Victor of Aveyron


Victor ‘the Wild Boy of Aveyron’ is another name on the list that you may sound familiar. Some say that he could be the first documented cause of autism, but he is definitely a well known case of a child that was left alone in the wild. At the end of the 18th century, several people saw Victor wandering in the Saint Sernin sur Rance woods, which is located in southern France. Victor was captured a first time and somehow escaped. It wasn’t until January 8, 1800 that he was caught again after coming out of the woods on his own, though he was spotted several times in 1798 and 1799. At this time he was said to be about 12 years old. His body was covered in scars and he was unable to speak a word. He was taken back to town where he was generally accepted, though once the news spread, many came forward wanting to examine him.
A biology professor, Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre, decided to examine Victor, taking off his clothes and putting him outside in the snow. Victor began to run around in the snow, showing no ill-effects of the cold temperature on his bare skin. It is said that he lived in the wild for about 7 years, so it is no surprise that his body was able to take such extreme weather. Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard then took over and decided to try to teach the boy, though he soon became frustrated at his lack of progress. Though he was probably born with the ability to talk and hear, he never did so properly after being left in the wild. He was eventually taken to the Paris Institution des Sourds-Muets where he lived with Mme Guérin and died at the age of 40.