Kaspar Hauser, Enigma

"I would like to be a rider the way my father was."

Kaspar Hauser

Internet Resources

Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note; he later explained that he had been held captive in a dungeon of some sort for his entire life that he could remember, and had only just been released, for reasons unknown. His benefactor attempts to integrate him into society, with intriguing results.
Internet Movie Database
Kaspar Hauser was discovered in 1828, walking down the road in Nuremberg, Germany. Kaspar was oddly dressed and unsteady on his feet, with a strange letter in his pocket and the phrase 'I want to be a horseman like my father is' on his lips.
Kaspar Hauser was not only the object of fierce debates, onto whom such notions were projected, he was also the pawn in a political game of republicans against legitimists, of radicals against conservatives. If that were not enough his case aroused the interest of all manner of faddists, charlatans, fortune hunters and sensation seekers. A simple-minded foundling thus became the point of intersection of so many strains of thought so that his own curious personality became hidden under layers of fictional projections. Each had their own Kaspar Hauser prince, fraud, sweet innocent, pathological liar, tragic object of abuse, victim or culprit.
Martin Kitchen
At first Kaspar had no conception of humans or animals; he knew of nothing apart from 'boys', meaning himself and the man who'd always been with him, and 'horse', the toy he'd played with. He called all animals 'horse', but, although he liked light coloured animals, he was very afraid of dark colours. In the tower he was given some toy horses, which he became very attached to and played with for hours in his room, taking no notice of what went on around him.
Brian A. Haughton
Ansbach, a lovely old court city, has developed a Kaspar Hauser industry. Hauser aficionados will want to view the monument in the Hofgarten near the spot where Kaspar was stabbed, the well-tended and well-marked gravesite in the cemetery, and the double-figured statue of Kaspar erected in 1980 by the Lions' Club. Then there is the house where Kaspar lived, a separate collection of memorabilia, and the Kaspar Hauser festival day in August! That's a lot of Hauser!
European Traces of the History of Psychology
The feral children literature has frequently been cited for relevance to understanding historical antecedents of autism. Kaspar Hauser, who appeared in Nuremberg, Germany in 1828, is one of these children, raised under conditions of extreme deprivation. His case history and gradual acquisition of language after age 17 years are summarized. There is strong evidence that he was the prince of Baden, abducted from his cradle in 1812. Findings of postmortem examination, conducted after his assassination, are discussed. Hauser's postadolescent recovery of language contradicts the notion of a "critical period" for language development. (Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 209-217 (1978))
Nicole Simon
Information about the Kaspar Hauser Festival (in German)
Supposedly he could see the stars even during the day. Noise and light bothered him. Whenever he heard a clock strike, he leaped in alarm as if he had never heard such a sound before. He was frightened of thunderstorms and moonlight but loved snow. When he saw a lighted candle, he put his finger in the flame, but then cried out in surprise at the pain.
David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace

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