posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 12:10 AM
Children raised by animals? What the heck! The stories are intriguing. "Feral children" narratives are stories of children raised by animals, or
otherwise discovered in the wild. Most accounts hold that they behave as animals, often barking as dogs or otherwise identifying with animals more
than the human society that wants to mold them in to some image of itself.
Some wild child accounts are less than believable, such as children who suddenly develop sharp teeth and glowing eyes. It may be that some of those
stories are embellishments. Children may have been literally raised by wolves and then astonished villagers told of sharp eyes and glowing teeth.
Hence, even those stories may have truth in them.
A number of intriguing cases:
1) Modern case: A child in Africa claiming to have been raised by monkeys. He shows a strange ability to interact with monkeys even today. Like
other "wild children," he has tremendous physical abilities. He can run very fast. Scientists tend to dismiss some of his claims because of his
account of monkeys having shaped leaves in to cups so that he could drink water as a youth. Presumably non-ape primates would not have the ability or
willingness to do something like that. I suspect, however, that if a monkey were to raise a human child they might think of creative and innovative
ways of feeding them should the need arise.
2) Peter the Wild boy lived during the time of the Enlightenment. He was discovered walking on all fours. His socialization was in the wild, and he
displayed tremendous physical strength. Peter often tried to escape in to Nature and away from human society. He never really learned to talk, but
was able to say a few words, among them "King George" who was his friend.
3) Victor of Aveyron: Eighteenth century case. Discovered naked in the woods. He could learn to speak. Hailed as a child of Nature.
There are many other cases, including some girls. Many could not learn to speak well, while others did. Some were raised by parents who had them in
the backyard with dogs until discovered, others locked in closets, yet still others genuinely claimed to have been raised by animals. The most
believable cases of the last category are children who claimed to have been raised by either primates or wolves. Other accounts are less
What intrigued philosophers of the Enlightenment about wild children was the idea that they might have been emblematic of the State of Nature. The
idea is that humanity in a state of Nature would be gentle, kind and free. Wild children supposedly embodied that idea. This might have led to a
romanticizing of wild children. It might have led to them over-stating the degree to which they were wild and overlooking the abuse that some
suffered. Skeptics dismiss the whole idea of wild children and claim that these accounts are overly romanticized. But, the idea of Wild Children
still inspired the Enlightenment, and in a strange way the American Revolution's grand experiment in a world begun all over again.
What is less explored is what these stories, if true, tell us about the female wolf or primate. Could a female animal see a human as a surrogate for
her own? Is Nature red with tooth and claw? Enlightenment philosophers focused on man but I think that the stories of the animals who may have been
willing to raise humans are stories that need to be told. If true, if they did raise human children and save human lives at no real benefit to their
own gene pool, then they should be honored by humanity.