nthposition online magazine

Born to be wild

by Paul Sieveking

[ strangeness - july 02 ]

One day in 1991, a Ugandan villager called Milly Sebba went further than usual in search of firewood and came upon a little boy with a pack of monkeys. She summoned help and the boy was cornered up a tree. He was brought back to Milly's village and fed hot food, which made him very ill for three days. He had many wounds and scales, and a lot of hair. His knees were almost white from walking on them. His nails were very long and curled round and he wasn't house-trained. The villagers removed tapeworms from his behind, some of them reportedly 4ft long.

A villager identified the boy as John Sesebunya, last seen in 1988 at the age of two or three when his father murdered his mother and disappeared. After John was discovered, his father was traced, but was not interested in caring for the wild boy. A few weeks later the father was found hanged, a victim of civil unrest. After his mother was murdered John had fled to the jungle, apparently terrified he would be next.

For the next three years or so, he lived wild. He vaguely remembers monkeys coming up to him, after a few days, and offering him roots and nuts, sweet potatoes and kasava. The five monkeys, two of them young, were wary at first, but befriended him within about two weeks and taught him, he says, to travel with them, to search for food and to climb trees. "I didn't sleep very well," he remembers, "head down and bottom in the air... or I would climb a tree." Some sources say John's guardians were Vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus æthiops); others say they were black-and-white Colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza).

The boy was adopted by Paul and Molly Wasswa, who run the Kamuzinda Christian Orphanage in Masaka, 100 miles from Kampala. He has been studied by a host of experts, who are convinced that he is a genuine feral child. When left with a group of monkeys he avoided eye contact and approached them from the side with open palms, in classic simian fashion. He has a strange lopsided gait and pulls his lips right back when he smiles. He tends to greet people with a powerful hug, in the way that monkeys greet each other. He has, however, learned to wink - something a monkey would never do.

He is now about 16 years old with a fine singing voice, and in October 1999 came to Britain as part of the 20-strong Pearl of Africa Children's Choir, run by Mr Wasswa's organisation AFRICA (Association for Relief and Instruction of Children in Africa).

The village of Baragdava stands on the small river Kuano in the Basti district of Uttar Pradesh in northern India, near the border with Nepal. One afternoon in February 1973, the local priest was walking across the nearby dam across the Kuano when he caught sight of a naked boy loping towards the water. He appeared to walk out on the water to mid-stream. Suddenly he dived in and emerged a minute later with a large fish which he ate, before floating downstream. The priest told the villagers of his sighting, and when he described the lad and estimated that he was about 15, an old woman called Somni said he was her son Ramchandra who had been carried away by the river when he was a year old.

Another villager saw him a few days later, and for a while there was considerable local interest, and people flocked to the river to see him; but he was not to be found. Then in May 1979, Somni spotted him lying in a field. She crept up on him and recognised a birthmark on his back. He awoke and fled. A strict watch was mounted, he was caught and taken to the village.

He was virtually hairless and his ebony-black skin had a greenish tinge. He managed to escape back to the river, but his experience of human society made him less reclusive, and he would come and eat bowls of spinach in water put out for him. Hundreds of villagers, policemen, officials of the irrigation department, and hard-boiled journalists saw him recline on the surface of the water, and stay submerged for longer than ordinary humans could manage. Among the witnesses was Nazir Malik, who wrote up the story for the Allahabad magazine, Probe India (February 1981).

The boy's insteps and toes were very hard and walked with a clumsy, loping gait, often holding one hand to his forehead. He was unable to speak (or hear, according to some witnesses). He ate fish, frogs and other marine creatures, raw meat, leafy vegetables, gourds and red chillies. He reached for food directly with his mouth. In summer months when Kuano dried to a trickle, he was ill at ease; but when the river rose in floods, he was gleeful and enjoyed diving in the swift current. It was a mystery how he avoided the jaws of the many crocodiles.

In 1985, Hubert Adamson, an estate agent in Hampstead with a keen interest in feral children, visited Baragdava to find out more about the river boy. From the head man he learned that the boy was dead. One evening in 1982, at the age of about 24, he had approached a chai shop in the village of Sanrigar, some 300 yards from the river. A woman, possibly taking fright at his appearance or rejecting a clumsy sexual advance, threw boiling water over him. Dazed and in pain, he ran back to the river, never to emerge again. His body, badly blistered and mutilated by fish bites, was later found in the river. The police considered bringing charges against the woman, but these were later dropped.

