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Kaspar Hauser: Two Essays

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A disturbing 19th century mystery.

It was the day after Whitsun, May 26th, 1828, when a boy arrived suddenly at Nuremberg; no one knew where he came from, no one knew who he was. A label tied to his clothing gave the name Kaspar Hauser, but this did not throw any light on this mysterious personality. For a few weeks, the tower of the city gate, where tramps, etc., were imprisoned, became his home among human beings. On a dark winter afternoon, December 14th, 1833, when Kaspar was 21 years old, scarcely grown up, he was murdered in the park at Anspach by a stranger, whose motives were unknown. In between these two dates this mysterious figure became the most talked-of child in the world, about whom the newspapers wrote long columns in all languages, and about whom also some books were written. The name given to him, 'The Child of Europe,' became fact. It was the fact then, and is the fact today. There are still people in our times who try to unravel this secret.

Max Stibbe, an educator from the Netherlands, was one of the founders of a Waldorf school in Pretoria, South Africa. After his death in 1973, that school was named in his honor.