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Feral children

Feral children are lost or abandoned children, or even children taken by animals, who survive in conditions of social isolation from an extremely young age. They can be adopted and brought up by animals, or somehow survive on their own.

While the idea of lost or abandoned children being raised by wolves, bears, or other normally hostile local wildlife is a common one in legend, there are very few cases studied by science. Feral children have very poor or no language skills and they have not been socialised by contact with other people. Some feral children were abandoned due to severe intellectual impairment and disability, and others were victims of child abuse and trauma.

Famous real-life cases include:

  • Hessian wolf-children (1341-1344)
  • The Bamberg boy, who grew up among the cattle (at the close of the sixteenth century)
  • Hans of Liege; the Irish boy brought up by sheep
  • The three Lithuanian bear-boys (1657, 1669, 1694)
  • The girl of Oranienburg (1717)
  • The two Pyrensean boys (1719)
  • Peter, the wild boy of Hameln (1724)
  • The girl of Songi in Champagne (1731)
  • The Hungarian bear-girl (1767)
  • The wild man of Cronstadt (end of eighteenth century)
  • Victor of Aveyron (1797), filmed in 1969 by Francois Truffaut as The Wild Child[?] (L'Enfant sauvage)
  • Kaspar Hauser (early 19th Century), filmed in 1974 by Werner Herzog as The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle)
  • Genie (1970s)
  • Oxana, Ukraine, (1990s) raised with the dogs until the age of 8

In mythology and literature, feral children unrealistically (but more romantically) retain their full human intelligence, and their wild upbringing imbues them with a mixture of animal and human instincts which usually serves them in good stead when dealing with humanity. For more on the subject, see: Feral children in mythology and fiction

See also: Language acquisition

External link

FeralChildren.com (http://www.feralchildren.com)



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
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