Genie, or Susan Wiley, was a feral child and victim of abuse discovered on November 4, 1970. Genie, referred to in the media as the “Wild Child,” spent her entire youth until age thirteen in a small room, mostly tied down and restrained.
She was called Genie because her name was not released to the public. Susan Curtiss said in a 1997 documentary, that they called her Genie because, “When we think about what a genie is, a genie is a creature that comes out of a bottle or whatever, but emerges into human society past childhood. We assume that it really isn’t a creature that had a human childhood.” Indeed, reports note that she was barely spoken to her entire life.
Genie’s parents went to court, even though her mother had alerted social workers to her daughter’s condition. Her father killed himself before his court date.
Genie was an important person in the field of psycholinguistics; it was immoral to deprive someone the way her family had, but now that she had been freed, scientists were able to not only teach her, but also study her.
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