Mysterious Events in History Appearance of Kaspar Hauser Part 1

About the mysterious event in history involving the appearance of Kaspar Hauser whose origins and identity were a mystery.

The Event: THE APPEARANCE OF KASPAR HAUSER

When: May 26, 1828

Where: Nuremberg, Germany

The Mystery: The boy, when Georg Weichman the shoemaker found him, was in a bad way. He seemed to be either drunk or crazy, and he certainly was exhausted. He had with him a letter addressed to the "Captain of the 4th Squadron of the 6th Regiment of Cavalry in Nuremberg." Not knowing what else to do with the boy, Weichman took him to the captain's house.

Once there, all the boy could say was, "I want to be a soldier as my father was." Since he seemed to be hungry, he was offered meat, bread, and beer. Inexplicably, he ate only the bread and then drank some water. His feet were swollen, as if he had walked a long way, and his eyes squinted against the light, as if he were used to being in a dark place. He seemed to be about 17 years old.

The captain took him to the police station. There the youth repeated the sentence about wanting to be a soldier and on a piece of paper he wrote the name "Kaspar Hauser."

The letter he had given the shoemaker was supposedly from a day laborer. Its contents were brief: Kaspar had been left at his house in 1812. He did not know his own origins. The note ended with a plea that the boy be allowed to join the army. Kaspar now produced a 2nd note, which seemed to be from his mother. Written in Latin, it said that she was too poor to take care of Kaspar and that his father was dead.

Those who later described Kaspar Hauser as he appeared at this time varied widely in their accounts of what he was like. Some, probably the more romantic, said that he stumbled like a baby, had no depth perception, and often sat staring into space. Supposedly he could see the stars even during the day. Noise and light bothered him. Whenever he heard a clock strike, he leaped in alarm as if he had never heard such a sound before. He was frightened of thunderstorms and moonlight but loved snow. When he saw a lighted candle, he put his finger in the flame, but then cried out in surprise at the pain. Kaspar called all humans "boy" and all animals "horse." His sense of color was limited, and he had no conception of money. Was Kaspar retarded or had he been kept in a limited environment for so long that he lacked experience with common things?

The boy was put in the care of a professor, who taught him German. When he became fluent enough to explain himself he said that all his life he had been kept in a cell 6' to 7' long, 4' wide, and 5' high, with a dirt floor and 2 closed windows. He had slept on a straw bed and had been given only bread and water. His only toy had been a wooden horse.

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