It was really late one evening back when I studied in the dark and cold north of Sweden, when I turned on the TV to see a curiously strange scene from a German movie. I simple man was standing perfectly still, hand raised in the air holing a small paper note (a plead to the major to take him under his wings) in the middle of a city square.
The movie really made an impression on me, but I never got to know the name of the film or the strange man it portrayed.
The strange movie came to mind now and then during the coming 15 years, until I finally got the name of it. It was Werner Herzogs dramatization of the story of Kaspar Hauser.
Realizing it was based on true events I decided read a book about it.
📝 Kaspar Hauser was a German youth who claimed to have grown up in the total isolation, in a cage, in total darkness.
📝 “He could see in the dark as well as by day, but could not endure the light of the sun.”
📝 “His sense of smell was extraordinary.”
📝 He had magnetic qualities. “Iron attracted him; he declared that in riding, the iron saddle kept him in his seat, while his feet were held fast by the stirrups.”
📝 Chameleon-like. “The every-day face, which he wore to those immediately about him, Was neutral and commonplace enough, but instantly vanished if he was in company. “
📝 He was stabbed to death. Most likely by accident in an attempt to fake an assassination in order to be placed in the care of another protector.
📝 Many argued, both during and after Hauser’s life, that he was most likely just a fraud.
Was he just a liar and sociopathic narcissist all along! Or was his behavior was the result of year of assault and absence of parental love. Maybe a mix of both?!
Stories like these keep kindles a sense childlike wonder in me. The story is just fascinating, but the book is dry and dull at times; even painfully so towards the end with its court witness accounts and endless dissing of other written accounts of the Kaspar Hauser story.
What’s your favorite movie adaption of a non-fiction book?
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