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  1. #1
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    Mar 2009
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    German feral child Peter the Wild Boy had Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, expert opines

    Peter the Wild Boy's condition revealed 200 years after his death

    Feral German child who was kept as a pet in George I's court
    had Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, research into portrait suggests


    The condition that affected Peter the Wild Boy, a feral child found abandoned in a German forest and kept as a pet at the courts of George I and II, has been identified more than 200 years after his death.

    Peter's charming smile, seen in his portrait painted in the 1720s by William Kent on the king's grand staircase at Kensington Palace, was the vital clue.
    ---
    "Certainly this was enough to explain why he was abandoned by his family, and once captured in the forest like a wild animal, why he was thrown into the local house of correction with the vagrants and thieves," said [historian Lucy] Worsley.

    "He was actually quite lucky that King George I heard about him, and summoned him to court, even though there he was treated like a performing dog rather than a damaged little boy."
    ---
    Although he was treated kindly by his guardian, the Scottish doctor John Arbuthnot – by his side in the painting – he never learned to speak more than his name, and he wore a brass collar like a slave or a dog so he could be restored to his "owners" if he wandered off.
    ---
    the rest of this hugely interesting story, including the deciphering of the clues
    leading to the opinion that Peter had Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome, at Guardian link above

  2. #2
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    The child savage kept as a pet by King George

    As choking black smoke and soaring flames engulfed the workhouse on the outskirts of Norwich, an astonishing sight greeted those who had come to rescue its terrified inmates.

    Among the poor souls who had escaped the inferno was a strange half-human figure silhouetted against the burning building.
    ---
    Before long, he was coaxed by the locals to come timidly towards them, and they were able to take care of him. As they puzzled over his identity in the days to come, they found that he could speak — but he could say only two things: strangled versions of the names Peter and King George.
    ---
    more on the story - an excerpt from historian Lucy Worsley's book - at Daily Mail link above

  3. #3
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    I'm curious if there would be any remains left to test for genetic disorder at Peter's grave.

    I think this is a very interesting theory wfgodot and thank you for bringing this and creating a thread.

  4. #4
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    I've always been interested in the notion of feral children; there were several interesting cases in the 18th century, along with Peter's. That of Marie-Angélique Memmie Le Blanc was especially so - she succeeded in learning to read and write.

  5. #5
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    Interesting. There's a certain amount of interest and research in that phenomenon in my field, Linguistics. The main thrust of it has to do with whether language has to be acquired by some certain age in order to qualify as a true human (symbolic) language. I think Victor d'Avignon is cited in a lot of these studies. My specialty wasn't too close to that so I don't know a lot about it.

    Thanks for the interesting reads!
    TAPU'S BLOG
    Murder in the Hills

  6. #6
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    A most interesting - and harrowing - contemporary case of what might be termed a feral child was that of a girl called, in the literature, Genie. Russ Rymer's two-part New Yorker article in 1992, documenting the extreme deprivation (from language, most importantly) inflicted upon Genie by her parents, was hugely powerful, and reading of the extent of the damage done her difficult to endure. The essays are combined in Rymer's book "Genie: Escape from a Silent Childhood."



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