Marina Chapman: Whatever happened to the girl raised by monkeys?

Marina Chapman, by her own account, has had a roller coaster of a life. Hers is the sort of story that one might point a cynical finger towards, touting improbability. But maybe, for a moment, we can put our skepticism aside. Maybe, if only for one day, the internet can leave their world-weariness at the door. Maybe, just maybe, with the eyes of a child, we can look to the tale of Marina Chapman and believe that yes, Virginia, a woman really was raised by capuchin monkeys.

Or, you know, maybe it's crap. Who's to say? Let's dig in.

To hear Marina Chapman tell it, her story goes as follows: sometime around her fifth birthday (maybe 1955, but who knows?) she was playing outside when two dudes snuck up and chloroformed her real good. She relays vague memories of hearing other children crying. Next stop: the Colombian rainforest, where she was unceremoniously dumped.

Then came the monkeys, glorious capuchin monkeys with a maternal streak. After she suffered from a bad case of tamarind poisoning, the monkeys took pity on her, accepting her into their fold and teaching her to climb trees, eat healthy, and groom herself to the standards of a small primate. She knew that they really loved her "when they started to wee on (her) leg." How that never made it into a Jungle Book adaptation, we'll never know.

Capuchin Chapman

As reported by The Guardian, Chapman's story is so far out there that publishers refused to print her memoir, A Girl With No Name. It also goes on to become more dramatic: Discovered by hunters, Marina wound up sold to a brothel, but escaped in the proverbial nick of time. From there, she moved to Cucata, where she was briefly enslaved by an organized crime family and forced to clean their house. She was adopted, moved to Bogota, and took the name Marina. There, she met a nice boy named John at church and the two were married, eventually moving to Bradford and having a couple of kids.

Difficult to swallow? Maybe. But you know what? So is tamarind. And you know what else? We're not sure where we're going with this argument.