Mutus, tetrapus, hirsutus

In 1758, Carl Linnæus, the great biological classifier, introduced six species of man (Homo): H ferens, H americanus, H europaeus, H asiaticus, H afer and H monstrosus. Homo ferens was characterised as mutus, tetrapus and hirsutus (a mute quadruped covered with hair). The attribution of hairiness was probably influenced by the legend of the hirsute wodewose (the mediæval wild man of the woods), but a number of feral children are thus described. Linnæus provided anecdotal case histories of varying reliability: the Hesse wolf-boy (1344), the Bamberg calf-boy (16th cent), Jean de Liège (17th cent), a Lithuanian bear-boy (1661), the Irish sheep-boy (1672), the Kranenburg girl (1717), the Pyrenees boys (1719), Wild Peter of Hanover (1724), and the savage girl from Champagne (1731).

Many academics regarded the whole phenomenon of feral children with scepticism. Most of the children never learnt to speak, while those that did could recall very little of their wild existence. Similarly, the circumstances of their discovery were by their nature anecdotal, taking place far from habitation and often depending on the testimony of a solitary witness. Many accounts of feral children have been embroidered with fantastic details, inviting academic disdain. Dismissing testimony as superstition and folklore became commonplace in 19th century science, to the detriment of folk wisdom and forteana.

Robert Kerr, whose translation of Linnæus appeared in 1792, dismissed Homo ferens as imposture and exaggeration. Of course, Linnæus's six species of man are eccentric to the modern eye, but denying the very possibility of wild humans is a step too far. The 1811 survey of feral cases by JF Blumenbach, the father of physical anthropology, has been characterised as inadequate and unfair. In 1830 the Swedish naturalist KA Rudolphi proclaimed that all the feral children were either fictional or congenital idiots, and this became the orthodox view, reinforced by Sir Edward Tylor, the father of social anthropology. According to Claude Levi Strauss in 1949, "most of these children suffered from some congenital defect, and their abandonment should therefore be treated as the consequence of the abnormality which almost all display and not, as often happens, as its cause."

It's true that a few feral children were mentally or physically handicapped. Many others, however, were not; and neither were they intentionally abandoned, but had escaped from abusive parents or were lost by accident or in the chaos of war - and surviving without human help required considerable native intelligence.

Note Levi Strauss's qualifying phrases "most of" and "almost all"; some of the case histories refuse to be explained away in this fashion, particularly those of Victor of Aveyron, Kaspar Hauser and the Midnapore wolf-girls Kamala and Amala, described in detail by persons of standing - respectively a doctor, a lawyer and a priest. As with all strange phenomena, it only requires one case to be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt to allow the possibility that many of the others are also true.

Sir Kenelm Digby, later one of the Royal Society's founders, is the first to mention Jean de Liège in 1644, having interviewed those who had seen him a few years earlier. As a five-year-old during the religious wars, Jean took to the woods with fellow villagers. When the fighting moved elsewhere, the villagers returned home, but the timorous Jean remained in hiding for 16 years. In the wild, his senses sharpened; he could scent "wholesome fruits or roots" at a great distance. When he was finally captured at the age of about 21, he was naked, "all overgrown with hair", and incapable of speech. In human society, he learned to talk, but lost his acute sense of smell.

The first really famous feral child was Wild Peter, "a naked, brownish, black-haired creature" captured near Helpensen in Hanover in 1724, when he was about 12. He climbed trees with ease, lived off plants and seemed incapable of speech. He refused bread, preferring to strip the bark from green twigs and suck on the sap; but he eventually learnt to eat fruit and vegetables. He was presented at court in Hanover to George I, and taken to England, where he was studied by leading men of letters. He spent 68 years in society, but never learnt to say anything except "Peter" and "King George", although his hearing and sense of smell were said to be "particularly acute".

The wild girl of Champagne had probably learned to speak before her abandonment, for she is a rare example of a wild child learning to talk coherently - although she could remember little of her feral existence, which she thought had lasted two years. When coaxed from a tree in Songi near Chalons in the French district of Champagne in 1731, she was aged about 10, barefoot, and dressed in rags and skins with a gourd leaf on her head. In a pouch she carried a cudgel and a knife inscribed with indecipherable characters. She shrieked and squeaked, and was so dirty (or possibly painted) that she was mistaken for a black child. Her diet consisted of birds, frogs and fish, leaves, branches and roots. Given a rabbit, she immediately skinned and devoured it.

