Little Bits of History

Who Was That?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 26, 2010

Contemporary painting of Kaspar Hauser

May 26, 1828: A teenager is found on the streets of Nuremberg, Germany. He was wearing peasant clothing and could barely speak. He was only able to say, “I want to be a rider like my father” and the word “horse.” Every question was answered with “Don’t know.” He was carrying a letter addressed to a captain of the cavalry which asked for the captain to take in the boy or hang him. The letter also claimed the boy was born on April 30, 1812 – making him 16 years old at the time of his appearance. He could write his name as Kasper Hauser.

He was taken to a jail where a kind jailer began to help. He eventually learned to speak and told his story. He had been imprisoned in a cell for most of his life. The cell was about 6.5 x 3.5 x 5 feet and supplied with only a straw mat and a wooden horse to play with. There was speculation the child was actually the son of the Grand Duke of Baden and relatives, hungry for power, had taken the male heir in order to secure lineage for themselves. DNA testing done in 2002 shows a 95% match to present day descendants of the Prince of Baden.

The boy never saw his captors and was drugged from time to time to have his hair cut and clothes changed. He did not know how he came to be found in the streets of Nuremberg. There was an unsuccessful attempt made on his life and the boy was moved to what was considered to be a more secure place. He was told to meet someone in a wooded area so he could learn more about his family. He was stabbed in the chest, puncturing a lung. He made it home, but died three days later. He would not name his assailant, but a note found in the woods said he would have recognized the person he had met.

He was found shrouded in mystery and died the same way at the age of 21.

“The thousand mysteries around us would not trouble but interest us, if only we had cheerful, healthy hearts.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” – Bible

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” – Anais Nin

“Maybe it’s other people’s reactions to us that makes us who we are. ” – Fox Mulder, David Duchovney’s character on The X-Files

Also on this date:
In 1805,
Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned king of Italy.
In 1958,
Khufu‘s solar barge was discovered.

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3 Responses

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  1. Sherry said, on February 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Omg, what a bizarre episode! Curious, did the living descendents of the Prince of Baden have anything to officially say in 2002 upon the 95% DNA match to this unfortunate boy?

    • patriciahysell said, on February 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      They do not allow any testing on the alleged mother of Kasper or the child buried near her.

      • Sherry said, on February 28, 2014 at 11:52 am

        Bummer. Thanks for the info.


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