In a new tell-all, a British woman claims she was raised by monkeys.
Columbian-born Marina Chapman said she was kidnapped and held for ransom at four-years old and abandoned in a jungle. She spent five years being raised by Capuchin monkeys.
Chapman said she was adopted by Capuchins as one of their own, learning how to scale trees, hunt birds and rabbits, and other customary behaviors.
The now 50-something woman is releasing a personal memoir entitled The Girl with No Name.
The book’s description gives a brief account of her jungle family’s experiences:
“They fought, played and shared tender and terrifying experiences. Marina developed extraordinary super-human abilities such as tree-climbing, stealth and animal communication.”
Chapman claimed she was rescued by hunters and sold to a Columbian brothel. She said she eventually found work as a housemaid as a teenager and met her husband during a trip to Britain. They have two children together.
Researchers are not surprised at how welcoming monkeys are to human children.
In 1991 a six-year-old Ugandan boy was found living in trees with vervet monkeys. Twenty-seven years later, he learned to speak and is now singing and traveling with a choir. In 1996, another African child was found living with monkeys. When discovered, the two-year-old Nigerian boy walked like the chimps with his hands dragging against the ground. He later died in 2005.
Many scientists believe that Capuchin monkeys are unique to this type of acceptance unlike goats, dogs, and wolves who have also been linked to raising humans. Many Capuchin monkeys average between 30cm and 50 cm in height.
“Capuchins are very sociable and intelligent animals, but they can also be highly aggressive, territorial and vicious. They have been known to kill each other in territorial disputes,” said an animal expert. “An adult male Capuchin monkey weights around 6 or 7kg, about half the size of a three-year-old child. It wouldn’t be able to pick up a baby, let alone a small girl of four.”
The details surrounding Chapman’s kidnapping are still unknown to Chapman and her family.
“It’s assumed that the kidnap went wrong,” her daughter Vanessa James told reporters. “All she can remember is being chloroformed with a hand over her mouth. And all she can remember of her life before that is having a black doll as a toddler.”
James also believes her mother’s upbringing allowed her to apply a unique twist to motherhood.
“I got bedtime stories about the jungle, as did my sister. We didn’t think it was odd—it was just Mum telling her life,” James said.
Chapman and her family will donate proceeds from the book to charities fighting human trafficking and child slavery in Columbia.