1828 – Kaspar Hauser first appears in Nuremberg

Kaspar Hauser remains an enigma.

His first recorded appearance was on this day in 1828, on the streets of Nuremberg, Germany. He would barely talk; when a cobbler named Weickmann took the boy to the house of Captain von Wessenig, to whom a letter carried by Hauser was addressed, his only utterances were “I want to be a cavalryman, as my father was,” and “Horse! Horse!” Further attempts to get him to communicate brought forth only crying, or the obstinate proclamation of “Don’t know” from Hauser.

The only identification he carried was the letter to von Wessenig, the captain of the 4th squadron of the 6th cavalry regiment. It was dated “From the Bavarian border / The place is not named / 1828”. The anonymous author said that the boy was given into his custody, as an infant, on the 7th October 1812, and that he had instructed him in reading, writing, and the Christian religion but had never let him “take a single step out of my house”. The letter stated that the boy would now like to be a cavalryman; and that therefore, the captain should take him in or hang him. There was another short letter enclosed, purporting to be from his mother to his prior caretaker, but later discovered to have been written by the same hand as the other one. It stated that he was born on April 30, 1812, and that his father, a cavalryman of the 6th regiment, was dead.

Hauser later became more communicative, but the puzzle of his origin was never solved, and his death, in 1833, was scarcely less mysterious.

Referenced in:

Kaspar – BAP
Kaspar Hauser – Trial
Kaspar – Reinhard Mey
Gaspard – Georges Moustaki
Kaspar Hauser – Dschinghis Khan
Wooden Horse (Caspar Hauser’s Song) – Suzanne Vega

One of those cases where I have categorised the event as Culture, despite its ill-fit there, primarily due to the fact that it seems to fit any other category even less.