Genie Wiley The Feral Child

Genie Wiley the Feral Child’s story seems like something out of a story book: An unloved and abused child who survived a horrible confinement and is rediscovered and presented to the world.

Wiley’s story, unfortunately, is a terrible, true-life story.

For the first 13 years of her life, Genie Wiley was cut off from all forms of socialization and civilization. Wiley had not learnt to talk and her growth had been stunted to the point that she appeared to be no more than eight years old due to her abusive father and helpless mother’s neglect.

Scientists in a variety of professions, including psychology and linguistics, found her extreme trauma to be a godsend, however they were eventually accused of exploiting the youngster for their learning and development study. Genie Wiley’s case, on the other hand, raised the question of what it means to be human.

The Brutal Upringing that turned her into a ” feral child”

A feral child is a young individual who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, with little or no experience of human care, social behavior, or language

The Feral Child’s real name isn’t Genie. She was given the pseudonym to conceal her identify as she became a scientific wonder.

Susan Wiley was born in 1957 to Clark Wiley and Irene Oglesby, a much younger wife. Oglesby was a Dust Bowl emigrant who ended up in Los Angeles, where she met her spouse. He was a former assembly-line worker whose mother reared him in and out of brothels. Clark’s youth had a great impact on him, and he would dwell on the figure of his mother for the rest of his life.

Clark Wiley had no desire for children. He despised the commotion and tension they brought with them. Regardless, the first baby girl arrived, and Wiley abandoned her in the garage to freeze to death when she refused to be quiet.

Genie Wiley and her brother John were born after the Wileys’ second child died of a congenital condition. Susan’s brother had also been subjected to their father’s abuse, but it was nothing compared to Susan’s ordeal.

Though he had always been a little odd, the murder of Clark Wiley’s mother in 1958 by a drunk driver seemed to utterly ruin him. His malice was fanned into an inferno by the ending of their complicated relationship.

For every disobedience, Clark Wiley would smack her across the face with a huge plank of wood. He’d snarl like a crazed guard dog outside her door, developing in the girl a lifelong terror of clawed creatures. Due to Wiley’s later sexually inappropriate behavior, particularly with older men, some experts suspect sexual abuse was involved.

Genie Wiley, the Feral Child, recalled in her own words:

“Father hit arm. Big wood. Genie cry… Not spit. Father. Hit face — spit. Father hit big stick. Father is angry. Father hit Genie big stick. Father take piece wood hit. Cry. Father make me cry.”

For thirteen years Wiley lived this way.

The Rescue Of Genie Wiley

Genie Wiley’s mother was practically blind, which prevented her from intervening on her daughter’s behalf, according to her later testimony. But, 14 years after Genie Wiley first witnessed her father’s abuse, her mother eventually summoned the resolve to flee.

The House Where Wiley was enslaved

She stumbled into social services in 1970, thinking it for the office that provided assistance to the blind. When the office workers spotted the young girl acting abnormally, hopping like a rabbit instead of strolling, their ears perked up.

Genie Wiley was nearly 14 at the time, although she appeared to be no older than eight. Both parents were charged with child abuse right away, but Clark Wiley committed suicide shortly before his trial. “The world will never understand,” he said on a note he left behind.

Wiley was forced to become a ward of the state. When she arrived at UCLA’s Children’s Hospital, she spoke only a few words and was branded “the most profoundly damaged child they had ever seen” by medical staff.

Wiley Became A Research Subject

Wiley’s case drew the attention of scientists and medics, who filed for and were awarded a funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate her. From 1971 to 1975, the team spent four years researching the “Developmental Consequences of Extreme Social Isolation.”

Wiley became the center of these scientists’ existence for those four years. “She wasn’t socialized, and her conduct was repulsive,” Susie Curtiss, a linguist involved in the feral child study, explained, “but she simply charmed us with her beauty.”

During those four years, Wiley’s situation also put the ethics of a subject-researcher relationship to the test. Wiley would live with several of the team members who had been watching her, which was not only a significant conflict of interest, but might possibly lead to another abusive relationship in her life.

The discovery of Genie Wiley coincided with a surge in the scientific study of language. Wiley was a blank slate for language scientists, a means to figure out what role language plays in our development and vice versa. Genie Wiley, in a tragic irony, has suddenly become highly sought after.

One of the “Genie Team’s” initial objectives was to figure out which came first: Wiley’s abuse or her developmental gap. Wiley’s developmental delay was a result of her mistreatment, or was she born with a disability?

Susan Curtiss, a UCLA linguistics professor,

Linguists widely assumed that children could not learn a language beyond puberty until the late 1960s. Genie the Feral Child, on the other hand, contradicted this. She was “very talkative,” according to her researchers, and she had a passion for knowledge and curiosity. Wiley was able to learn a language, but syntax and sentence structure were a another story.

Curtiss described her as “clever.” She had the ability to hold a group of photographs together in such a way that they told a tale. She was capable of constructing a wide range of sophisticated buildings out of sticks. She showed hints of brilliance in other ways as well.

“Is it true that language makes us human?” “That’s a difficult question,” Curtiss replied. “It is possible to be fully human, to love, make connections, and engage with the world, despite knowing very little language.” Genie was certainly interested in what was going on in the world. She could sketch in such a way that you could tell exactly what she was saying.”

As a result, Wiley could build simple sentences to describe what she desired or was thinking, such as “applesauce buy store,” but she couldn’t grasp the complexities of a more complex sentence structure. This illustrated the distinction between language and thought.

“Our thoughts are verbally encoded for many of us,” Curtiss explained. Genie’s thoughts were almost never expressed vocally, although there are numerous ways to think.”

Genie Wiley Life Today

Genie Wiley’s current situation is unknown; after her mother took possession, she refused to allow her daughter to be the focus of any further research. She, like so many other persons with disabilities, fell between the cracks of sufficient care.

Wiley’s mother passed away in 2003, her brother John passed away in 2011, and her niece Pamela passed away in 2012. Russ Rymer, a journalist, attempted to piece together what led to Wiley’s team’s separation, but he found the process difficult because the scientists were split on who was exploitative and who was looking out for the wild child’s best interests.

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