A British woman has revealed an astonishing tale of how she was kidnapped as a child and dumped in the deep embers of a Colombian jungle where she was raised by a troop of capuchin monkeys for five years.
Marina Chapman recalls in her new book, “The Girl with No Name,” how she learned to hunt birds and rabbits, scale trees and live like a monkey for half a decade in a northern Colombian jungle.
Eventually Chapman was found by hunters who sold her to a brothel for a parrot. She then became leader of a gang of thieves in the city of Cucuta.
After a year she began working with a Colombian family as a maid. In 1977 she was invited to join them on a six-month business trip to a city in the north of England, where she now currently resides with her husband and two daughters.
Chapman, whose much-anticipated book is set to be released next year, returned to Colombia in 2007 in search of her family but without success.
Despite declining to give interviews until next April, Chapman gave snippets of her breathtaking tale through her publisher Andrew Lownie.
“My story starts with my earliest memory. I was four; squeezing pods until the peas popped in our allotment that bordered the village. A black hand suddenly clamped a damp white cloth over my nose and mouth; as I tried to scream the hand pushed harder and the sky turned black,” she said.
Chapman then found herself deserted in a Colombian jungle near the Venezuela boarder where she learned how to survive by observing the behavior of a family of capuchin monkeys and adapting their life style.
“They fought, played and shared tender and terrifying experiences. Marina developed extraordinary super-human abilities such as tree-climbing, stealth and animal communication,” commented the Lownie agency.
Her daughter Vanessa James, who helped write the book, claimed in an interview that her mother’s experiences in the jungle made her upbringing slightly different to her friends,” as in one instance she said “when we wanted food, we’d have to make noises for it.”
“All my school friends loved Mum because she was so unusual. She was childlike, too, in many ways,” added the daughter.
“I got bedtime stories about the jungle, as did my sister. We didn’t think it odd — it was just Mum telling her life.”
Following five years in the jungle Marina was found by hunters and subsequently sold to a brothel to work as a prostitute, but fortunately managed to escape before having to meet her first client.
She found herself on the streets of Cucuta having to resort to petty crime to survive and even led a small gang of thieves made up of homeless and orphans in the city.
A Colombian family later took her in and offered her work before taking her to the city of Bradford where she has since built a family.
Since her arrival in England Chapman has been involved in several organizations helping less fortunate people and intends on giving half of the profits from her book sales to charities which combat human trafficking, child slavery and abuse in Colombia.
Chapman hopes that the release of the story will shed more light on her parents after a recent trip to Colombia failed to produce any definite answers.
Her daughter said, “One woman came forward, but Mum could not bring herself to meet her. What was extraordinary is that her first names were Marina Luz. Maybe she was a sister? What we don’t know is if she said that was her name because that’s my mother’s, or if my mother had subconsciously named herself that as it was one she recalled from before being kidnapped.”
This remarkable story is also set to be retold in a documentary by one English television station while the book will be sold in seven countries.