Marie-Angélique Memmie Le Blanc, the Wild Girl of Champagne
Probably everybody knows the legend, in which Romulus and Remus lived for some time with Rea, or the story about Maugli from The Jungle Book of Rudyard Kypling, and so on. It should be noted, that not all of the stories of feral children are fictional. Many children were raised by animals and they subsequently did not know fully move back into the society. But there are also cases when where children held in small rooms without human contact. Also in these cases we can see them as feral children/wild children or wolf children, because they grown up without any or minimal human contact. As stated John McCrone such children „with no inner voice to organise their minds, feral children are reduced to the level of an animal. There is a little, if anything, about man´s higher mental abilities which can be considired innate. Indeed, even sexual behaviour, facial expressions and walking on two legs seem to require the shaping mould of society.“
Overall, according to Leonard LaPointe, cases of feral children can be „classify and discuss into (a) children raised by animals, (b) isolated children who lived on their own, and (c) confined children.“ Thus, there are different terrible cases, but there is one really special case of Marie-Angélique Memmie LeBlanc, the Wild Girl of Champagne, whose story is full of mysteries...
Memmie LeBlanc was found in the woods of Songy, France. In one day of September 1731 were people alarmed by the entrance into the street of a nine or ten years old girl dressed in the skin of animals, armed with a short baton, who was probably searching for water.
One of the villagers launched on girl his dog, but she killed him. When villagers wanted to arrested her, she hid on a tree and did not want to come down. When somebody approached to her, she started to cry or growl. Finally, one women lured her down on food and water. Wild girl had problems to articulate, only words, which she was able to say were in a kind of foreign language. When villagers washed girl for several times, they found that, although she looked like to be a black girl, in fact, she was white and her skin was dark from dirt and also colour. Furthermore she wore a necklace, some pendants and pouch fixed to a large animal skin. According to Michael Newton she had also a „small knife, inscribed with strange characters.“
At last, was to this girl with blue eyes, who managed to run fast, turn to dive and to climb trees, gave name Memmie Le Blanc. When she was in St. Maur, hospital in Chalons, she learned French, which was relatively quickly. She said, to people, that she was kidnapped, painted on black and sold into slavery. She was taken with other slaves, when she wasn´t working, they beat her. She also said that she was in some hot country.
First, we can stop at the information that she learned French faster and easier than we should assume. It is interesting because as informed Leonard LaPointe „(David) Crystal stated that most attempts to teach wild children language failed. Some are reported to have learned some speech (...) but little evidence is presented to verify these reports.“ One example for all is Peter the Wild Boy, who was captured in Hanover in 1725 when he was 12. Even he spent more than 60 years in society and he was teached by the best teachers, he could say only his name and garbled form of „King George.“ In Memmie´s case researchers thought that she could be kidnapped when she was 7 or 8 years old or maybe younger and thus she had some basics of some language.
But Memmie´s story continues. Once ship, on which she sailed from hot country, wrecked and Memmie with second girl survived. After swimming they reached shore, while Memmie knew how to swim and second girl hold her leg. They were moving at night, slept in trees, ate roots and raw flesh. They communicated with each other by signs and wild cries. Once they had a fight and during the battle Memmie did to a second girl a blow on the head. Memmie found a frog skin and put it on the wound. Furthermore, girls break up and live independently.
Another interesting information was, that the clothes from animal skins, according to which some thought that Memmie was Eskimo, girls get from a woman. Thus arises the question: who was the mysterious woman and also how could Memmie know that she will heal girl´s wound with frog skin?
Although it may seem crazy, mysterious woman, who gave clothes to girls, could belong to prehistoric people, who could survive to these days. While this is incredible, many authors argue, that before few centuries it was normal to meet these people. Even according to some theories these people could be surviving Neanderthals, who evolved simultaneously with us in different parts of the world. For example as stated Aleš Česal „in Slavic ethnic group remain a set of rumors about the members of the wild nation – wild men and wild women, who lived in the forests and mountains.“ More detailed description of the wild women brought us Otomar Dvořák, who states that „these women were particularly repulsive appearance, naked or partially wrapped by some animal skin, whole their body were covered with sparse red hair and luxuriant mane of red hair.“ With wild people apparently had some people trade and wild women gave for bread „otherwise difficultly obtainable forest herbs and medicinal roots.“ Wild women had also good healing abilities. Similar stories about wild people come also from the Caucasus or Normandy. We can ask whether the strange woman who gave girls fur was wild woman and whether they had learned also some methods of healing, since Memmie automatically gave to the girlfriend´s wound frog skin?
However, there are not more informations about the strange woman, who gave fur to girls. Researchers were more interested in the origin of the strange girl, who during her life lived in a series of convents. One of the researchers, who were interested in this case, was also James Burnett, the Lord of Monboddo. As Newton states, during one experiment were before Memmie gave different dolls. „Among them were also Eskimo and his wife carrying her baby,“ she grabbed the Eskimo couple even the others „were more colorful and more interestingly adorned.“
Also based on this event, many believed that Memmie was Eskimo, but it should be considered, that girl reached for the dolls who represented the family. So, lonely, confused and unhappy girl can only longed for his parents and home, from where she was abducted, while she wasn´t interesting in clothes of dolls.
Researchers, who don´t agree with theory that Memmie was an Eskimo, argue that, as stated Newton, she was „fair-complexioned, smooth-skinned, her features were soft as a European.“ But there is much bigger secret, which covers her homeland because she said that it was somewhere where is snow on the ground much of the year and her people can use knives and clubs.
Anyhow, there is another clue, that would tell us about the story of a little girl something more. How Memmie said, she didn´t remember on family but only on a large sea animal with a round head and big eyes, that swum with two feet like a dog. There is a possibility that it could be a seal. According to the Ken Metz „in the case of seals and dogs, one can picture them being more and more alike, until the math works us back about 46 or 54 milion years to when the difference between them was zero. A zero difference means that those two species were then in fact the one same species. In other words (...) there existed no separate (...) ancestors, instead what existed was just their one, shared, ancestral species. That single ancestral species evidently gave birth to one branch of descendants that eventually evolved into today´s land carnivorans (dog family, cat family, bear family, and their kin) and also gave birth to other descendants that branched off to become today´s marine carnivorans.“
So, we can see, that seal and a dog have real similarities and the animal which was swimming as a dog could really be a seal.
We should also look on the more important fact, which is, that Memmie had blue eyes. According to some theories blue eyes gradually expanded mainly because they are adapted to the light of European winters. It is even proven, that reindeer eyes turn blue in the arctic winter. On this basis and her testimony we can really assume, that Memmie came from countries with cold climate. Since she had European features and white skin (Eskimos have dark skin), she was probably from one of the Scandinavian countries or Russia.
Of course, to the definitive answer of the origins of this mysterious girl could help us knife with special symbols, which she had. This way of thinking had also Burnett, but as stated Newton: „The weapons were in the possession of the new Viscount d´Epinoy. So, following Memmie´s footsteps, Burnett made the short journey to the chateau. But he had no luck (...) the Viscount left his residence at Songi.“
So, apparently the only trace, knife with strange characters, which could reveal the true origin of Memmie is for the general public well hidden...
When Burtnett passed away and people, who cared for her died, disappeared also interest about Memmie and also the time of her death is a mystery. Similarly, we do not know where is she buried, so the place of her origin can not be detected through DNA testing. Appears once knife with strange symbols, able to lift the veil of mystery of wild girl, named Marie-Angélique Memmie Le Blanc?
Source of the picture: https://pixabay.com/sk/diev%C4%8Da-les-cesty-diev%C4%8Datko-detstva-1246690/