Have you ever heard of feral children? They’re kids who lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and have little or no experience of human care, behavior or human language. Certain movies like the jungle book and Tarzan portray the lives of these types of children. Many people wonder about their phycology, sociology and their stories.
Among those children is Marina, a lesser known “feral child”. If you don’t know anything about her, you may see her as a normal woman in everyday life.
She’s an author in Bradford, England. Publishers refused to publish her autobiography thinking that was just a lie, but it was a real-life horror story she survived to tell the world about. Marina was kidnapped for ransom when she was young but was later abandoned in the Colombian Jungle. Yes, some monsters left this young child to survive on her own in a jungle. Luckily, she was “adopted” into a group of capuchin monkeys, who are known for their acceptance of other animals or in this case humans.
They taught her to catch birds and rabbits with her bare hands. Fortunately, she learned to survive and take care of herself for an excruciating 5 years before she was “rescued” by hunters. Her hell didn’t end there. She was sold to a brothel where she would have no social skills or language capabilities. She then ran away to another living hell, becoming a slave to a mafia family. With luck on her side, she escaped to Bradford England with some connections she made in the brothel and managed to get a job as a nanny.
She got married and later established a family. Of course, over these years she experienced malnutrition and had a very limited diet. This amazing story has gone unrecognized for years and needs to be heard to bring awareness to the issue of these feral children. The story of John of Liege is, he was known as the “earliest accounts of a feral child”. He’s a boy who spent most of his early years in isolation in the Belgian wilderness. In 1644, an account by Sir Kenelm Digby said that, John first ran into the woods at the age of 5 to escape enemy soldiers during an extensive war based on religion, meanwhile, his family and the rest of the village returned to their homes after the danger passed. Either he never knew it was safe to go back or was too terrified to return to civilization, we’ll never know. What we do know is he was lost and living deep in the wilderness, where he survived for 16 years, alone. He survived on roots and berries. John was eventually spotted at a local farm trying to steal. By then he was reported to have been naked and hairy all over his body. He forgot most of his language. after so many years in the forest he developed a dog-like sense of smell allowing him to sniff out food from a great distance. John eventually began talking again, and his heightened senses dulled once back in society. These cases are the most amazing stories considering their circumstances. On the other hand, some kids weren’t as lucky. Often known as the “Wolf Boy”, Dina Sanichar was the first discovered in 1867, after a band of hunters spotted what they thought was a wild animal sleeping in a cave, in the Bulandshahr district located in the northern region of India. When the men spooked this “creature” out of the cave they were astonished to discover a boy around the age of 6. No one knows how he got there, where he came from or how he even got lost in the forest in the first place. The hunters brought him to Sikandar Mission Orphanage in Arga, India. Where he was later taking the name of Dina Sanichar. Missionaries spent the next several years trying to rehabilitate this young boy back to normal. Unfortunately, mother nature took its toll on the young kids’ mentality and never recovered fully. He never even learned how to talk before his death in 1895, 28 years after he was found. He never grew fond of modern society. He preferred to munch on bones and eat raw animal meat than a nice home cooked meal. They say this is the story that inspired the feral boy character “Mowgli” in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” stories. Luckily, we have documentation of this event, his story and life could’ve gone unacknowledged forever.
A case in Russia shows that even kids that have a parent around can become feral without the right affection and brain development. Russian police in chemical protection suits have rescued a five-year-old with no language or social skills, considering her disabled. She was living in an apartment filled with cockroaches and trash. The little girl made a den of rotting garbage that filled the apartment with noxious chemicals. The half-naked child named Lyubov was dehydrated, and anorexic after her mother Irina Garashchenko left their home in Moscow for days. The girl was found wearing a necklace that had been around her neck for so long it started fusing to her skin. There are reports that she did not know how to speak and could only make sounds. When investigators gave her water, she drank 2 liters within a short span of time, she had severe signs of anorexia. When the neighbors alerted the police about the condition they said, ‘they almost fainted at the condition of the apartment and from the horrid smell.’ Police had to wear protection when they went in and found the girl in a shirt and a hat, no underwear, sitting on a windowsill. She was crying and there was no food in the kitchen. The condition of the apartment was so bad police had to wear hazmat suits and were met with mountains of garbage bags. After the police rescued the girl, the mother returned and tried to flee from authorities. Her husband was later deported, and she was taken into police custody on suspicion of ‘attempted murder’. The neighbors claim they’ve seen her in professional attire but was curious about why her apartment smelled so bad. Just because a kid lives in a household and has parents doesn’t always mean everything is okay behind closed doors.
