A mysterious "forest boy" presented himself at Berlin City Hall two weeks ago. The first words he spoke were English: "I'm alone in the world. I don't know who I am. Please help me." He is believed to be 17, and to have spent the last five years sleeping on the ground in a forest. His identity is a mystery.
Because the boy speaks better English than German, local police are working with British authorities to figure who the boy is, and who should care for him. He told an English-speaking Berlin City Hall employee that his name was Ray. For years he had wandered the forest with his father, who had instructed the boy to walk to Berlin if anything happened to him. The Daily Telegraph reports:
"He seemed calm, not scared at all, but quiet. He said he had been told to go to Berlin if he ever needed help and had taken several weeks to walk here," she said.
Police said he later described how he had been living in a forest for "at least five years" following the death of his mother in a car crash but that his father had recently died in a fall so he buried him in a shallow grave before walking to Berlin.
The civil servant described how she attempted to find out where he might be from and had to explain to him the concept of a passport.
"He looked completely puzzled when I asked him if he had a passport or identity card and I had to describe what they were. But he said he could read because his father had taught him," she said.
The boy moved into a youth shelter, where he is "having difficulty sleeping in a proper bed," and finds soap and running water "unsettling," according to the Daily Mail.
Is Ray the Kasper Hauser of our time? A desperate runaway? A hoax? And how can we waste an appropriate amount of time on this issue, when greatest website on the internet FeralChildren.com is no longer online? Seriously, that website was great. What happened to you, FeralChildren.com, and how can we bring you back? [Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, image via Telegraph]