Russian Family Who Had Never Seen Another Human


There are few places left in the world that
remain truly remote. It seems like man has explored and inhabited
every corner of the globe, from the tallest heights to the deepest depths. But the Russian taiga, stretching across Siberia
remains one of the few truly wild expanses in the world. Five million square miles, the region stretches
from the Russian arctic as south as Mongolia, and from the Urals all the way to the Pacific. The region is so vast and remote that few
people have ever explored any significant portion of it, and it remains largely pristine
and untouched to this day. It is also however a vast source of oil and
mineral wealth for Russia, and in 1978 a helicopter surveying the region made a startling discovery. The helicopter’s mission was to find a safe
place to land a party of geologists sent to explore the region. The men were to survey the landscape and determine
the best location to prospect for oil and minerals, and rather than trek through the
thick woods and tall mountains on foot, relied on the helicopter to leap between prospective
sites. On the hunt for a new site to set the team
down, the helicopter had followed the course of the Abakan river and turned to follow one
of its tributaries, but was having zero luck finding a clearing to land on- the thick pine
trees pressed in so close together that there was no room for a safe landing. As the chopper pulled up along a narrow valley
with steep walls, the pilot suddenly spotted something decidedly unnatural, and that should
not exist. A small clearing with several deep furrows
lie six thousand feet up a mountain side, and the helicopter made several passes so
that the crew could determine that they had truly discovered what they believed the clearing
to be- a garden for growing crops. Flying back to base the pilots reported to
the geologists what they had discovered. The news astounded and worried the team, as
they were over one hundred and fifty miles from the nearest city, and this entire region
was unexplored. There was not supposed to be anybody out here,
and as one of the geologists later put it, the idea of running into strangers in the
wilderness was more dangerous to them than running into a bear or other wild animal. Nonetheless, the team decided to investigate
the site, and gathering up gifts of goodwill offerings in their backpacks, prepared to
hike to the spot found by the helicopter pilots. Despite their hopes that a meeting with these
strangers would go well, many of the geologists carried loaded pistols just in case… The team soon set off for the garden site,
and still a few miles away started to find evidence of human habitation. Someone had felled a large log and rolled
it so it formed a bridge over a stream, and had even hewn a rough path through the woods. Along that path the geologists stumbled into
a shed, inside of which were containers made of birch bark and stuffed with cut-up dried
potatoes- this discovery confirmed that the pilots had indeed spotted a garden on the
mountain after all. Just a little bit past the shed though, the
team of geologists made another astonishing discovery. A small hut, piled up on all sides with all
matter of tree bark, branches, and even planks, sat by the edge of the small stream. It had clearly been there a long time as the
wood had blackened with age. At first the geologists assumed it was merely
another storage hut, but then they spotted a small, square window- the hut’s only source
of illumination. Then, with a slow creak and a groan, a small
door opened up. An old man slowly stepped out of the hut,
cautiously inspecting the team of geologists. He was barefoot and wearing a shirt made out
of sacks that had been repeatedly repatched over the years. His pants were also made out of sack cloth,
and his wild, unruly hair was a mess that matched his equally unkempt beard. The old man seemed terrified of the team and
unsure of what to make of the situation, and to break the tension, one of the geologists
shouted, “Greetings, grandfather! We’ve come to visit!” The old man hesitated, but then quietly responded
with, “Well, since you have traveled this far, you might as well come in.” Hesitantly, the geologists entered the small
hut, stooping to enter through the low door. Inside the floor was bare dirt covered up
with potato peels and pine-nut shells, and sagging, rotting wooden logs kept the ceiling
from collapsing downwards. It resembled less a house, or even a shack,
and more a warren such as that made by muskrats or beavers to hole up for the winter. A single small fire burned inside with one
hole in the ceiling to vent the smoke. The one tiny window was the only source of
illumination, and the light that came in fell on a family of five. The man shared the hut with two sons and two
daughters, with the daughters clearly terrified of the visitors. One of the daughters hid behind a log and
cried, praying out loud, “This is for our sins, our sins.” The geologists realized they were terrifying
the family and decided to quickly back out of the hut. The men set up to eat lunch a few yards away
from the camp, and after half an hour the cabin door creaked open and the old man and
his daughters moved to join the geologists. The man spoke good Russian and was understandable,
but the sisters spoke a distorted version of the language to each other. Clearly they had never before encountered
other people, and their lifelong isolation had severely affected their speech. The geologists offered the family some of
their food- jam, tea, and bread- but the daughters gasped, “we are not allowed that!”. Astonished, the scientists asked the father
if they had ever eaten bread, to which he replied that he had, but his daughters had
never seen it before. The team decided to leave the family alone,
though not without giving them some supplies as a gift. Over the next few years the geologists continued
to visit the family and learn more about them. The father was called Karp Lykov, and he had
once been a regular member of Russian society. He was a member of the Old Believers, a fundamentalists
Russian Orthodox sect, and a frequent target of the Russian government’s persecution. During Peter the Great’s reign, he had persecuted
the Old Believers and other fundamentalists, and in a bid to modernize Russia he taxed
the wearing of long beards, believing them to be a symbol of antiquated beliefs. If one was unable to pay the tax, they would
have their beard forcibly shaved off. Then after the Russian revolution that overthrew
the Czars, the Bolsheviks took power. As atheists they had cracked down on religious
communities even harder than the Czars ever had, and many religious communities fled to
Siberia to escape persecution. In great purges Bolshevik troops would burn
