Julia Fullerton-Batten, a London-based German photographer, has just released this amazing series of staged photographs which document famous cases of so-called 'feral' children throughout history. Fullerton-Batten's project, 'Feral Children' came about after she became interested in one such case, which then led to her researching more. 'I found that there were quite a number of these,' she told 'Feature Shoot'. 'Some cases resulted from children becoming lost, snatched by wild animals, and those left or neglected by their parents.' Read on, for more on this fascinating subject!
Lobo Wolf Girl, Mexico, 1845-1852
In 1845, a girl was seen running, on all fours, with a pack of wolves, as they attacked a goat herd. She was spotted a year later eating a goat. She was captured but later escaped. In 1852 she was seen suckling two wolf cubs. After that she was never seen again.
Oxana Malaya, Ukraine, 1991
In 1991, 8-year-old Oxana was found living with dogs in a kennel. She had been banished outside six years prior by her alcoholic parents. When found, she acted more like a dog than a human, barking, panting and running round on all fours. Intensive therapy gave Oxana human skills, but only to the level of a five year old. She currently resides in a care facility and works with the hospital's farm animals.
Shamdeo, India, 1972
When he was around 4-years-old, Shamdeo was discovered in the forest in India, playing with wolf cubs. He had very sharp teeth, hooked fingernails and matted hair, as well as calluses on his palms, elbows and knees. He loved raw meat and bonded very well with dogs. After being discovered, Shamdeo was eventually weaned off raw meat, however he never learnt how to speak. He died in 1985.
Prava (The Bird Boy), Russia, 2008
In 2008, 7-year-old Prava was found confined to a small bedroom within a two bedroom flat, filled with birds in cages, bird feed and bird droppings. His 31-year-old mother basically treated him as though he was another winged pet. She never spoke with him. His only communication was with the birds. Instead of speaking, he chirped, and he'd flap his arms around, bird-like. He is currently being rehabilitated.
Marina Chapman, Columbia, 1959
In 1954, aged just 5-years-old, Marina was kidnapped from her village and later left by her kidnappers in the jungle. For the next five years, she lived with a family of capuchin monkeys, before being discovered by hunters, walking on all fours and unable to speak. Tragically, she was sold into a brothel, before escaping to become a street urchin. She was then enslaved by a Mafia-style family before being rescued by a neighbor. Today, Marina lives in the UK. She has written a book about her life, called 'The Girl With No Name'.
Genie, USA, 1970
Poor Genie was confined to a small room when she was just a toddler, after her father decided she was 'retarded'. She spent the next decade in solitary confinement, even sleeping in the chair she was strapped to. In 1970, Genie was 13-years-old when she and her mother turned up at a social services center. She was not toilet trained and could not walk properly. She would constantly scratch and claw at herself. She became a research object for many years, gradually learning to speak a few words. She is now in a private facility for mentally underdeveloped adults.
The Leopard Boy, India, 1912
When he was 2-years-old, the 'Leopard Boy' was taken by a female leopard. Three years later, a hunter killed the leopardess and found three cubs, along with the boy. He was returned to his jubilant family, however the boy's experience had left deep marks. He could only squat and run on all fours, his knees were covered in hard calluses, his toes were bent upright and his palms were covered with a tough, horny skin. He bit and fought everyone who approached him and he caught and ate the village fowl. Later, he learnt how to speak. He sadly went blind with cataracts, although this was not from his time in the jungle.
Sujit Kumar, Chicken Boy, Fiji, 1978
When he was 8-years-old, Sujit was found in the middle of a road, clucking and flapping like a chicken. He had been confined by his family in their chicken coop after his father decided he was a dysfunctional young boy. He pecked at his food, and was once found crouching on a chair as if roosting. His fingers were turned inwards. He was taken to an old people's home by care workers but they tied him to his bed for 20 years because he was so aggressive. He was later rescued by Elizabeth Clayton and now lives with her.
Marie Angelique Memmie Le Blanc, (The Wild Girl of Champagne), France, 1731
For 10 years, from around the age of 9 to 19, Memmie was a wild thing roaming the French countryside. Nothing is known about her childhood prior or how she came to be on her own, in the wild. She ate birds, frogs, fish, and roots and branches. Armed with a club, she fought off wolves. She was captured when she was 19 and was found to be very hairy, with claws. She communicated only in shrieks and squeaks. For years, she did not eat cooked foods. Memmie went on to lead an interesting and mostly charmed, life. In 1737, the Queen of Poland took Memmie hunting with her, and she still ran fast enough to catch and kill rabbits. Memmie recovered from her decade in the wild extremely well. She learned to read and write and speak French fluently, and had a number of rich patrons until her death at 63-years-old.
John Ssebunya (The Monkey Boy) Uganda, 1991
After witnessing his father murder his mother in 1988, John ran away from home, at just 3-years-old. He fled to the jungle where he lived with monkeys. In 1991, John was captured and when he was cleaned up, he was found to be covered in thick hair. He had intestinal worms over half a meter long. John also had calluses from walking like a monkey. He learned to speak and became famous for touring the UK with the 'Pearl of Africa' children's choir.