We’ve all had at least one role play, whether it’s running around the house and pretending we’re a superhero, or pretending we’re riding an ice horse across the prairie. Many people even dream of becoming someone else. But with Mary Baker, this seemingly child-only game is raised to a new level.
It all started on April 3, 1817, when this young girl came to a village called Almondsbury, located on the outskirts of Bristol, England. The villagers had absolutely no idea how to treat the strange young girl.
She wore a black turban, a long black robe, and spoke a language that no one could understand. The only thing she brought with her was a small bundle, appearing like a beggar from some foreign country.
Strange girl wearing a turban and a black robe
Initially, the girl was taken to a local relief camp and placed under surveillance. However, people still couldn’t understand what she was saying, so they sent her to the home of the district judge, Samuel Worrall.
At the judge’s house, the girl’s appearance caused a stir. Even the Greek servants did not understand the language the girl was using. However, they could understand when she saw a pineapple and shouted: Ananas. Ananas is the word for pineapple in Greek as well as some other European languages.
Mr. Worrall didn’t know what to do with the strange woman. He examined her hand and discovered it was very soft, unlike the rough hands of servants. The young girl didn’t even know how to sleep in bed, preferring instead to lie on the cold floor.
But Elizabeth Worrall, his wife Worrall was fascinated by this strange girl. Through coaxing and attempts at communication, Mr. Worrall concluded that the girl’s name was Caraboo because that was the word the girl said as she pointed at him.
Meanwhile, his wife concluded that because the girl showed an interest in the Chinese artworks in the house, she must be from China. But she could not explain why the girl looked so European.
The portrait of the “princess” was provided by Mr. Worrall
Not giving up, Mr. Worrall was still determined to find out the girl’s true identity. So he invited foreign sailors to his house to speak to Caraboo, but even so, no one understood what language she was speaking.
Finally, a Portuguese sailor named Manuel Eynesso was brought to the Worrall house. To everyone’s surprise, he was able to communicate with the girl in her language, and then told everyone a story.
Caraboo is a princess from the island of Javasu in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, she was kidnapped from her homeland by pirates. During her escape, she came here by chance.
The Worrall family completely believed that story without a doubt, even overjoyed to learn that this princess loved her home. So they decided to put this story in the newspaper.
News of a princess from a strange land living in Bristol quickly spread everywhere and people even went to Worrall’s house to see Princess Caraboo. Not up to everyone’s expectations, Caraboo delivered a great performance.
She can make her own bow and arrow, dance a strange dance, jump over fences and even swim naked in a lake. She even prayed to a god named Allah Tallah, which attracted the attention of many ladies in the area.
Not only that, Caraboo also wrote down some words in her language for all to see, although when sent to Oxford for linguistic analysis, it was rejected by industry insiders.
But every story has to come to an end. The foreign princess has attracted all kinds of attention and articles about her are also increasing day by day. While reading a newspaper, a woman named Neale, the owner of an inn, recognized Princess Caraboo as Mary Baker, a girl she knew.
According to Mrs. Neale, Mary Baker worked as a maid for the inn and often used meaningless language to entertain her daughter. And this language is identical to the language that Princess Caraboo spoke. Role playing has been exposed.
Soon after the news spread, Mary Baker was taken to Philadelphia, USA, to the shame of the Worralls. Newspapers that used to write articles about the princess were now mocking the Worralls as stupid for believing the story.
A movie was produced in 1994 based on the story of Princess Caraboo .
After arriving in Philadelphia, Mary Baker tried to re-enact the princess play but failed. After a few years, she returned to England as Mary Burgess, and spent the rest of her life in Bristol until her death in 1864.
Source: The History Press