The story of Marina Chapman, the Colombian woman raised by monkeys, is quite unusual. Nevertheless, in the history of humankindthere have been many cases –real and fictional– of solid relationships between humans and wild animals.
We all have heard of Mowgli, the child who was raised by wolves; of Jane Goodall, the English ethologist who has saved the lives of hundreds of chimpanzees, and of many others who have lived with wild animals either in the jungle or in their homes (Grunge, n.d.).
The incredible story of the Colombian woman raised by monkeys
Marina was abandoned in the jungle when she was around five years old. She doesn’t know why or from where she was taken. Marina remembers, though, that some monkeys adopted her. In the beginning, she was terrified; however, after a while, she began to live peacefully with the primates.
Marina did not learn to speak the language of humans but that of the monkeys. And even now, when she is in her 70’s and lives in Bradford, England, she can still reproduce the sounds she learned from the monkeys. After four years with the monkeys, she was rescued by hunters, but it was not necessarily for the best (Giacomazzo, 2021).
Life in a brothel
The hunters who rescued Marina, the Colombian woman raised by monkeys, took her to Cucuta. There, she was forced to work as a prostitute. Not very long after, she escaped from the brothel and lived in the streets (The Guardian, n.d.).
From the brothel to slavery
A mafia family then took Marina in. There, she spent some more years of her life working as their maid –literally-. The years with this family were also unhappy years. She was treated as a slave: no payment, extra work hours, and mistreatment. Once again, Marina escaped and lived in the streets.
The real rescue
As if protected by an invisible hand, Maruja- a neighbor- rescued Marina from the streets. Since Maruja’s family had a textile business with England, Marina traveled to Bradford, where she finally started leading a normal life.
Marina got married, had two children, and wrote an autobiographical book, The girl with no name. At first, the book was rejected by several publishing houses but finally saw the light in 2013 through Mainstream Publishing.
Marina’s narration: a real story or false memory?
With the publication of her autobiography, Marina became very famous. Many renowned television channels like BBC and National Geographic and newspapers like the Telegraph and The Guardian interviewed her. Also, psychologists from important universities studied her case (The Nater, 2020).
Some believe Marina’s story is true, but for some others, it might well be a case of false memories. Be the account of theColombian woman raised by monkeys authentic or half invented by her brain, the point is that her life story is as impressive as that of many Colombian women. Marina’s story is as unbelievable as Omayra’s story. Omayra was the Colombian girl trapped in volcanic mudflow who was televised as she was dying. Stories like these are a sample of the characteristic magic of Colombia depicted by Nobel prize García Márquez in his books.
Giacomazzo, B. (2021). Meet Marina Chapman, The woman who claims she was raised by monkeys. All That’s Interesting. https://allthatsinteresting.com/marina-chapman
Grunge. (n.d.). Insane stories from people who lived with animals. https://www.grunge.com/94146/insane-stories-people-lived-animals/
The Guardian (n.d.). Was Marina Chapman really brought up by monkeys? https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/apr/13/marina-chapman-monkeys
The Nater. (2020). Marina Chapman: Meet The Woman Who Was Adopted And Raised As A Kid By Monkeys. https://thenater.com/marina-chapman-monkeys/