Germany

A teenager, claiming to have lived most of his life confined to a small cell, is founding wandering the streets in Germany

May 26, 1828
Nuremberg, Germany
A teenaged boy named Kaspar Hauser is found wandering the streets, carrying letters claiming he had never set foot outside his previous home

One of the letters Hauser had on him explained his past, alleging he had been raised by a “poor day laborer” at the request of Hauser’s mother. Because the laborer had ten of his own children, Hauser was left in a confined area within his home. The letter ended with “If you can’t keep him, you will have to butcher him or hang him up in the chimney.” The second, older letter was seemingly from his mother, detailing Hauser’s name, birthday, and father’s occupation. It was noted that both letters had the same handwriting.

Hauser later described the upbringing as being spent largely in a dark cell roughly 2 meters long, 1 meter wide, and a meter and a half tall with straw for bedding. His only possessions, aside from clothing, were animals carved from wood.

Hauser claimed he awoke every morning to rye bread and water placed next to his bed. On occasion, the water tasted bitter and he would feel sleepy, only to wake with his hair and fingernails shorter and his straw bedding was replaced with fresh straw. He also professed the first person he saw in his life was met shortly before his release. The stranger supposedly took great pains to conceal his face but taught Hauser how to write, speak, and walk. He also had Hauser repeat the phrase “I want to be a calvaryman, as my father was” in the Old Bavarian dialect.

Because of his sensational story, he became somewhat of an international celebrity immediately. However, he seemed to be followed by the unknown man who released him.

In 1829, he was found bleeding from a cut on his forehead, claiming his assailant told him “You still have to die ere you leave the city of Nuremberg,” in the same voice as the man who freed him. Serious doubt was cast over the story, though he professed the accuracy of the events.

In 1830, Hauser claimed to have fallen while reaching for books, accidentally pulling a pistol hanging on the wall which grazed his head. Again, doubt was cast with some believing the wound was caused in some other manner than a bullet. But again, Hauser professed the account was true.

Finally, in 1833, Hauser was found with a deep wound on his chest and carried a note written in backwards writing. It read “Hauser will be able to tell you quite precisely how I look and from where I am. To save Hauser the effort, I want to tell you myself from where I come _ _ . I come from from _ _ _ the Bavarian border _ _ On the river _ _ _ _ _ I will even tell you the name: M. L. Ö.” (The dashed lines were written in by the author rather than being censored or obscured text.) Those who read the note noticed several spelling and grammar mistakes that were common in Hauser’s writing.

Hauser died of his injury three days later.

It is widely believed Hauser would injure himself to deepen the “mystery” of his story and, in the process, bring himself back into a celebrity status.

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