A British housewife, Marina Chapman, claims she spent five years raised by monkeys in the Colombian jungle. She says she was kidnapped for ransom in the 1950s when she was five and abandoned in the jungle where she lived with a colony of capuchin monkeys.
The Telegraph reports the woman from Bradford believes she was born in the early 1950s.
The Sun reports that one of Chapman's two daughters, Vanessa, a film and TV composer, comments on her mother's bizarre story: “It’s assumed the kidnap went wrong. All that mum remembers is being chloroformed with a hand over her mouth. Before that, all she can recall of her life is having a black doll as a toddler.”
The Daily Mail reports Chapman says she learned to catch prey, including birds and rabbits with her bare hands. She says the colony of capuchin monkeys cared for her.
The Telegraph reports Vanessa told the Sunday Times: "She obviously learnt to fend for herself and only once got very ill when she ate some poisonous berries. I got bedtime stories about the jungle, as did my sister. We didn't think it odd - it was just Mum telling her life. So in a way it was nothing special having a mother like that."
According to Chapman, her life in the forest with capuchin monkeys ended abruptly when hunters discovered her and sold her to a brothel in the northern city of Cucuta in exchange for a parrot. Chapman said she was being groomed to become a prostitute but managed to escape. She said she was beaten regularly at the brothel.
The Telegraph reports that after she escaped from the brothel, she spent some years on the streets. She says she was arrested a few times and kept in a cell but in her mid-teens a Colombian family took her in as a maid. She said she took the name Marina Luz.
She said that later, when she was in her mid-twenties, she traveled with a family to Bradford in England. She stayed in England after she met her husband, John Chapman, at a church meeting. Chapman was then a 29-year-old bacteriologist and church organist. She said that while she was in England, she worked in the textile trade before she married Chapman.
The Chapmans have two daughters. Chapman says she told her husband about her past only after they were married in 1977. Chapman, who believes she is now 62, said she decided to tell her story to help bring the horrors of human trafficking in South America to focus.
Her daughter Vanessa says her mum brought them up in an unusual way. She said: "When we wanted food, we had to make noises for it. All my school friends loved Mum as she was so unusual. She was childlike, too, in many ways. I got bedtime stories about the jungle, as did my sister. We didn't think it odd - it was just Mum telling her life. So in a way it was nothing special having a mother like that."
The Daily Mail reports Vanessa is helping her mother write a book titled, "The Girl With No Name." The book will be published in April. Blink Films is also planning to air a documentary about it.
According to The Telegraph, Chapman trained as a cook and worked at the National Media Museum in Bradford. She later worked with troubled young children.
The Inquistr comments on the story with a note of sarcasm:
"The British housewife raised by monkeys has only come forward with her strange tale publicly now, decades after she says she spent five years in the jungle being taken care of by capuchin monkeys. As with all similar yarns, the housewife raised by monkeys occurred half a century ago, and bears few verifiable details for those who might want to check up on the tale Marina Chapman, now in her 60s, tells British press."
However, the Daily Mail notes experts in the study of feral children say monkeys have been known to accept young humans into their fold. The story of a Ugandan orphan, John Ssebunya, is well known. He lived for more than a year with vervet monkeys at the age of four and learned to adapt to human society after he was rescued more than 20 years ago.