Feral Children: Living With Beasts

Amalakama-Thumb.JpgA feral child (feral, – wild or undomesticated) is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and has no (or little) experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and, crucially, of human language. Feral children are confined by humans (often parents), brought up by animals, or live in the wild in isolation. Just over a hundred incidences have been reported in English, though more incidences may have been unreported. These cases are considered interesting from a psychological and a sociological perspective. When completely brought up by animals the feral child exhibits behaviors (within physical limits) almost entirely like those of the particular care-animal, such as its variety of instincts, fear of or indifference to humans.

“In all my travels, the only time I ever slept deeply was when I was with wolves… The days with my wolf family multiplied. I have no idea how many months I spent with them but I wanted it to last forever – it was far better than returning to the world of my own kind. Today, though most memories of my long journey are etched in tones of grey, the time spent with the wolves… is drenched in colour. Those were the most beautiful days I had ever experienced.” Quote from Misha Defonseca, a Jewish orphan who, from the ages of seven to 11, wandered through occupied Europe in World War II, living on wild berries, raw meat and food stolen from farmhouses, and occasionally teaming up with wolves.

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