"Her fingers and in particular her thumbs, were extraordinarily large," according to a contemporary witness, the famous scientist Charles Marie de la Condamine. She is said to have used her thumbs to dig out roots and swing from tree to tree like a monkey. She was a very fast runner and had phenomenally sharp eyesight. When the Queen of Poland, the mother of the French queen, passed through Champagne in 1737 to take possession of the Duchy of Lorraine, she heard about the girl and took her hunting, where she outran and killed rabbits. She was given the name Marie-Angélique Memmie Le Blanc, and later eked out an existence in Paris by making artificial flowers and hawking her memoirs (written by Madame Hecquet). She died, like most of the feral children, in obscurity.

The two major feral cases of the 19th century are Victor of Aveyron, made famous by Francois Truffaut's wonderful film L'Enfant Sauvage, and Kaspar Hauser, the subject of Werner Herzog's haunting film of the same name. A great deal has been written about both of these, so I will not describe them here. There are about 80 examples of feral children, 53 of which are listed in Malson's book (see bibliography).

Victor, Kaspar and Kamala represent the three main types of feral child: in isolation, in confinement, and among animals. Children locked up for years often develop autistic symptoms, leading the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim in 1959 to lump all three types under the heading of infantile autism. "While there are no feral children," he wrote, "there are some very rare examples of feral mothers, of human beings who become feral to one of their children." This denial of genuine feral cases is closely related to the orthodox anthropological position and requires an unwarranted dismissal of remarkably consistent evidence and testimony.

Mother wolves

"In all my travels, the only time I ever slept deeply was when I was with wolves... The days with my wolf family multiplied. I have no idea how many months I spent with them but I wanted it to last forever - it was far better than returning to the world of my own kind. Today, though most memories of my long journey are etched in tones of grey, the time spent with the wolves... is drenched in colour. Those were the most beautiful days I had ever experienced." So wrote Misha Defonseca, a Jewish orphan who, from the ages of seven to 11, wandered through occupied Europe in World War II, living on wild berries, raw meat and food stolen from farmhouses, and occasionally teaming up with wolves.

Another child who had learned language before his life with wolves was Marcos Pantoja, "the wild child of the Sierra Morena", who was about seven when he was abandoned in the desolate mountainous forests of southwest Spain in 1953. He spent the next 12 years without speaking to another human being.

Since the suckling of Romulus and Remus, the wolf has been associated with the rearing and protection of children in the wild. A seven-year-old boy was supposedly captured from a wolf lair in the German state of Hesse in 1344, but the first published account was in a work by the medical writer Phillipus Camerius, published in Frankfurt in 1609. The boy described his capture by wolves at the age of three. They offered him the pick of the hunting spoils, carpeted a pit with leaves to protect him from the cold and made him run on all fours until he had attained their speed and could make the most prodigious leaps. After his capture, he frequently stated that he would rather associate with wolves than human beings.

Fourteen wolf-children were found in India between 1841 and 1895, seven of which were described by General WH Sleeman, the nemesis of the Thugee cult. The first was captured in Hasunpur (near Sultanpur in what is now Uttar Pradesh), and showed most of the typical wolf child characteristics. His favourite food was raw meat, and he was unable to speak. "There were evident signs, on his knees and elbows, of his having gone on all-fours," wrote Sleeman; "and when asked to run on all-fours, he used to do so, and went so fast that no-one could overtake him."

The most famous wolf-children are the two girls captured in October 1920 from a huge abandoned ant-hill squatted by wolves near Godamuri in the vicinity of Midnapore, west of Calcutta, by villagers under the direction of the Rev JAL Singh, an Anglican missionary. The mother wolf was shot. The girls were named Kamala and Amala, and were thought to be aged about eight and two. According to Singh, the girls had misshapen jaws, elongated canines, and eyes that shone in the dark with the peculiar blue glare of cats and dogs. Amala died the following year, but Kamala survived until 1929, by which time she had given up eating carrion, had learned to walk upright and spoke about 50 words.

In May 1972, a boy aged about four was discovered in the forest of Musafirkhana, about 20 miles from Sultanpur, the region where five of the wolf-children mentioned by Sleeman came from. The boy was playing with wolf cubs. He had very dark skin, long hooked fingernails, matted hair and calluses on his palms, elbows and knees. He shared several characteristics with Kamala and Amala: sharpened teeth, craving for blood, earth-eating, chicken-hunting, love of darkness and friendship with dogs and jackals. He was named Shamdeo and taken to the village of Narayanpur. Although weaned off raw meat, he never talked, but learnt some sign language. In 1978 he was admitted to Mother Theresa's Home for the Destitute and Dying in Lucknow, where he was re-named Pascal and was visited by Bruce Chatwin in 1978. He died in February 1985.

