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Festivals of Midnapore District
Festivals of East and West Medinipur (Midnapore)
Books on Midnapore (Medinipur) District
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The Diary of the Wolf-Children of Midnapore
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Economics of Mat Industry - A study of P.S. Sabang, Midnapore
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Anselm Beaumont - Bangal Merchant (By Dr. P A K Covey-Crump)
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Life of an English Memsaheb in India in the late 19th Century (By Rajeswari Chatterjee)
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LAL JAL Rock Painting
 
 
 

The Diary of the Wolf-Children of Midnapore

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The Reverend J. A. L. Singh -  Missionary S. P. G. Mission and the Rector, The Orphanage, Midnapore, India

Written by The Reverend J. A. L. Singh
Missionary S. P. G. Mission and the Rector
The Orphanage, Midnapore
Midnapore, India.


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These are Singh's diaries, as also published in Wolf-Children and The Feral Man .

 

Chapter II
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November 24, 1920

AFTER a few days when they became stronger and able to stand bathing, on Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of November, 1920, we cut off the matted balls of hair from their heads, and they looked very different. Their age was guessed by me the elder about eight years and the younger about a year and a half. We named the elder Kamala, and the younger Amala.

They were able to crawl
They were able to crawl

When I first saw them in the jungle, Kamala and Amala were very healthy and robust. But when I saw them on the twenty-third of October inside the stockade their health had deteriorated immensely due to their starvation. Before they recovered their former health, they were covered with a peculiar kind of sores all over the body. These sores ate up the big and extensive corns on the knee and on the palm of the hand near the wrist which had developed from walking on all fours. The sores had a very fearful appearance and went deep into the flesh. At times, they made them look like lepers. Besides attacking the knee and the palm, they extended to foot, elbow, and ankle. It was a dreadful sight to see them, as though they were nothing but lepers after all. Our medicines were carbolic soap, carbolic lotion, tincture of iodine, zinc and boric acids. My wife and myself used to wash the sores with carbolic lotion and carbolic soap and bandage them with boric cotton, and when the sores commenced forming granulations, we washed them with tincture of iodine lotion, wiped them dry, sprinkled them with boric and zinc acids, and bandaged them with cotton. We did everything ourselves and did not call a doctor through fear of exposure. To our great relief we found the sores forming granulations and becoming perfectly red in color. They took more than three weeks to heal up completely.

December 5, 1920

They got cured of the sores by the fifth of December, 1920. The children improved in health quickly, and became stronger day by day. I found them very fond of raw meat and raw milk. As mentioned before, they were kept on raw milk only. We could not give them anything else through fear lest they should get more ferocious and become unmanageable. They thrived well on that diet and vegetable food alone.

December 19, 1920

On the nineteenth of December, 1920, we found them able to move about a little, crawling on feet and hands, but not on all fours like before.They could not stand erect, although we tried our utmost to make them do so. Gradually as they got stronger, they commenced going on all fours, and afterwards began to run on all fours. When their health improved, they would run very fast, just like squirrels, and it was really a business to overtake them.

On the twenty-first of December, 1920, we found them very much attached to one of the foundlings, Benjamin by name. He had been picked up from among the dry leaves in the jungle on Wednesday, the eighth of January, 1919, a child of five months or so, and admitted into the Orphanage on the twelfth of January the same year under the name of Puta. He had a mournful history. This child was about a year old. He was just learning to walk by crawling, like the infants before commencing to walk. The wolf-children and he used to associate together in the room and were very friendly. We thought that this mixing up was a very good way to improve their mode of movements, and also very helpful in the future of their progress in articulation and habits.

December 31, 1920

But unfortunately, all of a sudden one day, on the thirty-first of December, Benjamin was bitten and roughly scratched by the wolf-children. After this Benjamin never came into their company and always tried to avoid them altogether. He was terribly frightened of them.

It is presumed that when they found some difference and understood that he was quite different in nature from them, then they commenced to dislike him. After this when they fully came to know that he was not one of them, then they fought with him, which frightened him so much that he left their company altogether and never approached them afterwards.

Chapter III
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FROM the very beginning their aloofness was noticeable. They would crouch together in a corner of the room and sit there for hours on end facing the corner, as if meditating on some great problem. They were quite indifferent to all that was going on in the room. Their attention could not be drawn to anything. They sat there musing the whole time. If we tried at times to draw their attention to anything by touching them and pointing to something, they simply bestowed a forced look, as if looking at nothing, and would quickly turn their eyes again to the corner. We never kept them alone, but always purposely kept a few Orphanage children in the room for two reasons: first, to guard them, so that they might not run away; second, to associate them with the other children. The children would be playing, chattering, and moving about in the room, but those things did not interest them at all. They remained quite uninterested and indifferent.

Shyness or Fright

They were shy from the beginning. This shyness I counted for fright. After their rescue and subsequent capture, they were looking for the cubs and the wolves. It was noticeable that they wanted their company and association, but finding that they could not get them here, they refused to mix with the children or with anybody. They could not bear the sight of children at any time, and always tried to shun them. The presence of others in the room prevented them from doing anything, even moving their head from one direction to the other, or moving about a little, changing sides, or turning about. Even a look towards them was objectionable. They wanted to be all by themselves, and they shunned human society altogether. If we approached them, they made faces and sometimes showed their teeth, 1 as if unwilling to permit our touch or company. This was noticed at all times, even at night.

Entering the Lantana bushes
Entering the Lantana bushes

January 29, 1921

Once on January 29, Saturday, when they wanted to get away, a girl, by name Roda, tried to prevent their escape. They gave her such a bite and scratched her so that she was compelled to leave them alone. They ran out and entered the lantana bushes outside the compound. They ran fast like squirrels and could not be overtaken. They crouched inside the thick bushes and could not be traced. We had to beat about the bushes for sign of them. It was really a task to search them out, because they remained noiseless there till they were discovered. Such was their nature to shun human association and human habitation. They were brought back home, but the same morose attitude prevailed.

