Eternal Revenue Service
The concept of an immortal child is synonymous with Peter Pan, who debuted in J.M. Barrie’s 1902 novel The Little White Bird. The last hundred-plus years have been lucrative for “the boy who wouldn’t grow up.” You can traverse the northeastern United States on Peter Pan Bus Lines, dine on ConAgra’s Peter Pan peanut butter, or listen to such musical acts as Irwin the Disco Duck on Peter Pan Records. Tinker Bell’s probably stewing in pixie dust that she missed her chance at performing backup on such classics as I’m a Truck and Why Baby Why…
Sugar and a Nosferatu Plot Device
Claudia, from Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (1976), is an immortal girl who longs to be an adult woman. The vampiric creation of Lestat de Lioncourt, Claudia wants nothing more than to shed her five-year-old appearance, though her state of undeath prevents it. This being a major point of contention, Claudia rebels against Lestat, “murdering” him one 1800s night. Played by Kirsten Dunst in the 1994 film, Claudia last appeared in Rice’s Merrick (2000) as a conjured ghost.
Due to a mysterious medical condition, some humans have the appearance of young children when in actuality they’re much older. In 2011, TLC shared the story of Nicky Freeman, a forty-year-old man who resembles a ten-year-old boy. Similar to Nicky, eight-year-old Gabby Williams has the appearance of an infant and weighs only 11 pounds. Biogerontologists believe this condition (as yet unnamed) could answer the age-old question of immortality, in addition to potentially benefitting Alzheimer’s research.
On the flipside, the current oldest verified living person, Jeralean Talley (b. May 23, 1899), was three years old when Barrie introduced the world to Peter Pan.
This fairy-tale file brought to you by editorial assistant Jared Hughes and poetry editor Jon Riccio.