An English-speaking boy emerged from the forest last week near Berlin with no idea who he was or where he came from. The bizarre tale has enthralled the German media, and local authorities are racing to uncover the teen's true identity.
The boy, who goes by Ray, is believed to be between 16 and 18-years-old. He claims to have lived in the woods for five years with his father, who he called Ryan.
His intriguing story recalls European folk tales of feral or wolf children being brought up in the forest or in isolation.
According to the teen, the pair left civilization when his mother Doreen died in a car accident. They did not set up a home, but kept moving through the woods, sleeping in a tent and earthen huts they found in the woods.
It is not clear what they ate or how they survived the often harsh German winters.
The boy told police that two weeks ago, his father died in a fall. He buried him in a shallow grave that he covered in stones and used a compass to walk north for two weeks, as his father had instructed him to do.
The boy then walked until he found a youth center on the outskirts of Berlin on Sept. 5.
He has no identity card, no papers, no passport, nothing, police spokeswoman Miriam Tauchmann told msnbc.com. He looked very good - not like a wild man or anything like that. Physically and mentally, everything is OK with him.
The boy has been examined and appears physically healthy with no evidence to suggest any signs of abuse or violence, though specialists have been unable to help him remember his past.
Authorities have launched a Europe-wide appeal for any information about the boy's identity.
We have sent appeals for help to all European countries via Interpol. The boy speaks English and a little German but we really have no idea where he comes from, Michael Maaß, spokesman for the Berlin police, told German newspaper The Local on Friday.
We have never seen anything like it. We have no evidence to contradict what he has told our colleagues at the youth services, although we are still investigating, and very much want to find out who he is, Maaß added.
Authorities could not determine whether the boy's accent was American, British, or that of some other English-speaking nationality. He spoke only broken German, and English appeared to be his native language.
Youth Services is looking after the teen while police investigate the boy's identity and search for any relatives.
No photos of the boy have been released at this stage.