Category: Weird Articles
Published on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:00
Two real-life Tarzans have been found deep in the forests of Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province. While they came complete with brown loin cloths, they are nothing like the adorably clueless hunk in Disney’s Tarzan. I sure as hell won’t want to be their Jane.
40 years ago, during the Vietnam War, Ho Van Thanh was spotted running into the forest with his then infant son, Ho Van Lang. No one has seen them ever since, until just recently when two villagers accidentally stumbled upon their bamboo hut deep in the forest.
Nobody had fathomed that the man and his son could have survived on their own in the forest for 40 years after they disappeared in 1973. During the war with the United States, a bomb exploded in Thanh’s house killing his wife and two older sons. Eye-witnesses recounted seeing him grab his one-year-old child and fleeing to the safety of the forest. Everyone presumed that he and his son died but just a week ago on 7 August 2013, two villagers made a startling discovery when they came across a house that looked like a bird nest, built from sticks on a big tree around six meters from the ground, and near a stream.
The two villagers decided to investigate and found their two long lost relatives living inside. The decrepit 82-year-old Thanh had forgotten the mainstream Kinh language but could communicate in the Cor ethnic minority language. His 41-year-old son however, who was wearing a loin cloth made from tree bark, was able to only speak a few words.
The villagers alerted the authorities who spent many hours hiking 40 kilometers into the dense forest to rescue the father and son. Thanh was too weak to walk and had to be carried out of the jungle on a hammock.
The rescue team discovered many props they had used to survive in the wilderness. They used dry bark to make clothes, though officials found Thanh had carefully kept a little red coat of his son and his soldier’s trousers in a corner of the house. The duo also had tools like knives, axes, and arrows they made themselves for hunting. Their daily diet consisted of cassava, corn, and wild leaves, but it was also discovered that they had a one hectare sugar cane plantation near their tree house.
When the father and son were brought back to civilization, it was revealed that Ho Van Tri, Tranh’s youngest son, who was left behind on that fateful day in 1973 as a newborn and rescued by relatives, first found his father and brother 20 years ago, but he couldn’t persuade them to come home. Every subsequent year after his discovery, he brought salt and oil to them but they never accepted him. Tri even tried bringing a group of villagers along with him to convince them to return to urban living but whenever that happened, the two wild men would run into hiding. Maybe someone should have told them that the war was over a long time ago.
Thanh and his son were taken into the Tra Kem village where Tri is currently caring for them. Thanh’s nephew, Ho Ven Bien told the local press that the father and son are very depressed and clearly want to return to their home in the forest.
“My uncle doesn’t understand much of what is said to him, and he doesn’t want to eat or even drink water. We know he wants to escape my house to go back to the forest, so we have to keep an eye on him now,” Bien said.
The two men’s negative attitude towards returning to civilization is justifiable. They had lived in their bamboo hut for 40 years where it provided safety and shelter from the war. Furthermore, the only little contact they had with the outside world was through Tri who visited them every year to bring supplies. Over all these years they have grown wild and it is going to be a gargantuan task to reintegrate them back into society. They should not be held against their wishes and if they are comfortable and happy back in their jungle home they should just be allowed to go back. This sounds more like a kidnap rather than a rescue mission.
Check out the Vietnamese news report of the story.