Siberian ‘forest boy’ found after 16 years in wilderness

Updated 10 September 2013
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Siberian ‘forest boy’ found after 16 years in wilderness

MOSCOW: Russian authorities have found a young man living alone in a Siberian forest after having apparently spent most of his life living there in a hut with his parents, local officials said Tuesday.
Locals near the town of Belokurikha found the man, who told the local prosecutor that he was born in 1993 and had lived in the forest since 1997, when his family decided to leave society.
But his parents left him alone in the hut in May before he finally went to a nearby village to ask for help when the summer ended, the authorities said.
The local prosecutor’s office, alarmed that the man may have to spend the Siberian winter in a forest by himself, appealed in court to have his identification documents reestablished so that he can seek seek state support, prosecutor Roman Fomin told AFP.
“I am not sure if he needs all this attention,” he said. “He looked normal and healthy, he only spoke slowly, since he doesn’t communicate as often as most people.”
He said that the man’s family went to live in the wild as a conscious decision, but apparently not out of religious reasons. “They are not religious people,” he said.
“He was just afraid that he won’t survive the winter without his parents,” Fomin said. “But maybe they have already come back.”
Fomin said that a local woman had brought the young man to the prosecutors out of fear that he may need help through the cold winter, but the man then had gone back to his hiding place in the forest.
The Russian media are variously calling him “forest boy” or the “Siberian Mowgli,” after the main character in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.”
Belokurikha is a well-known resort area in Russia’s picturesque Altai region in south Siberia, known for mineral springs, health spas, and skiing.


Missing ‘Picasso’ thought found in Romania a hoax: report

In this Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, the empty space where Henri Matisse' painting "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune" was hanging, right, is seen next to a painting by Maurice Denis, center, and Pierre Bonnard, left, at Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (AP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Missing ‘Picasso’ thought found in Romania a hoax: report

  • Romanian authorities said that it “might be” Picasso’s painting, which is estimated to be worth 800,000 euros ($915,000)

THE HAGUE: A writer who thought she had found a masterpiece by Pablo Picasso stolen in an infamous art heist six years ago said Sunday she was the victim of a “publicity stunt,” the NOS Dutch public newscaster reported.
Picasso’s “Harlequin Head” was one of seven celebrated paintings stolen from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 2012 during a daring robbery local media dubbed “the theft of the century.”
The artworks have not been seen since.
Around 10 days ago, Mira Feticu, a Dutch writer of Romanian origin who wrote a novel based on the heist, was sent an anonymous letter.
“I received a letter in Romanian with instructions regarding the place where the painting was hidden,” she told AFP.
The instructions led her to a forest in eastern Romania where she dug up an artwork.
Romanian authorities, who received the canvas on Saturday night, said that it “might be” Picasso’s painting, which is estimated to be worth 800,000 euros ($915,000). Experts were checking whether it was authentic.
However on Sunday night Feticu told NOS that she was the victim of a performance by two Belgian directors in Antwerp.
Feticu said she received an email from the Belgian duo explaining that the letter was part of a project called “True Copy” dedicated to the notorious Dutch forger Geert Jan Jansen, whose fakes flooded the art collections of Europe and beyond until he was caught in 1994.
“Part of this performance was prepared in silence in the course of the past few months, with a view to bringing back Picasso’s ‘Tete d’Arlequin’,” the directors wrote on their website.
Their production company “currently wishes to abstain from any comment” because it first wants to speak Fetuci, the statement said.
“We will be back with more details on this issue within the next few days.”