A Man of the Wolves

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There, breathless and red in the face, he held it high above his head and brought it down hard against the brick wall, in one violent swing. The wood splintered, the speaker popped out of its casing, and the voices fell silent. He did not have any learning disabilities. Indeed, there was nothing to suggest his intelligence was below average. His story is that he was abandoned as a child of seven, in , and left to fend for himself.

Alone in the wild, as he tells it, he was raised by wolves, who protected and sheltered him. With no one to talk to, he lost the use of language, and began to bark, chirp, screech and howl. Twelve years later, police found him hiding in the mountains, wrapped in a deerskin and with long, matted hair. He tried to flee, but the officers caught him, tied his hands and brought him to the nearest village.

How to be human: the man who was raised by wolves

Eventually a young priest brought him to the hospital ward of a convent in Madrid, where he stayed for a year and received a remedial education from the nuns. It is almost impossible to imagine what it would be like to emerge into adulthood without any of the socialisation that the rest of us unconsciously absorb, via a million imperceptible cues and incidents, as children and teenagers. When he left the convent hospital, adjusting to life among humans brought with it a series of shocks. When he first went to the cinema — to see a Western — he ran out of the theatre because he was terrified of the cowboys galloping toward the camera.

The first time he ate in a restaurant, he was surprised he had to pay for his food. One day he went into a church, where an acquaintance had told him God lived. He approached the priest at the altar. He lived in convents, abandoned buildings and hostels all over Spain. He worked odd jobs on construction sites, in bars, nightclubs and hotels; he was robbed and exploited: people took advantage of his unworldliness. Some people did try to help him, but most found him awkward and uncommunicative, and he was largely shunned by society.

He lives in Rante, a sleepy hamlet of 60 or so families in Galicia, in north-westSpain.


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The rest of the time, he stays home, watching daytime TV for hours. For the first time since he left the mountains, his life was quiet and peaceful.


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The walls were plastered with photographs, old magazine pages and calendars of naked women. There were dirty plates in the kitchen sink, a half-made bed, wooden cupboards, a deskand a TV. Nothing about his appearance suggests an unusual past: he looks like a typical Spanish septuagenarian, thin, with salt-and-pepper hair and ruddy cheeks.

A cigarette habitually protrudes from his thin lips. But within moments of meeting him, I could sense something different in his demeanour.

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He found it difficult to look me in the eye, and stared intensely at the ground whenever he spoke. He would make a joke, and laugh at himself, only to lose his confidence almost immediatelyand retreat behind a sheepish, diffident grin. He was friendly and talkative, but he seemed overly conscious of my reaction to everything he said: if I looked confused, he was visibly discouraged; if I was enthusiastic, he was suddenly excited and energetic. Spanish papers seemed to write about him every other month.

At first he was pleased with the attention: after years of rejection and disbelief, his story was being told, and he was finally being accepted.


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But soon, people wanted more of him than he could give. Journalists were lined up outside his door, and the press wanted to find out everything about his life. Fans wrote him from Germany, America and all over Spain. He was the famous wolf man of the Sierra Morena.

When he was found by the police and brought down from the mountains, an untroubled, simple adolescence among animals and birds was cruelly cut short. He had always found it hard to relate to humans, who were baffled by his ignorance and infuriated by his inability to communicate. Among people, I learned to hate and to be embarrassed. No one believed his story; they merely took him for an idiot or a drunkard. He wanted to be liked, to be normal, to have a wife and children.

He wanted everything he seemed utterly incapable of having. He turned and saw a wolf had grabbed his hand. In the distance, he saw three other wolves. He freed himself and shooed away the pack, according to a police statement. A doctor later treated the man's minor hand injuries and reported the attack to authorities. If the attack is confirmed as having been a wolf, it would be the first such attack since the animals resettled in Germany.

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This Man Was Approached By A Pack Of Ferocious Wolves. And What They Did To Him Is Unbelievable.

The number of wolves in Germany dwindled over the 19th century as they were hunted to extinction. The last one was killed in , according to the Economist. After that, the wolves mainly lived in Eastern Europe. This year, according to data released Nov. That's up from 60 packs and 21 couples the year before. Aplicativos e plugins. Mobile Android iPhone Windows Phone. Desktop Google Chrome Windows 8. Plugin W. Media Player Winamp.

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