Friday, 10 March 2017

A Mystery of the Biedermeier Period (Germany)

On the 26th May 1828 an apparently mentally retarded and sparsely speaking boy appeared in Nuremburg. He claimed to have grown up in the total isolation of a darkened cell just fed with water and bread. His stories caused sensation and soon he became known as mysterious foundling. Many theories arose about his origin. The most famous is probably that he was linked with the grand ducal House of Baden, but these have long since been rejected by historians.

The boy was committed to the care of the gymnasium teacher Georg Friedrich Daumer, who taught him in various subjects. On 27th October 1829 he was found with a cut in his forehead, which, as he said, was brought on him by a masked attacker. This incident aroused the interest in the boy once again. Another incident happened on the 3rd April 1830. In 1831 the boy moved to Ansbach, where he socialised with the best sections of the community. On the 14th December 1833 the boy suffered a life-threatening penetration wound and three days later died from the consequences. 

Until today it is still a mystery whether everything happened like the boy said or whether it were just lies. But anyway his name, Kaspar Hauser, became a synonym for Hospitalism and his story was often thematised in poems, songs, books and movies.

Kaspar Hauser Memorial in Ansbach

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