Monday, May 31, 2010

Cambodian 'Jungle Woman' Flees Society

29-year-old Rochom P'ngieng disappeared into the Cambodian jungle in 1989 as a young girl. In 2007, she was "rediscovered" when she emerged from the thick jungle. She was reunited with her family, but failed to adjust to modern society. Rochom P'ngieng has now fled back into the jungle.

Sadly, Rochom never learned either of the local languages, refused to wear clothes, continued to crawl rather than walk, and has attempted to escape many times. She grunted and made animal noises to communicate. Her father says she helped the family pick vegetables the day before, then simply took off her clothes and ran back into the jungle without saying anything to anyone.

Mystic beliefs still hold sway in Cambodia. Sal Lou, her policeman father, blames "forest spirits" and has hired a fortune-teller to help find her. Lou is saving-up to afford an offering of one wild ox, one pig, one chicken, and four jugs of wine, which the mystic says will reunite him with his daughter. Several people claim to have seen her in the company of a naked man who carries a sword - the man is believed to be a "forest spirit."

Rochom's story has gripped the country of Cambodia, where she is called "half-animal girl." She disappeared with her sister over 20 years ago, but her sister has never been found. Her parents identified her by a scar on her arm, but refused a DNA test. Some think she was raised in captivity, as they do not believe an eight-year-old girl could survive in the Cambodian jungle.

34 pro-Khmer Rouge tribesmen who had been hiding in the jungle since 1979 (when the regime fell) emerged from the jungle in 2004.

The original story of Rochom's rediscovery was on the other server and has since been lost.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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