Christian and I are currently preparing a podcast episode on feral children -- and it's one of the more depressing-yet-enthralling topics I've researched in my 5+ years of science podcasting. Forget tales of jungle boys and talking animals, because it's essentially all about language. Love, compassion, culture -- those are all important factors, but they too are built on the foundation of human language.
In the upcoming episode, you'll hear us discuss Susan "Genie" Wiley, a severely neglected 13-year-old Californian girl discovered in 1970. And what better pseudonym than "Genie," in reference to an emergent creature without a human childhood? Her case serves as the most notable modern example of a so-called "feral child" in abnormal childhood psychology. Hers is also a story of what happens when well-meaning professionals, caregivers and the media converge on a tragic situation.
It's a sad story, and one we'll only be able to cover in brief. So I present to you the excellent 1997 NOVA documentary "Secret of the Wild Child," narrated by actor Stacy Keich. You'll also find the official transcript right here.