Freedom

They were never shut up or chained, but were always placed under surveillance, having the Orphanage children as their guards. After Benjamin and Roda were bitten and scratched, no children ever tried to approach them at close quarters, although I noticed the younger children tried to please them in their own ways, which showed their love and affection towards these strange creatures. They tried their utmost to allure them to play with them, but this they resented very much, and would frighten them by opening their jaws, showing their teeth, and at times making for them with a peculiar harsh noise. So it became almost impossible for us to bring about any sort of social relationship between them and the children. Kamala and Amala never liked them.

November, 1920, to January, 1921

At this stage of their association with us, for nearly three months from the fourth of November, 1920, up to the end of January, 1921, there was a complete disassociation and dislike, not only for us, but for their abode among us, for movement and play in short, for everything human.

They could not find here their mates in the jungle; they could not prowl about with the wolves; they missed their cosy den, and could not get to feed on meat or milk. Consequently, the thought of their old environment preyed heavily on their mind, and their thought was to regain their former habitation and company. This fact made them meditative and morose.

Chapter IV
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The Change of Appearance: High Jawbones

AFTER cutting the hideous ball of hair, their appearance changed immensely. They looked human children again. But they had prominent differences in feature from ordinary children. The formation of jawbones was raised and high. Before this they were covered up by the ball of hair and could not be seen. Like the modification of the hand and feet, the jaws also had undergone some sort of change in the chewing of bones and constant biting at the meat attached to the bone. When they moved their jaws in chewing, the upper and lower jawbones appeared to part and close visibly, unlike human jaws.

Teeth

The formation of the teeth was close-set and uneven with very fine sharp edges. The four teeth in line with the eyes, i.e., the canines, were longer and more pointed than is common in humans. They were directly in line with the eyes. The color of the mouth inside was blood-red, not naturally found among men.

Sitting or Standing

They could sit on the ground squatting down or in any other posture, but could not stand up at all. Their knee joints and hip joints would not close up or open out. The joints had lost the ability to make flexible movements. Those joints were big, raised, and heavy, covered with hard corns outside from walking on all fours.

Eyes

Their eyes were somewhat round and had the look as if heavy with sleep during day. But they were wide open at night after twelve o'clock. They had a peculiar blue glare, like that of a cat or dog, in the dark. At night when you saw the glare, you could not see anything round about them but the two blue powerful lights, not even the possessor of the eyes. You saw only two blue lights sending forth rays in the dark, making every other thing invisible beyond the focus curvature.

Glare December 20, 1920

I was suddenly struck by this phenomenon on the twentieth of December, 1920, when they were just beginning to crawl. This emission of the glare was generally at night in the dark, and not visible at all when any light was brought in. They could see better at night than by day.

Sense of Sight in the Dark January 3, 1921

On the third of January, 1921, it was found that on a very dark night where human vision and activity fails utterly, they could travel easily over an uneven terraine. They could detect the existence of a man, child, animal, or bird, or any other object in the darkest place when and where human sight fails completely.

Nose

They had flat noses with big round nostrils like the aboriginals; but unlike them, however, in that they moved the fleshy wings of the nostrils, extending and contracting them while sniffing or inhaling some smell. The nostrils did not touch the lips, but remained at the same distance from the edge of the lips as usual. But the openings were much larger than ordinarily found in men.

Excitement

At the time of any excitement the nostrils pumped out breath with a harsh noise.

Kamala eating the entrails of a fowl
Kamala eating the entrails of a fowl

September 15, 1922

They had a powerful instinct and could smell meat or anything from a great distance like animals. On the fifteenth of September, 1922, Kamala smelled meat from a distance of seventy yards and ran quickly to the kitchen veranda, where meat was being dressed. With a ferocious look, she tried to grab it, her eyes rolling, jaws moving from side to side, and teeth chattering while she made a fearful growling sound, neither human or animal.

September 18, 1922

Kamala's instinct led her, on September 18, 1922, to locate the entrails of a fowl thrown outside the compound, about eighty yards from the Orphanage dormitory, where she was caught red-handed eating them. Whenever they smelled anything, and if they wanted to make sure of the object, animal, or man, they used to raise their noses to the air and try to smell its direction by sniffing in the air. When any food was given them, they used to smell it always before eating it.

Ears and Hearing

They had big flat ears. Their ears used to shake or tremble at the time of excitement, and they changed color. They possessed a strong power of hearing and could easily hear the lightest footsteps or any action, as the occasion demanded. The least sound drew their attention.

Lips and Teeth December 31, 1920, and January 29, 1921

The lips were thick and the mouth wide. When the lips parted, a set of white teeth were visible. It was noticed that the lips trembled at times of rage and fear. This was distinctly noticed on the thirty-first of December, 1920, when Benjamin was bitten and scratched, as well as on January 29, 1921, when Roda suffered the same treatment by the wolf-children.

Cheeks

Their cheeks were full and fleshy. The cheekbones were raised out of proportion, projecting outside like cones.

Chin

Kamala's chin was rounded, but Amala's was a little pointed. It was in sharp outline with the contour of the face.

Contour of face

Kamala's contour was round, and that of Amala was a bit oval.

Forehead

Their foreheads were narrow and full of wrinkles.

Brow

Their brows were bushy and long.

Expression

The expression of their faces was bright and pleasant. Kamala's face was ever smiling and full of softness which quickly changed into ferocity at the least excitement of rage or fear.

Touch

They had a very sensitive skin. The least touch would make them feel and they would become conscious of it.

 

 

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