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Kaspar Hauser

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The Mystery of a Strange Foundling – Who was Kaspar Hauser, who killed him and why was he killed?

Everything began on Whit Monday, 26th May 1828, at the Unschlittplatz in Nuremberg. There - at approximately 4 p.m. – a young man (later his age was assessed at 15 to 17) staggered into the arms of two journeymen. The two shoemaker journeymen thought that they had to deal with a drunkard and tried to draw information from the young man to bring him home. He only repeated one sentence: “I want to become a good horseman like my father has been.” So the both considered on how the stranger could be helped. Finally he extracted an envelope and the both journeymen brought him to the mentioned address where the cavalry captain von Wessenig lived.


Sir von Wessenig arranged that the young lad was immediately taken to the police station. During an interrogation they tried to find out his name and further details. But the young man only uttered unintelligible sounds and wordings. Only when a police officer gave him a pen in his hand he wrote with difficulty, but nevertheless legible: “Kaspar Hauser”.


It was determined to put the stranger under arrest in Castle Nuremberg so that he was able to sleep it off there. On the following days, they always tried to find more details of Kasper Hauser in conversations and interrogations, but except the already known sentence that he wanted to become a horseman, there was nothing to get out of him. After three months in prison, Kasper Hauser was handed over to high school professor Georg Friedrich Daumer so that he could care for the education and development of the foundling. In the house of Daumer Kaspar Hauser was well and he learned reading and writing very quickly, showed great interest in his environment and because of his enormous musical talent he took great pleasure in painting and drawing as well as playing the piano.


His positive development came to an abrupt end on 17th October 1829: A stranger attacked Kasper Hauser in Daumer’s house and wounded him seriously but not perilous. This first assassination had been reason enough to remove Hauser from Daumer’s domicile and to bring him to a safer place. In January 1830, Kasper moved in the house of the merchant and town council Biberach. Nearly half a year later, he was received in the house of his official guardian, Baron Gottlieb von Tucher. On 29th November 1831, he once again needed to pack his few things and at the bidding of his new guardian, Lord Stanhope, he had to move to Ansbach. Here he lived in the house of court president Anselm von Feuerbach until 10th December and later on stayed in the domicile of teacher Meyer. Feuerbach occupied Hauser at the court of appeal – opposite to Meyer’s domicile – as a clerk of the court.


Kaspar Hauser accustomed himself well to Ansbach, even when his relation to teacher Meyer could be described as extremely strained. On 20th May 1833, Kaspar Hauser confirmed in the Schwanenritterkapelle (Swan-Knight Chapel) and in this year he also began to develop the first tender feeling for the daughter of the government president, Lila von Stichaner. On 14th December 1833 a stranger lured him in the court garden because he wanted to find out something about Hauser’s origin. Kaspar Hauser went alone to the court garden on that gloomy December Saturday and the stranger stabbed him down with a cut aimed at his breast. As a consequence of this severe wound, he died three days later, on 17th December 1833 at 10 p.m. in the domicile of teacher Meyer. Again three days later, on 20th December 1833, he was burried at the town cemetary with great sympathy of the population.


The question that has been moving the minds till today is: Who was Kaspar Hauser? From where did he come? Where was he before his appearance in Nuremberg? Essentially, there are two great camps in Kaspar Hauser- research. One camp says that he was a swindler and impostor who duped the whole world until nowadays. The others are convinced that Kaspar Hauser was the first-born son of the grand duke Karl of Baden and Stephanie Beauharnais.


Also the genetic investigations in 1996 could not present a final clarification of Kaspar Hauser’s real origin. From that time on, it is only stated that the blood on Kaspar Hauser’s clothing he wore on the day of his assassination has no conformity with the descendants of the sisters of the hereditary prince for whom Kaspar Hauser is taken.

In 2002, scientists of the Forensic Institute in Münster carried out another genetic analysis. They used six specimen of dead tissue materials (a.o. hair) and found out that their genetic code is not identical with the blood derived from Kaspar Hauser’s pants. In comparison with it, the genetic conformity with the female descendants of Stephanie de Beauharnais is relatively high. A final scientific opionion is still overdue.


But what is the truth? Many questions will have to be clarified now: Why was the House of Baden so afraid of the foundling and why could the story of a foundling disturb the balance of the European nobility so easily? Why was a spy appointed and why was the young man kept a prisoner? Why were three murderous attempts committed? It stays still obscure who the foundling was and by whom he was killed.