I Don’t Get the Forest Boy
I’m going to be honest; I don’t get the Forest Boy. I don’t understand why he did what he did, I don’t understand how it could be publicized for 9 months and not be solved prior to this point, and I cannot fathom how no one called shenanigans before this point.
The story: An English-speaking boy emerges in Berlin saying that he is a 17-year-old boy who has been living in the woods for five years with his father. His father died and he buried him in a shallow grave, and continued to live in the woods on his own for five days until he emerged with few memories. He told the police his mother’s name was Doreen, and she died before they went to live in the woods. Additionally, he knew his birth date.
On Wednesday, CNN reported that the Berlin police were finally releasing an image of the Forest Boy in hopes that someone could help identify him. He had been living in Berlin since he was found back in September. So… that’s the first thing. Why wasn’t a photo released prior to this point? Such a simple thing to do. Truly, how many people are found each year with no memory of who they are that we can’t dedicate a little media time to throw their image out there and ask the public for help?
And then, today, we discover that the whole thing was a nine-month-long hoax. The boy came clean (Why now? Why not deny the story of the girl who identified him? Why didn’t he change his appearance to disguise himself before he started the hoax?) and admits that he is now 20 years old. From the Netherlands. When he left home at 19, he was reported missing by his family, but because he was an adult, they only conducted a small investigation. He has been living on government assistance for the last seven months in Berlin. Which may have been his motive: to have a roof over his head and food. But aren’t there more concrete ways one can go about conning the system that won’t be unraveled the moment a photo is released?
And somewhat more amazing, no one questioned the validity of his story. He didn’t slip up at any point? Say anything so bizarre that it would make the police question whether or not this boy had buried his father in a shallow grave in the woods? Nine months is a long time.
I’m trying to figure out why I find this hoax so fascinating. But I do. Forest Boy occupied my mind all through yoga.
And on a side note, thank you so far for the movie recommendations. I’m moving them into the body of the Roundup so people can find them, and I’m going to come back and asterisk the ones the twins end up seeing. So many good ideas on that list; 90% of which I had totally forgotten about until this point. Go Internet! Please keep them coming.