists an incredible opportunity to “determine the degree of intelligence and the nature of the ideas of a teenager who, deprived since childhood of any education, had lived entirely separate from individuals of his species”.
This boy is one of the most famous feral children and has inspired countless books and even movies such as The Wild Boy, 1969.
Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Another such person is Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja. They sold him to a hermitic goat-herder when he was 7. After the latter’s death, he stayed with the wolves in the Sierra Morena.
When he turned to nineteen years old that he returned to the civilized world but it was too late. He had a lot of difficulties adjusting to this new world as he has been living with the wolves and adapting to their ways for so many years.
There is a Ph.D. thesis on him by Gabriel Janer Manila. The title was I Have Played With Wolves.
Feral children adopted by animals
Kamala and Amala from Midnapore were also feral children, raised by wolves in the 20th century. Rev. Joseph Singh was traveling on a spiritual mission to India when he heard about the legend of two girls.
Intrigued, he went to look for them. However, when he finally found them, he was stunned seeing them both walking on all fours. According to reports, before leaving the cave in which they hid, the girls used to pop their heads out and looked suspiciously to the sides.
They were so wild that they had to be captured. Subsequently, they were sent to the orphanage where Rev Singh was the director. He raised them with the help of his wife.
Kamala was around 8 years old and Amala, was less than 2 years old. The two wild children had peculiar characteristics. They were carnivorous and drank water by licking. For some reasons they had a horror of light and would spend the whole day aloof. However, at night they would howl and groan.
Amala did not survive for long outside the woods. After less than two years, the feral child died of nephritis, kidney inflammation. That was then that Kamala cried for the very first time since her arrival at the orphanage.
“Would she have cried if Amala had died in the jungle? Or is it that, in the time she lived with humans, the girl learned to cry?”, Asks professor Luci.
“These are unanswered questions. But Kamala may have learned. Crying and laughter are not just reflections of the human being. They are built socially.”
Kamala lived for nine years, then away with the same illness as her sister. At that time, she was a teenager of about 17 years.
Another similar story again happened in India in 1974, in a small remote village called Theiva. Afour-year-old girl named Ng Chhaida and her cousin Beirakh disappeared without a trace.
The villagers found Beirakh around a week later near a local stream. However, there was no clue of his cousin. The intriguing part was; no one was able to grasp what he was saying. According to the villagers, the boy has been possessed by an evil spirit.
However, the following day, the boy’s condition was back to normal, and was able to speak normally. He explained that a woman who lives in the forest found them and sheltered them. Subsequently, they took the boy back to the place he told about. Surprisingly, they found nothing. Years went by and there was still no news of Ng Chhaida.
Around four decades later, she came back on her own. Obviously, she was no more the cheerful little girl anymore. Despite the fact that she used to speak fluently, after her return she would communicate through gestures and grunts only.
It was only after a long while that she started to express some of the emotions. She would stroke the face of her friends when they are sad and would clap her hands when she was happy.
Wild children Confined
In 1828, a teenage boy, strangely dressed, knocked at the door of a house. He had in his procession a few things, including a handkerchief with his initials, a rosary, prayers and a little gold dust. He also had a letter addressed to the captain of the 4th Squadron of the 6th Cavalry Regiment of Nuremberg, Germany.
In the letter, a woman claimed that the boy was hers and a member of the Cavalry. There was another note by a poor worker whom the boy was entrusted to. According to the letter, the orders were clear: keep the young man confined!
Unlike most feral children cases, the teenager spoke. However, only two sentences were understandable: “I don’t know” and “I would like to be a knight like my father was”. The boy also knew how to read and wrote rudimentary.
According to what he has scribble with a feather, his name is Kaspar Hauser. Nonetheless, his origins remained unknown. There are several speculations about his identity. This includes the possibility of him being the Prince of Baden, son of Grand Duke Carlos de Baden and Grand Duchess Estefania de Beauharnais.
But, as other German nobles did not want the crown to continue in this line, they would have taken the couple’s son and confined him in the cellar. This story has also inspired countless books and a film such as The Enigma by Kaspar Hauser. Some soldiers picked up the little boy. Afterward, Professor George Daumer took his custody. the feral child died at the age of 22.
Kevin and Yovem
One recent case of feral children is that of Kevin and Yovem from Mauritius. The story dates back to five years ago, in 2015. For those who know the story, it is something which surpasses all expectations.
For around ten years the two brothers, spent their lives confined by their parents day and night in their house. Most nights, they were tied up to their beds and lived in inhuman conditions. The house was in a completely deplorable state and totally lacked of hygiene. The two undernourished brothers were fed with cat food.
Thanks to a press investigation, the two boys were set free. They received psychiatric and the parents were arrested.