Care bears

According to the Athenian historian Apollodorus, the Greek heroine Atalanta was abandoned by her father Iasus at birth because he desired a son; but she was suckled by a she-bear till hunters found her and brought her up among themselves.

News reports do suggest that, given the right conditions, bears will take care of human infants. In 1971, five-year-old Goranka Cuculic got lost in the forest near her home village of Vranje in Yugoslavia. Three days later she was found by a farmer and related how she had met a bear and two cubs. The bear licked her face, and she played with the cubs and snuggled up to them at night in a cave. In October 2001, a 16-month-old toddler went missing in Iran and was found in a bears' den three days later, safe and well. It was thought that the baby had been breast-fed by a mother bear.

There are accounts of children raised by bears in Denmark and the mountains of Savoy in the early 17th century. In 1669 hunters in a Lithuanian forest saw two little boys among a group of bears. They captured one and took him to Warsaw where he was named Joseph and presented to the king of Poland, who later passed him to the Vice Chamberlain of Posnan. Several times, Joseph escaped to the woods where he would suck the sap of trees and gather wild honey and crab apples. Once a wild bear, notorious for having killed two men, was seen to approach him and lick his face. Other Lithuanian bear-children were captured in 1661 and 1694. It was suggested that they had become separated from their families following raids by marauding Tartars.

A 14-year-old wild girl was caught in the jungle near Naini Lal, Uttar Pradesh, in July 1914. Named Goongi ('dumb'), she ran with great agility on her hands and feet and was covered all over with a thick growth of hair. She refused a bed and cooked food, and slept under a bundle of straw. The hunter Jim Corbett speculated that she had been brought up by bears, pointing out that her climbing ability, eating habits and diet were similar to bears, and that the deep scratches on the upper part of her body could well have been caused by being carried by bears.

In 1937 George Maranz described a visit to a Turkish lunatic asylum in Bursa, Turkey, where he met a girl who had allegedly lived with bears for many years. Hunters in a mountainous forest near Adana had shot a she-bear and then been attacked by a powerful little "wood spirit". Finally overcome, this turned out to be a human child, though utterly bear-like in her voice, habits and physique. She refused all cooked food and slept on a mattress in a dark corner of her room. Investigations showed that a two-year-old child had disappeared from a nearby village 14 years earlier, and it was presumed that a bear had adopted her.

The gazelle boy

Jean-Claude Auger, an anthropologist from the Basque country, was travelling alone across the Spanish Sahara (Rio de Oro) in 1960 when he met some Nemadi nomads, who told him about a wild child a day's journey away. The next day, he followed the nomads' directions. On the horizon he saw a naked child "galloping in gigantic bounds among a long cavalcade of white gazelles".

Auger found a small oasis of thorn bushes and date palms and waited for the herd. Three days later, his patience was rewarded, but it took several more days of sitting and playing his galoubet (Berber flute) to win the animals' confidence. Eventually, the child approached him, showing "his lively, dark, almond-shaped eyes and a pleasant, open expression... he appears to be about 10 years old; his ankles are disproportionately thick and obviously powerful, his muscles firm and shivering; a scar, where a piece of flesh must have been torn from the arm, and some deep gashes mingled with light scratches (thorn bushes or marks of old struggles?) form a strange tattoo."

The boy walked on all fours, but occasionally assumed an upright gait, suggesting to Auger that he was abandoned or lost at about seven or eight months, having already learnt to stand. He habitually twitched his muscles, scalp, nose and ears, much like the rest of the herd, in response to the slightest noise. Even in deepest sleep he seemed constantly alert, raising his head at unusual noises, however faint, and sniffing around him like the gazelles.

Auger describes how he gradually learnt to decipher the significance of every gazelle gesture and movement, which the boy shared with the herd. There was a complex code of stamping to indicate distance of food sources; and social interaction through exchanges of licking and sniffing, with the boy emitting a kind of mute cry from the back of his throat with his mouth closed. He had one word: kal (khah), meaning stone or rock. One senior female seemed to act as his adoptive mother. He would eat desert roots with his teeth, pucking his nostrils like the gazelles. He appeared to be herbivorous apart from the occasional agama lizard or worm when plant life was lacking. His teeth edges were level like those of a herbivorous animal.