down religious buildings and sometimes even imprison or outright kill faith practitioners. In 1936, Lykov and his brother had been working
on the outskirts of their village when a communist patrol shot at them. Lykov’s brother was immediately killed, and
Lykov immediately gathered his family and fled to the wilderness. Two of the children had never before seen
another human being, and though they knew that there were such things as cities and
even other countries full of people, these were nothing more than abstract ideas to the
children. Their education had consisted of reading and
writing lessons carried out with the help of an ancient family bible along with a few
other religious texts. When shown a photo of a horse, one of the
daughters recognized it from Bible stories, but she had never seen the animal in person,
let alone a photograph. The family had been gradually moving deeper
and deeper into the wilderness for years, terrified of communist persecution. Finally they had settled in the spot they
were discovered at a whopping one hundred and fifty miles from the nearest city. Getting there even with the help of a boat
was hard work, yet the family had learned to live in isolation. They faced many hardships though, and most
of their clothes were made out of hemp cloth, their original clothing items having worn
away to nothing over the decades. For food the family foraged for what it could
in the summertime, but since they had no way of repairing kettles that had rusted away
with time, they were unable to cook most of their food. This meant that they lived primarily on a
diet of potato patties mixed with ground up rye and hemp seeds. The wilderness around them however offered
plenty of pine nuts and berries during the short spring and summer though, and the three
men hunted by trapping animals when they could. The youngest son, Dmitry, had become a prodigal
hunter, resorting back to the ancient techniques that made humans so successful in the ancient
Savannah from which we came from. Without a gun or even a bow, he would simply
run an animal until it became exhausted, chasing it for miles over the rough mountain terrain. He was recorded as having an incredible endurance,
capable of running for miles and miles even barefoot in the middle of winter, and sleeping
out in the open during winter days as he hunted his prey. Unfortunately tragedy struck in 1961, when
snow fell in early June. Already living close to starvation, the frost
killed the few crops growing in their garden and the family was reduced to eating tree
bark and their tree-bark galoshes and shoes. Not wishing to see her children go hungry,
the mother, Akulina, gave up what little food she had for her children and died of starvation
that summer. In their garden though a tiny miracle which
would save their lives took place, with a single grain of rye sprouting from the devastated
crops. The family built a small fence around it and
guarded it day and night for weeks, keeping squirrels and mice away. From the 18 grains the single growth of rye
yielded, they rebuilt their entire rye crop. The family slowly got to know about the outside
world thanks to the visiting geologists. They had no idea that World War II had taken
place, and Lykov absolutely refused to believe that man had actually set foot on the moon,
but he was not surprised to learn of the invention of satellites. Ever since the 1950s he and his family had
watched as new, strange stars rapidly zipped by overhead, and Lykov had noted to his family
that “People have thought something up and are sending out fires that are very like stars.” What truly impressed and delighted Lykov the
most though was cellophane, who exclaimed that it was like glass but crumpled up in
your hand. The youngest daughter, Agafia, and youngest
son, Dmitry, quickly grew friendly and much closer with the geologists than the rest of
the family. The decades of isolation had crafted Agafia’s
speech into a sing-song pattern, and this at first made the scientists believe that
she was dim-witted. In reality, Agafia was quite intelligent and
clever, and was often sarcastic and able to poke fun at herself and her situation. Dmitry gladly led the geologists around the
woods he knew so closely, and was the first of the family to accept their invitation to
visit their own camp down the stream. There he marveled at all the new technology,
having seen nearly zero technology before over his entire lifetime. Soon the family was accepting the geologists
for longer and longer stretches at a time, and one of the men, an oil driller named Yerofei
Sedov, even developed a close bond with the hermit family. He would spend days at a time helping the
family plant and harvest crops or undertake new construction and maintenance projects. Though at first the family had only accepted
a single gift from their visitors- salt, which Lykov claimed had been a torture to live without-
soon they were accepting clothes, knives, forks, grain and flashlights. Eventually they even began visiting the geologists
camp together, and there they discovered television, which enraptured them- even as it terrified
them. Often the family members would pray for forgiveness
after watching the television, believing it to have been a sin. Sadly though, the family would go into rapid
decline soon after reestablishing contact with the outside world. Thanks to their harsh diet, two of the children,
the eldest son and daughter, both died of kidney failure just a few years after the
geologist’s first visit. Dmitry, the geologist’s closest friend in
the family, also died of pneumonia, likely brought on by infection through one of the
visitors. With no previous contact with the outside
world and its germs, his body was unable to fight off the infection. The distraught geologists pleaded with the
family to allow them to call for a helicopter and have Dmitry flown to a hospital, but he
himself refused. His final words were a whisper, “We are
not allowed that. A man lives for howsoever God grants.” By 1981 three of the family members were dead,
and on February 16th 1988, twenty seven years to the day when his wife died of starvation,
the father died as well. With the help of the geologists, Agafia, the
youngest daughter, buried her father. The scientists had long ago discovered family
members who had survived the purges and were living in their original villages, and offered
to have Agafia reunited with them, but she refused their offer. Agafia remained on the mountain she had known
all her life. Today she is well into her seventies and still
lives on that mountainside, though none have visited for years and it’s likely that she
has finally joined her family. Think you could ever live for decades in the
wilderness with no technology? What would make you flee civilization? Let us know in the comments! And as always if you enjoyed this video don’t
forget to Like, Share, and Subscribe for more great content!

