Kaspar Hauser stumbled into the world at the age of approximately 16, yet still a child, really. His case could be of interest to those fascinated by feral children
- while not raised by animals, Kaspar was raised by a (father?) who treated him most inhuman
When he appeared in Nürnberg, Germany in 1828, people thought he was either drunk or dumb. He carried a letter, could write his name on paper, and replied "dunno" to all questions. His only other spoken words were "Ein Reiter will ich werden, wie mein Vater einer war" (I want to be a rider like my father). He was taken in by the police custodian, and raised by his family.
As he learned to speak (assisted by a Dr. Daumer), he told that he had always lived in a "container" (probably a basement), where it was always dark. The account of his life at http://kbs.cs.tu-berlin.de/~jutta/me/notes/kaspar-hauser.html has this to say about his carefree childhood days:
As far as he could remember, he had lived in a dark "container", about two meters long, one meter wide, and one and a half high. There was a straw bed for sleeping; he had worn a shirt and leather trousers. He found water and bread next to his bed every morning. Sometimes the water tasted bitter; then he slept, and when he awoke again, someone had changed his clothes and cut his nails. There was never any light in his container.
One day, a man came in and taught him to write "Kaspar Hauser" and to say "Ein Reiter will ich werden, wie mein Vater einer war." When the man carried him outside, the boy fainted from the light and the air. Next he remembered he was walking through Nürnberg.
As he gained linguistic
ability and became able to function (in a limited way) in society, he became a cause célèbre
in high-society and academic circles of the time. There was much speculation as to his real parentage
, some of it linking him to the Grand Duke of Baden.
No real solution to his mystery was ever made. In December 1833, Kaspar was knifed three times in the breast by an unknown man. He managed to get home, and died three days later. His story was dramatized by Werner Herzog in his movie The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser (Every Man For Himself and God Against All), and Suzanne Vega wrote the song Wooden Horse about him. Go - go see the movie! And never complain about your parents again. You were at least allowed daylight!