Peter the Wild Boy

Peter the Wild Boy

Peter the Wild Boy (fl. 1725-1785) was a mentally handicapped Hanoverian of unknown parentage, who was found living wild in the woods near Hanover in 1725. Living off the forest's flora, he walked on all fours, behaved like an animal and could not be taught to speak.

Once found, he was brought to the Kingdom of Great Britain by order of George I, whose interest had been aroused in the unfortunate youth. An extraordinary amount of curiosity and speculation concerning Peter was excited in London, and the craze was the subject of a biting satire by Jonathan Swift, and of another entitled "The Most Wonderful Wonder that ever appeared to the Wonder of the British Nation", which has been attributed to Swift and John Arbuthnot; Daniel Defoe also wrote on the subject, and James Burnett, Lord Monboddo in his "Origin and Progress of Language" presents the "Idiot Peter" as an illustration of his theory of the evolution of the human species. He lived to an advanced age, was seen by Lord Monboddo in 1782, and died in 1785.

His grave can still be seen in the churchyard of St Mary's Church, Northchurch, directly outside the main door to the church.

ee also

*Feral child

References and further reading

* Paul Collins, "Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism", Bloomsbury, 2004, ISBN 1-58234-367-5
* Henry Wilson, "The Book of Wonderful Characters", London, 1869.

External links

* [ Wild Peter and other feral children at]
* [ Peter the Wild Boy - an article by Roger Moorhouse]

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