100 comments

  1. So no one Visited her? You mean there is casually a dead body lying in an House in the middle of the Mountains? Imagine "discovering that"

  2. “The team of geologists carried loaded pistols. Just to be sure.” Me: Now that’s how you know they are Russian.

  3. One day someone will see this. One day in the future maybe 500 years after my death. I'm sure someone will and to the one reading this comment, I'll explain my time for you. Lots of tension between Russia and the US, and my little country Holland isn't safe if they will ever act aggressively.

    People in this time are much more free with minorities, but yeah there are still some flaws about this era. For example, religious people still force their beliefs onto others, can you believe that!?

    Global warming is a major issue, but not yet at it's peak. We are ignorant but one day our children will restore this world or just leave it and go to Mars or something whatever.

    I hope you won't make our mistakes, and I have hope that one day you will revive me from the death with your technology future. I really don't wanna die so pls hurry up😅.

    Oh yeah and look out 2087

  4. But how could the geologists not think about the families immunity. When vaccines were invented centuries before, I’m sure they should’ve known this being scientists and all 🤦🏿‍♀️

    Correct me if I’m wrong

  5. Aw, what makes me sad about this is that them visiting is what gave them diseases or illnesses which killed some of them. 🙁

  6. After all the attention they left her to perish ? Please no, that's so sad.
    The first time l learned of this family was on Vice and she was so beautiful and clever. 😢

  7. 10:22
    USA missionary trying to attampt same role on India Andaman Islands tribal..
    They try to convert isolated tribal in to Christian..
    Bt he forgot about his jerms, bacteria..who danger for island people who not emmunaty power…

  8. wait if he never seen another human including his parents or whatever, how does he learn to speak same language like traveler came?

  9. She has a one legged man living there also she's taking care of. I'm certain u know this as there's no way u haven't seen the video in doing research. Why did u choose to omit this fact??
    Its because I love this channel so much is why I'm so confused Very unfair if u think about it it's like just picking the info u want. Just for the best possible video.
    It makes me wonder how many other videos this was done to. I watch all ur vids on his channel and love the info provided. But his just makes me wonder. If iv been lied to this while time.

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