It’s very hard for these kids to re-assimilate into society after being alone for so long. Their genetic makeup gets in their way of ever being “normal” again. Their behavior, speech or lack thereof, and social manners have all been reverted. On the other hand, some children are able to develop normally despite these traumatic experiences, it all depends on how they dealt and lived through the situation. Children can adapt more easily to the different stressors and “bounce back” more easily when they’re out of that situation and sometimes Children can reverse in human development after being abandon. Social support and social interaction are one of the most important factors in predicting the physical health and wellbeing of everyone, not just children. Isolation and no human contact can be detrimental to a human’s mindset, so when these kids go missing for years, they develop a disability of having no social skills. Unfortunately, these things happen every day around the world. This occurrence of a child becoming feral are because of the death of the parents, war, civil disturbance, or domestic violence. Children who live in these conditions often adapt to the lifestyle of whatever animal raises them. They eat, walk and communicate in ways of their animal companions. If it is early enough in the child’s life, they have little to no knowledge of how human life works, so they take the personality of the animal completely. Physical bodies can even more like the animal they call “family”. When and if an infant is exposed to multiple or prolonged stressful situations the stress can malfunction. Either shut down or becomes hypersensitive. Isolation is the worst and by far the most effective on the human brain. Their functional stress responses evolved because they helped our ancestors escape or avoid danger, forcing them to turn back to their primitive ways. If the child’s mind is a little more developed, the way they react to danger depends on their “fight, flight or freeze” responses, which varies with each human.
Not only does their phycological makeup change, but their physical selves change as well. When being left feral, kids muscles start to develop early, you’ll find callouses on their palms. Their hair growth is almost impressive, having to live in the cold at night causes their body to grow hair thicker and more frequent than in normal children would. They start walking on all fours instead of gradually walking on two feet like a normal kid and their overall mannerisms are of an animal. When returning into society, there’s been frequent cases of death only a couple of years after being found in the jungle. In 1972, a boy was discovered in the woods playing with baby foxes, he later died in 1985 only living 13 years after being found. There are many more stories about them dying after being discovered. The reason for this is simple. You can’t just take someone off their diet after being on it for years. You can’t just bring essentially a wild animal back into civilization, feed it like normal, treat it like normal and expect everything to be fine. Their body has been changing so much to adapt to the environment that they physically can’t change their diet and living habits within days or weeks. Drastic diet change can cause brain fog, electrolyte imbalance and fatigue. People think they’re helping by feeding the kid heart-healthy meals, but these kids haven’t seen that much food in years. Their stomach would not be able to handle it. Either that or they were already in their way to death because of any injuries the body sustained while in the wild.
There are some cases where a child is raised this way, like animals. Or how parents would like to call the “Free Range”. Maybe calling it this is a way for them to make themselves feel better about the way they’re raising their kids, but some consider this way of parenting inhuman and ridiculous. Free Range parenting is a form of parenting that lets the kids raise themselves. On the contrary, children living in an isolated environment, these kids grow up with their parents around and sometimes even brothers and sisters in a nice house with food readily available for them. Free range children don’t grow up with any normal rules other kids do. They’re essentially raised as feral children, but they have human contact. This could vary between families on how “free” their free-range kids are but for the most part, they’re raised unsupervised and the parents let them do whatever they want. These kids are often raised without going to school and some don’t even attend any sort of alternative school or homeschooling them. Isolating them to the only people around them. Mom and dad in England raise their 7 children as free range. They don’t go to school, they dress, eat, and live how they want. Mom claims she doesn’t want them to “grow up too fast” and as counterintuitive as that sounds, they truly believe this will help them keep their kids as young as possible. They’re allowed to cuss, get tattoos and piercing and are also involved in “adult activates”. Since this s almost considered child neglect on some levels, it’s a very controversial topic that needs to be addressed by lawmakers so there are no mistakes in child neglect cases. It would be easy for a parent abusing their kid to say, “Oh well, I raise them as free range”. There are no set rules or requirement to this. Utah will become the first state to essentially protect “free range” children.
