Kaspar Hauser Experiment

Kaspar Hauser was a young German man who is known for his mysterious origin and death. In fact, his headstone in Ansbach, in Latin, read “Here lies Kaspar Hauser, riddle of his time. His birth was unknown, his death mysterious. 1833”. He first appeared on May 26, 1828 in Nuremberg; he was carrying two letters and the first, addressed to captain von Wessenig, stated that Hauser was entrusted to the anonymous author and that he never let the boy step out of his house. The letter furthered that Hauser wanted to be a cavalryman like his father and invited the captain to decide on the boy’s fate. The second letter was shorter and was enclosed; it was supposed to be from Hauser’s mother which stated his name and date of birth. However, the penmanship of these two letters were very similar and that they had a striking resemblance with Hauser’s own handwriting. This was one of the many critics regarding Hauser’s honesty. He was then imprisoned as a vagabond and was initially perceived to be intellectually impaired but he showed great improvement with his vocabulary after some time. He only ate bread and water since he claimed that this was what his guardian (whom he apparently never saw) only made him eat. Hauser’s case aroused national curiosity and rumors that he is of princely origin while others thought that he was an impostor. The town raised funds for his education and upkeep.

On October 17 1829, he was found bleeding due to a forehead wound. Hauser explained that he was attacked by a hooded man who threatened to kill him if he would not leave the city. His critics asserted that he could have inflicted the wound on himself and that he did this to douse the recent conflict that he had with Daumer (his current guardian at that time) who discovered that Hauser had tendencies to fabricate stories.

On April 3, 1830, he was again found bleeding due to a pistol shot wound to his head which he surprisingly rapidly recovered from. The boy explained that he accidentally took the pistol from the wall which led to the shot. This accident was again preceded by a recent quarrel with the Biberbach family (his next guardian) due to his “vanity and spite”. In 1831, Lord Stanhope, a British nobleman took Hauser into custody and brought him to Hungary to verify if the Countess Maytheny was indeed the boy’s mother as what he once claimed.

However, Hauser could not recognize any of the buildings. Stanhope began to doubt the boy’s credibility and transferred him to the care of a schoolmaster with whom Hauser had a tense relationship with due to his lies and too many excuses. On December 14, 1833, Hauser claimed to have been stabbed in the Ansbach Court Garden and a letter was found stating the attacker’s initials, M.L.O. and that Hauser was from the Bavarian Border. The court of enquiry suspected that he stabbed himself and wrote the letter since it resembled Hauser’s grammatical and spelling errors. Hauser died of his wound three days later.

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