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Elizabeth Edwards
Upper Sixth
West Town

Worried about Ray

Worried about Ray

Last month, a mysterious boy named only as Ray wandered into a City Hall in Berlin and simply said “I’m alone in the world. I don’t know who I am. Please help me." The teenager now coined as ‘forest boy’ is thought to be around 17 and has spent the last 5 years living in a forest with his father, who was thought to have been called Ryan. Unusually he spoke more English than German and told an employee at the City Hall that his father had died in a fall and so he had buried him in a shallow grave. He then followed a compass northward for two weeks until he reached Berlin.

Bizarrely he knows nothing of his existence before living in the woodland except that his mother had died in a car crash shortly before his strange move to nature. The civil servant said he looked puzzled when they asked for a form of identity and he had to be told what a passport was. The boy was placed in a Youth Shelter, where according to the Daily Mail, he is "having difficulty sleeping in a proper bed and finds soap and running water unsettling".

The Police are currently looking into the situation and are collaborating with British Forces, if he indeed does turn out to be from the UK. There are lots of options to solve the mystery of the ‘forest boy’, firstly checking DNA, dental and fingerprint records, and then trace the teenager’s footprints back to where he was staying. They can also identify his accent to hopefully determine his origins and finally publicity will hopefully help someone to recognise the poor boy.

Some have asked; is he the modern day equivalent of Germany’s legendary Kaspar Hausar? A youth who walked into the city of Nuremberg in the early 19th century who claimed to have grown up in total isolation inside a darkened cell. The story has passed into German folklore, as he continued to be a riddle even after his death.

Or is he like the German Piano Man of 2005? Who was found wandering around Kent and yet no one recognised him, he showed highly-accomplished piano skills but refused to speak.

Or is he just a plain old hoax?

No more substantial news about the boy has been released since early September. He is currently in care but it seems that neither Social Services nor the government want to divulge any further information. There is plenty of evidence not in his favour. When he arrived he looked well-fed and had a page-boy style hair cut. Was it just coincidence that the first place he went to was Berlin’s city hall? According to the employee “he seemed calm and not scared at all”. Wouldn’t you be scared if you’d just stumbled upon civilisation after 5 years of solitary living in a forest?

A Mr Nixdorf told the Independent that there has only ever been one case of a recluse living rough in the Ore Mountain woods, where the boy claimed he came from, in the past three decades. He also added that the area has so many tourists; people camping out in the forest would be noticed very quickly. Ronny Schmidt runs a society called Team Survival which specialises in survival techniques in the woodland close to Germany’s border with the Czech Republic. He said that, "This would be possible in remote regions of, say, Canada, where one could survive on the wildlife if one had the right rifle, but in Germany there is not really enough wildlife to go round, even if you spent five years camping out, in a civilised country like Germany at some stage you would end up having to go to a supermarket. I just don’t believe it." Mr Nixdorf concluded that "The Czech side is just as forested but there are less people living there. There is just a remote possibility of being able to camp out there without being seen, but it is really remote.”

At present no new information has been released and the odds seem against his story, which brings me to the assumption that all of this may have been a silly trick on the public. However, time will only tell whether the mystery of the forest boy named Ray is true. In conclusion, I think I can get away with quoting The Hoosiers’ lyrics: “The truth be told, the truth be told, I’m worried about the future holds, the future holds, I’m starting to worry about Ray”.

3 October 2011

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