Other than Tarzan and The Jungle Book, there are other books with some sort of representation of feral humans in them. A more complex example of a representation of a feral ‘human’ is Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. It shows a more phycological way of being ‘feral’. The monster that Victor Frankenstein creates was at first just an experiment. The upbringing of his curiosity will come to be his, unfortunately. He was very gifted and knowledgeable. Frankenstein sacrifices the comfort of the realm of known knowledge in his pursuit of creating life. Victor was called a “Modern Prometheus” named after the Titan Prometheus from Greek mythology who supposedly created mankind using clay. Dr. Frankenstein narrates the story of how he created this monster from a dead body he constructed and put back together. In fear of someone trying to re-create his crazy experiment, he leaves out the details of the experiment. After playing God with a lifeless body, he touched one of the legs of the monster with a scalpel causing a current to flow through the leg, making it move like it was alive. This process would later be called ‘galvanism; After he created this creature he was scared off. Society eventually causes the creature to become a monster and because of his physical appearance, he’s rejected by everyone. Excluded and misjudged. The people of Victors town shun him for they are terrified and repulsed. Like other feral children cases, the monster was abandoned for uncontrollable reasons. Just like the kids getting left because of civil unrest or ineligible parents, the creature is abandoned. Not only was the monster left alone, feral, but Victor Frankenstein the alchemist/scientist was also alone. Not considered feral because he did have some common sense, he’s older, he’s able to defend himself. Victor had a tendency to become ill whenever he felt guilty or had some sort of responsibility, he had to take care of. Almost imminently after creating the monster and realizing he’s just done something horrible; he runs away in fear and doesn’t take responsibility.
He returns to his apartment after seeing Clerval and after seeing the monster was gone, he became joyful and starts laughing. That disturbs his friend and leads him into thinking that Victor was becoming sick. His hysteria about the creature leads to an illness that will eventually eat him up for months. Later, the monster takes the life of Victor’s dear friend, Clerval. This would put Victor back into illness and sees himself as guilty for the death of his friend. Victor would be completely alone for the rest of the story. Illness eventually takes over Victor’s life. Just like kids that have been abandoned, they get consumed by overwhelming loneliness. Slowly, they separate themselves from society and become very introverted.
However, this time his sickness was different from the other times because Victor does not recover but dies instead. For him, death was the escape, allowing him to finally stop batting his misery. In his previous cases of sickness, he intended to rejoin society after escaping for a while; however, with no friends or family left, he would later die on Walton’s boat. Phycological loneliness can lead a human to go insane because of the feeling of being trapped in your mind. Most people will never feel the feeling of true loneliness but that’s for the better. These younger children that go through these traumatic experiences will always have some sort of injury to their mentality. Research shows that struggle with loneliness are more likely to fall victim to attention and learning issues more than their peers. They may also have a difficult time dealing with feelings that come with loneliness, like depression and anxiety. Social Disability is a disorder they can lead to the inability to progress socially and emotionally, the impact of this disorder degrades the persons quality of life. There are instances where a kid will separate themselves from the whole family even if they have good parents and a good home. This is often an effect of depression or if the kid is an introvert. Children don’t have to be living in the woods to be considered feral.
Extreme child neglect can also interfere with normal development in a child’s life. There have been instances where some kids act Ferrell or while but have in human interaction some kids develop these animal-like tendencies from birth. This condition might be referred to as asked burgers syndrome it is a group of neurological disorders known as autism spectrum disorders. It is one of the mildest autisms there are on the spectrum. Symptoms may include difficulty with social interaction and engaging in repetitive behavior. This disorder is known as a high functioning autism which means these individuals do not have a delayed language acquisition and cognitive development is typical of many. Asperger’s syndrome also known as (AS) cannot be cured. But early diagnosis an intervention can help the child make social connections and achieve their potential this will also lead to a more productive life style. Often times, these kids will act like animals in their early years, like cats’ dogs or horses.
In conclusion, feral children are more a real-world problem rather than an entertaining movie or book. It’s possible that people produce these movies, shows, and books to spread light on the topic which most authors and directors try to do, just so people can realize there’s always someone living in worst conditions and there’s always something to be thankful for. Feral children used to be such a foreign topic to talk about but after this research it’s obvious that some things need to be talked about more to bring awareness to these situations, just because someone made a movie about this kid doesn’t mean its fake. Hundreds of cases of children came up while researching this topic, but only a handful stood out. Marina is the best example of having a positive attitude towards life and her book is a great way to learn about these cases first hand . She describes in detail what she went through, how it happen, how she was found and how she was rehabilitated. John was shooed off by civil disruption and eventually had a roller coaster of events that happened after wards. The notorious wolf boy made headlines when he was found in the jungle and taken in and taken care of. These stories are very inspirational and their one of a kind. Weather they died years later or because a mom to a beautiful family, they stayed strong enough to survive in the wild with no love, no comfort, no human interaction and no food or security. There have been no updates on the case of the Russian girl but luckily, she’s alive and out of the hands of her abusers. Likewise, free range children grow up in a particular living situation that would consider them wild just because they have no education history or any rules to live by. They’re wild in societies terms . They’re isolated to the people around them and know nothing other than them. This is another instance of being half way feral and half way raised normally. With no rules or regulations in the house they are free to do as they please, like children in the wild. Other than being feral or free range, there’s a lot of ways a person can become, in a sense, disabled because of their social skill. Which is one of the main factors of being a feral child besides living in the wild. Feral children are real and they are out there.
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