feral boy, hermitsA young man suddenly emerged from the Siberian forest after spending 16 years there alone, except for the company of his "hermit" parents. The unidentified male is 20 years old. Authorities say that his parents decided to live as hermits and moved into the forest when their son was only 4 years old.

While the man seems physically healthy and not emotionally distressed, he does speak slowly. This is most likely a result of having minimal need to interact with other human beings. His physical and emotional fitness is rare among hermits who have spent most of their lives so isolated. But if he's been living in the forest successfully for so many years, what made him decide to seek out other people now?

Well, reports say his parents decided to leave their forest home and head to another location a few months ago. They did not include their adult son on this journey. Left alone, he might have panicked about how best to prepare for the approaching winter. This might explain his sudden appearance in a local village.

Though authorities have helped him apply for identification, which could give him access to public services, the big question is if he even needs or wants what they are offering. Unlike other cases of "feral" boys, this man presented as mentally stable and relatively articulate. Surely if he chose to live among people, he would have no problem rapidly adjusting. Look how quickly he sought out contact with society after his parents left. But having been raised one way, he seems happy to continue with that life.

He is currently back in his forest home, seemingly content with having just made his presence known to the world at large. It's tempting to be sad for him, having missed out on a "normal" life. But if living alone is what he wants to do (and he's demonstrated that it is) who are we to try and force him back into our version of "the real world"?

Do you think his decision to continue living in the forest makes sense?

 

Image via jamarmstrong/Flickr