A nocturnal boy discovered in the woods outside Harold may have been ‘raised by moths’.
A group of naturalists had set out to record the night-time insects of Harold, but were shocked when their powerful lamps attracted a jittery youth with a face smeared in nectar.
“We’d set up nets, motion-sensing cameras and switched the big light on”, explained Gerladine Forster, who heads the local wildlife trust.
“There was a commotion behind us; snapping twigs, a rush of air, followed by what sounded eerily like a child muttering ‘flapflapflapflapflap’.
“Before we knew what was going on, our light had crashed to the floor, broken and the culprit was nowhere to be seen. Whatever it was, it was big.”
“And incredibly stupid, even by moth standards.”
Footage from their cameras revealed a startling discovery. “We couldn’t be sure, but it looked as though we’d attracted a small boy with eyes as wide as saucers”, revealed Forster. “His left hand was pressed tight to his forehead, using two fingers as makeshift antennae.”
“We’d need to carry out more tests but I knew we were close to proving that someone with heightened moth instincts can smash bulbs with their face.”
The team returned to the woods the next morning and found the boy pressed against a tree-trunk, in a vain attempt to avoid capture.
“We were stood right next to him, prodding him with a net and still he acted like we didn’t know he was there. Eventually we offered him a blanket, and he sat down and nibbled some holes in it.”
The team tried to house the boy in a nearby hostel with other children raised by insects. “They’ve had a lot of success rehabilitating Jasper, a boy who was brought up by wasps”, explained Forster.
“He’s gone on to live a fairly normal life, although he’s still a bloody nuisance at picnics.”
The moth boy seemed comfortable and would happily spend days curled up in his sleeping bag, before bursting out and looking to see if he’d grown wings. But his time at the facility was cut tragically short when he fell from a window overlooking a street light.
“His funeral was a sombre affair”, sighed Forster, “but I think it was what he would have wanted. The others thought he’d be drawn to cremation like a moth to a flame, but instead I’ve mounted him on some card with a big pin.”