“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man,
but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts,
no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Some of the fierce animals we dread have saved human children in distress and even taken care of them for many years, adopting them as their own. These wild children, when discovered, have had varying degrees of success in learning to act like humans again.
1 – Marina Chapman – woman raised by monkeys
Marina Chapman’s life story is one that is so extreme, so inconceivable, that many find it difficult to believe.
Kidnapped from her family at a young age, abandoned in the perilous Colombian jungle, befriended by a troop of reticent primates, and now, decades later, revealed in a best-selling memoir – Marina’s story stands as a radical case of adaptation and survival.
“They were just tolerating at first. They don’t really love you. One day one of the younger ones landed on my shoulders, and if you’ve never been hugged in your life, and this animal climbs over your shoulders and puts their hands on your face, I tell you it’s the nicest touch,” Marina told the Guardian.
2 – Sidi Mohamed – Boy Raised by Ostriches in North Africa
Sidi Mohamed was found at the age of 15 in 1945 in North Africa. He told the anthropologist Jean-Claud Armen that he had lived with ostriches since he was 5 years old. Armen was quoted in the journal Notes Africaines, published April 26, 1945. The account is discussed in the book, “Unexplained Phenomena: A Rough Guide Special,” co-authored by Bob Rickard, the founder of the UK magazine Fortean Times: The Journal of Strange Phenomena.
The boy told Armen he found an ostrich nest when he was about 5 years old and the birds became accustomed to him. He stayed there, eating grass with them and learning to run at high speeds, sleeping under their wings at night. He was found by hunters and returned to his parents, but always wished for his life with the birds. This story seems to rely on the boy’s truthfulness, as it is not clear whether Armen did further research to verify the facts.
3 – Ng Chhaidy – 38 years living in the jungle of Myanmar
Perhaps one of the most spectacular cases of feral children – and adults – is Ng Chhaidy. She went missing at the age of 4, going into the jungle, and was only seen after 38 years, in 2012. Local communities have been hearing rumors about a jungle girl for years, but they always dismissed it as gossip. She went missing in India, close to the border with Myanmar, and was later found in Myanmar, living naked in a cemetery.
But what’s perhaps even more remarkable is that for someone who lived in the jungle for basically all her life, she’s very human-like. She can talk (in a simple fashion), she learns new words, and she is not particularly shy of human interaction. Her family hasn’t allowed any medical or psychological attention, so there is no clear evaluation on her state.
4 – Lyokha ‘Werewolf boy’
In December 2007 Russian police reported to hunt 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. The boy looked about ten – but after tests conducted by Moscow medics, they believe he maybe much older.
They were puzzled because he appeared intelligent but didn’t not seem to speak Russian or any other language. It was 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.