On 31st of October the CFZ 2010 expedition leaves England. They will be exploring the Garo Hills in Northern India in search of the mande-burung or Indian yeti. The five-man team consists of team leader Adam Davies, Dr Chris Clark, Dave Archer, field naturalist Jonathan McGowan, and cryptozoologist Richard Freeman.

Friday, 12 November 2010

OLL LEWIS: Take me to the River

One afternoon in February 1973 a priest out for an afternoon walk by the Kuano river near the village of Baragdava, Uttar Pradesh in Northern India, saw a most peculiar sight. The priest was crossing the river via a dam when he saw a naked boy of about 15 years old walking into the water and diving under the waters for about a minute before rising up triumphantly with a fish in his mouth. The lad ate the fish raw then swam away. When the priest told the villagers of this unusual sight a woman named Somni told him how her son Ramchandra was swept away by the river when he was a baby and would be roughly the same age as the boy.

Although another villager saw the boy by the river a few days later the boy was not seen again in the area until 1978 when Somni spotted him in a field. Somni was able to look at a birthmark on the boy and confirmed it was her missing son before he ran off. This time the villagers were more prepared and managed to find and capture the boy to take him back to Baragdava. He eventually escaped again and went back to living in the river but having learned that humans would feed him and meant him no harm, he was no longer afraid of human contact.

Ramchandra would occasionally come to the village or regularly be spotted by the river and seemed quite happy with his lot in life. It was on one of his visits into the village that the boy was observed by a journalist who wrote up the story of the feral child (who was by now a man) for the Allahabad magazine and observed Ramchandra submerging himself underwater for much longer than a normal person would be capable of. The journalist said that Ramchandra had dark skin with a subtle green tinge to it and walked upright but with a quite clumsy gait. He also had very hard skin on his feet as one might expect from someone who spent their life outdoors and without the comfort of shoes. It is thought that the boy was deaf and certainly was never observed speaking or making any human sounds.

Compared to most feral children it would seem that Ramchandra led quite a nice life and it doesn't look like he was ever persecuted, abused or exploited in order to make money or make somebody famous, as is the fate of most feral children. His death, however, was tragic. He had made his way into the nearby village of Sanrigar where a woman threw a large amount of boiling water at him in fright. The woman, unaware that this was the river boy from the next village along, had possibly been frightened by Ramchandra's appearance, strange walk and the fact that he would have been completely naked; and she may have feared that she was about to be sexually attacked by a madman. Ramchandra ran back to the river that he knew and loved but it was too late for the young fish lad and his blistered body was found in the river later that day.

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