Two years after his stay with the herd, Auger returned with a Spanish army captain and his aid-de-camp, who kept their distance to avoid frightening the herd off. Curiosity eventually overcame them and they chased the boy in a jeep to see how fast he could run. This frightened him off altogether, though he reached a speed of 32-34mph, with continuous leaps of about 13ft. Olympic sprinters can reach only 25mph in short bursts.

His pursuers failed to keep up across the rough terrain, and eventually the herd disappeared as the jeep sustained a puncture. In 1966 an unsuccessful attempt was made to catch the boy in a net suspended from a helicopter; unlike most of the feral children of whom we have records, the gazelle boy was never removed from his wild companions. Auger took no photographs of the boy, being more concerned with protecting him from human interference than providing evidence to convince the sceptics of his existence.

A newspaper report in 1946 described an earlier gazelle-boy caught in the Syrian desert, but this was apparently a fabrication.

The leopard-boy

A leopard-child was reported by EC Stuart Baker in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (July 1920). Since he was in administrative charge of the North Cachar Hills at the time when he investigated the case, he was in an excellent position to obtain a true account of the facts. The boy was stolen from his parents by a leopardess in the North Cachar Hills near Assam in about 1912, and three years later recovered and identified. "At the time the child ran on all fours almost as fast as an adult man could run, whilst in dodging in and out of bushes and other obstacles he was much cleverer and quicker. His knees [..] had hard callosities on them and his toes were retained upright almost at right angles to his instep. The palms of his hands and pads of his toes and thumbs were also covered with very tough horny skin. When first caught, he bit and fought with everyone [..] and any wretched village fowl which came within his reach was seized, torn to pieces and eaten with extraordinary rapidity."

Dog-boys

In June 2001, an 11-year-old boy called Alex Rivas was rescued from the sea as he tried to escape from the police. For many months, he had been living with a pack of about 15 stray dogs in a cave near the southern Chilean port of Talcahuano, scavenging out of dustbins and drinking milk from the teat of a bitch that had recently given birth. Filthy and with his teeth rotting from dog milk and drugs, he was known to local people as "Dog Boy" and would snarl at any human who tried to approach him. He was described as extremely violent, malnourished, hyperactive and inarticulate. He had broken front teeth, a scarred cheek, and was suffering from hypothermia.

After being abandoned by his 16-year-old mother when he was only five months old, he had a disrupted childhood before being put into a children's home in Chillancito, near Concepcion, in 1998. He constantly ran away, only to be caught. He finally joined the dog pack and managed to evade capture. In November 2001, he again escaped from the Chillancito children's home and I have seen no further reports.

A feral child was caught in the Brasov region of Transylvania, Romania, in early February 2002. Early one morning, shepherd Manolescu Ioan came upon a naked, wild-eyed child living in a cardboard box and covered with a plastic sheet. He was eating from the carcass of a dead dog. Manolescu reported his find to the police, who later captured the boy.

It was believed he had lived alone in the forest for years, but doctors thought that he must have had some protection; perhaps he had been looked after by some of the many wild dogs in the region. He was the size of a normal four-year-old, but his missing front milk teeth pointed to an age of seven. He had rickets, anæmia, the distended belly of the half-starved, and frostbite on his feet and legs. His face and head were scarred and scabbed. He ate whatever he was given, but didn't recognise fruit. He was not toilet-trained. Hospital personnel in Fargas called him Mowgli, after the character in Kipling's Jungle Book.

The chief nurse of the children's ward said: "He only knows two words - 'Mama' and 'food' - and is very happy in his bedroom at the hospital as long as there is food there. He has dark hair and dark eyes and once his hair was washed and cut and he was given a bath he looked really presentable, but he tends to walk like a chimp rather than upright and tries to sleep under his bed rather than on it. But if he has some food in his hand he is the nicest little chap."

About a week after his capture, he was identified as Traian Caldarar, lost three years ago at the age of four. After being re-educated at an orphanage in Brasov, he was reunited in April with his mother Lina Caldarar, 23, in the remote village of Vistea de Jos, less than seven miles from where he was found in February. "I loved my son, but I had a violent husband who beat me," she said. Traian Ciurar, 24, the boy's father, is married to Ms Caldarar under gypsy law. When she fled back to her family to escape her husband's cruelty, he prevented her from taking her son. She believes he ran away for the same reason. "I was distraught but there was nothing I could do," she said. "I hoped he had perhaps been adopted by another family."

