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  1. #1
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    The very strange tale of the Lykovs: a Russian family of Old Believers lost in time

    The people that time forgot: Incredible story of Russian family cut off from all human
    contact for 40 years who didn't know about WWII and had to eat leather shoes to survive
    (mailonline.com)
    • The Lykovs were Old Believers - members of a persecuted Russian sect
    • They left for wilderness after Karp saw brother killed by communists in 1936
    • Lived off land, ate leather shoes in harsh winter, unaware of WWII
    • Found in 1979 by Russian helicopter searching for spot to land geologists
    Their not-unamazing tale at the link above, with pictures.

    ETA:

    The Smithsonian article linked below is far superior to the Mail's account. Recommended.
    Last edited by wfgodot; 02-05-2013 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    What a fascinating story. Thanks for posting the links.

  4. #4
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    From the Smithsonian piece:
    The family's principal entertainment, the journalist Vasily Peskov noted, "was for everyone to recount their dreams."

  5. #5
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    Be sure and read the Smithsonian article, btw. Vastly superior to the Mail's.
    She will not leave. But we must leave her, seen through the eyes of Yerofei on the day of her father's funeral:

    I looked back to wave at Agafia. She was standing by the river break like a statue. She wasn't crying. She nodded: 'Go on, go on.' We went another kilometer and I looked back. She was still standing there.

  6. #6
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    Oh wow. Just wow. Thanks, Wuffy, for this...I will be reading and researching a lot in coming days. Just wow.

    From the Smithsonian article:

    "The hard frost killed everything growing in their garden, and by spring the family had been reduced to eating shoes and bark. Akulina chose to see her children fed, and that year she died of starvation. The rest of the family were saved by what they regarded as a miracle: a single grain of rye sprouted in their pea patch. The Lykovs put up a fence around the shoot and guarded it zealously night and day to keep off mice and squirrels. At harvest time, the solitary spike yielded 18 grains, and from this they painstakingly rebuilt their rye crop."

    And...

    "though he steadfastly refused to believe that man had set foot on the moon, he adapted swiftly to the idea of satellites. The Lykovs had noticed them as early as the 1950s, when "the stars began to go quickly across the sky," and Karp himself conceived a theory to explain this: "People have thought something up and are sending out fires that are very like stars."

    Gobsmacked indeed...just big wow.

    Best-
    Herding Cats
    Last edited by Herding Cats; 02-05-2013 at 06:31 PM.
    When you find yourself in the position to help somebody, do not feel burdened. Rather, feel happy and blessed because God is answering that person's prayer through you. In that moment, you are God's Angel - His door to reach through and bring light to someone who is struggling in the darkness.

    Be God's Light. Be God's love. Be an answered prayer. Be God's Door.

  7. #7
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    Really. I have no words. Is Agafia still there?

    It is amazing absolutely amazing that most of them survived that long. But also tragic and horrible to live like that.

  8. #8
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    Still living, and still living there, at least at the time the article was published in Smithsonian.
    A quarter of a century later, now in her seventies herself, this child of the taiga lives on alone, high above the Abakan.
    There's a documentary about the family available on YouTube, in Russian and unfortunately without subtitles.

    Short article here; some of the tweets inspired by the story are interesting:

    Lost in the Taiga (allkindsofhistory.wordpress.com)

    Karp Lykov (Wiki)

  9. #9
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    Fascinating story.

    From the Smithsonian article:

    Most of these innovations were only grudgingly acknowledged, but the sin of television, which they encountered at the geologists' camp,

    proved irresistible for them.... On their rare appearances, they would invariably sit down and watch. Karp sat directly in front of the screen. Agafia watched poking her head from behind a door. She tried to pray away her transgression immediately—whispering, crossing herself.... The old man prayed afterward, diligently and in one fell swoop.
    They were mesmerized by moving pictures, just like the rest of us, lol.

  10. #10
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    It is obvious that they suffered a lot- living out there always short of food and other people...

    but I wonder, if in their own way, they were happy?

    It would be nice if someone dropped off supplies for Agafia a few times a year. I hope that is offered and accepted.


  11. #11
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    Absolutely WOW!

  12. #12
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    First thought: How desperate could one be!?!?!

    Then I saw her picture.She was so beautiful beforehand... After looking at him I still can't see why she would think he was worth doing that for?? GAG! SMH

  13. #13
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    I haven't stopped thinking about this family. And I think that something was off about the dad.
    I can see planning to hide out for a year or two- or hiding out except for a once/twice year "trip to town" for supplies...but to hide out for that many years ESPECIALLY when things are so bad one of your party starves to death (and everyone else is suffering of malnutrition) smacks to me of craziness or delusion.

    If I was terrified that my family was going to be captured/persecuted etc., I think I would hide them out in the woods and try to survive like they did. BUT I would make a trip or two a year, under cover, to buy, borrow, beg or steal some basic supplies from town. Especially in that situation when they only had like 7 seeds to start food for the next year!

    I feel really sorry for the kids who were forced into that situation.



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