Songs from the wood….Forest Boy. The unusual but not unique story of the teenager who ambled out of a German forest speaking broken English and going by the name of Ray seemed to appeal and capture the imagination of Germans and the world. The story engages with Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the pure spirit if childhood,the noble savage,allegories of unvarnished heroism and the individual in perfect harmony with nature. Whether Forest boy, is a hoax or not, it does raise the issue of the human primeval context. It also reflects the extent to which in various ways, we inhabit a feral society. Consumerism has converted us to the cult of infancy, whiners not wailers, who are representatives of stunted development under the bombardment of marketing which attracts and distracts.
…Home and property is a consumer playpen; a teeter-totter swayed by the evangelical zeal of letting the world be shaped in composite mix of Texas, Apple and Disney, nothing like a little fantasy, violence and cheap gadgets to capture the imagination. So, its comforting to think of Forest boy as somehow a return to the Adamic state,a reliving of the magic moment before the Fall, the primal grunt of Antonin Artaud:
Through childhood activity and historical ‘material’, the world of mechanical ‘invention’ and technological ‘progression’ intersects with that of the original or aboriginal: the primal or primeval beginnings of ‘language’, the unity of ‘word’ and ‘world’ as such. In this encounter, the
Modern confronts the Archaic—or rather (according to Walter Benjamin) the Adamic: Benjamin believes that language points to an original unity or harmony between man and nature. “Unlike the soundless language of things, human language has an ‘immaterial and purely spiritual’ community (Gemeinschaft) with things; sound symbolizes this community between humans and things.”…
…The only way, however, to access this primordial unity in modernity is in and through the particular, concrete and material nature of the historical object. The child’s naming of things, like the infant’s prelinguistic ‘ba’ or ‘ga’ (another form of naming), harkens back to the Adamic naming at the Biblical beginning of language-as-such, and relives this magical moment. “So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man [Adam] to see what he would call them; and whatever the man [Adam] called every living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2). Adam, who himself is named after the matter (‘adamah’: earth or clay) from which he is made, confronts everything that is brought before him and babbles something as he beholds it; this babble is the language that would remain unchanged until Babel and the Babelian fragmentation (Genesis 11) of Adamic language into the multitude of languages of humanity. Read More:http://www.janushead.org/11-1/MellamphyandMellamphy.pdf
British consular staff are working with police in Berlin trying to identify an teenager who walked out of a German forest speaking English and knowing only his first name. The boy, called Ray, presented himself to the Berlin authorities last week, saying he followed his compass north to reach the city after the death of his father with whom he had roamed through the woods for about five years….
A Foreign Office spokesman said consular staff were assisting officials in Berlin but it was not yet known if the boy, thought to be 17 or 18, was a British national. Berlin police said they had approached Interpol to see if the boy matched any missing person reports. Officers will not know the results of the inquiry until Monday….
…Detectives are going over everything Ray has told them to establish a p
re of his background and biography.The teenager told youth workers that his father, whom he called Ryan, had died two weeks ago and he had buried him in a shallow grave covered with stones. The boy said they began wandering in the woods after his mother, who he said was named Doreen, died. He told youth workers that he and his father never set up home but kept moving, staying in tents and huts in the woods.
Claudia Elitok, of Berlin police, said: “He speaks fluent English and a few words in German.”He explained that the last five years were spent in the woods with his father, then his father died and he buried him. “He was walking for two weeks before getting to Berlin. “He has said what happened to his mother but I can’t go into that information. “He was found in good condition and is being taken care of by officials.”…
…The teenager’s story is reminiscent of the “Piano Man”, German Andreas Grassl, who was found wandering the streets of Sheerness, Kent, in 2005. Despite Europe-wide appeals, no one knew who the 20-year-old was. For months he remained uncommunicative except for showing his accomplished pianist skills.Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/17/consul-mystery-teenager-german-woods
Francis Galton arrived at the phrase ‘nature vs. nurture’ in the mid nineteenth-century which was an examination of “whether heredity, genetics, or environment is most significant on the individual’s psychological development Those who favor nurture believe that people learn according to their teachings and what goes on around them. Those advocating the nature side assert that we act according to genetic predispositions, and through through instinct of the animalistic as represented by Freud’s id.
…In 2003,( James) Law worked with researchers on the case of Edik, a young boy in the Ukraine who was unable to speak because he spent more time with stray dogs than his often absent parents….Kent Police have dealt with two notable cases in recent years where unidentified people been found. Piano Man made the headlines in 2005 when he was found wandering on a beach.
His identity baffled hospital carers for months because he did not speak, just apparently played the piano. He eventually claimed his memory had returned and that he was in fact German. Read More:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14971211…
…Mr Neuendorf said the tent Ray carried with him when he arrived in Berlin did not look worn enough to have been used in a forest for five years. “The tent he had with him was used, yes, but not so well used as you’d expect for such a long time in the forest. And he was clean and wearing clean clothes. His fingernails were well kept and his hands soft. Such things raise questions.” Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/doubts-increase-over-forest-boy-rays-story-as-he-refuses-to-provide-dna-sample-20111010-1lgea.html#ixzz1aL5qwsvK
Some feral children have been discovered in more recent history. In a modern version of the Romulus and Remus legend, two young girls were said to have been discovered under the care of a she-wolf in Godamuri, India in 1920. The girls were taken to an orphanage in Midnapore (now part of Orissa). The children, Kamala, aged eight and Amala, aged eighteen months, behaved exactly like small wild animals. They slept during the day and woke by night. They remained on all fours, enjoyed raw meat, and were given to biting and attacking other children if provoked. They could smell raw meat from a distance, and they had an acute sense of sight and hearing. The youngest child, Amala, died one year later, but Kamala lived for nine years in the orphanage until she died of illness at the age of seventeen Kamala did eventually acquire a small vocabulary, but she remained very different from other children until the time of her death.
Perhaps the saddest example of a feral child is a girl named Genie. On November 4, 1970 she was brought into a welfare office in California by her mother, who claimed that she and her daughter were victims of abuse from the woman’s husband. Genie appeared to be about six of seven years old, but when the social worker learned that Genie was actually thirteen years old, she contacted the police. It was soon revealed that Genie had been locked away in a room alone for over ten years. She had been tied to a potty-chair and left to sit alone day after day. At night, she was tied into a sleeping bag which restrained her arms, and placed in an over-sized crib with a cover made of metal screening. Often she was forgotten, and had to spend the night tied to the potty chair. Read More:http://www.damninteresting.com/feral-children/