Traian appears to be on the mend, but he is still not house-trained. "Someone needs to keep an eye on him at all times because it's easy for him to get hurt," said his mother. "He still can't identify the dangers in the street. Like an untrained puppy, he'll just run across the road, regardless of whether there are cars coming."

Feral characteristics

Many wild children were extraordinarily fast quadrupedal runners - almost 'superhuman'. We might recall that Atalanta, the bear-suckled heroine of Greek myth, was the most swift-footed of mortals. When first captured, Memmie Le Blanc moved with "a sort of flying gallop" and could out-run game; and the Saharan gazelle-boy was clocked at 7mph faster than the best Olympic sprinter.

A facility for tree-climbing was another common trait. Peter, Memmie, Victor and the Ugandan John Sesebunya were all agile arborialists; the last three were cornered up trees before their capture. The wolf-child of Overdyke in Holland, abandoned during the Napoleonic wars, climbed trees with wonderful agility to get eggs and birds, which he devoured raw. 'Tarzancito', the wild boy of El Salvador (1935) slept in trees to avoid predators.

A number of ferals were hirsute, including Jean de Liège (17th cent), the second Lithuanian bear-child (1669), the Kranenburg girl (1717), the wild boy of Kronstadt (fl.1784), the second Hasunpur wolf-child (1843), the Shajampur child (1898), and the Naini Lal bear-child (1914). A young man caught in woods near Riga, Latvia, in November 1936 was allegedly "covered in long thick hair".

"Over time all my senses were heightened - my vision, my hearing, even my sense of smell," wrote Misha Defonseca, the Jewish orphan who wandered through Nazi-occupied Europe. "That hypersensitivity stayed with me for a very long time after I left the forest".

Feral senses were often more acute than those of socialised humans. Kaspar Hauser and many of the Indian wolf-children, including the Midnapore girls, could see well in the dark. Jean de Liège could recognise his warden by smell from a distance; Kamala could smell meat from one end of the orphanage garden - a compound of three and a half acres - to the other; and many wild children sniffed at objects in the way that cats and dogs do. Victor of Aveyron, the first Sultanpur child (1847), Kamala and Amala had an unusually sharp sense of hearing.

Many wild children had a keen ear for music. Peter was delighted by music, and would clap and sing. Memmie was a perfect mimic of songbirds such as the nightingale. The Overdyke boy named each bird by imitating its cry. A naked youth aged about 15, caught in woods near Uzitza, Yugoslavia, in 1934, could mimic animals and birds as well as run amazingly fast. The Turkish bear-girl responded to music, sometimes bursting into wild, unintelligible songs. John Sesebunya sings in a choir.

Another curious phenomenon is the wild children's insensitivity to extremes of temperature, a characteristic shared with desert nomad and gypsy children. This was seen in the Irish sheep-boy, Victor, the Kronstadt boy, the first Sultanpur child, the Midnapore girls, and the Saharan gazelle-boy. The latter was seen to grab a handful of hot embers and hold them for some time without apparent pain, while Victor took potatoes out of a pot of boiling water. At least eight ferals angrily tore off any clothing they were dressed in.

Hardly any of them learnt to laugh or smile and their libidos seemed stunted. Kaspar confused dreams with reality and spoke of himself in the third person. Neither Victor nor Kaspar could recognise their reflections in a mirror; the Turkish bear-girl would sit for hours in her room gazing at herself in a mirror. Auger observed the gazelle-boy looking at his reflection in a pool of water as if it were a stranger.

Select bibliography

Jean-Claude Armen pseud (Jean-Claude Auger): L'Enfant Sauvage du Grand Désert (1971), translated as Gazelle Boy (Universe Books, NY, and Bodley Head, 1974).
Bruno Bettelheim: "Feral Children and Autistic Children" (American Journal of Sociology, Mar 1959.)
Misha Defonseca: Misha: a Mémoire of the Holocaust Years (Mount Ivy Press, Boston 1997).
Charles Maclean: The Wolf Children (Penguin 1977).
Lucien Malson: Les Enfants Sauvages (1964), translated as Wolf Children (NLB 1972).
Gabriel Janer Manila: Marcos: Wild Child of the Sierra Morena (Souvenir 1982).
Michael Newton: Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A history of feral children (Faber 2002).
Robert M Zingg: "Feral Man and Extreme Cases of Isolation" (The American Journal of Psychology, v.LIII, No.4