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The Mysterious Kaspar Hauser

The Mysterious Kaspar Hauser

The Mysterious Kaspar Hauser

On May 26, 1828 a teenage boy appeared in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany. He carried a letter with him which was addressed to a captain of 6th cavalry regiment. The anonymous author said that the boy was given into his custody, as an infant, on the 7th October 1812, and that he had never let him “take a single step out of my house”. Now the boy would like to be a cavalryman, thus the captain should take him in or hang him. Hauser claimed that he had, for as long as he could think back, spent his life always totally alone in a darkened 2×1×1.5 metre cell (little more than the size of a one-person bed in area) with only a straw bed to sleep on and a horse carved out of wood for a toy. Hauser claimed that the first human being he ever had had contact with had been a mysterious man who had visited him not long before his release, always taking great care not to reveal his face to him. According to contemporary rumors – probably current as early as 1829 – Kaspar Hauser was the hereditary prince of Baden that was born on September 29, 1812 and had died within a month. It was claimed that this prince had been switched with a dying baby, and had indeed appeared 16 years later as “Kaspar Hauser” in Nuremberg. Hauser died after receiving a stab wound to the chest which was possible self-inflicted. He claimed he had been stabbed by the man who had kept him as an infant.

In 2002, the University of Münster analyzed hair and body cells from locks of hair and items of clothing that were alleged to belong to Kaspar Hauser. The DNA samples were compared to a DNA segment of Astrid von Medinger, a descendant in the female line of Stéphanie de Beauharnais, who would have been Kaspar Hauser’s mother if indeed he had been the hereditary prince of Baden. The sequences were not identical but the deviation observed is not large enough to exclude a relationship, as it could be caused by a mutation.