May 22, 2017 10:38 am

The boy’s parents said he began acting strangely when he was just six, and locked him away in the damp and dark cage for the rest of his life.

A mentally ill man was locked in a cage for more than three decades by his parents who thought he was possessed by a ghost.

His parents didn’t understand his mental health condition and even tried an exorcism to ‘release the evil spirit from him’.

But when he returned after the procedure they found he was acting strangely and “reluctantly” decided to lock him away. He was last let out for exercise several years ago.

The 39-year-old was recently filmed by concerned neighbours with his hand grasping through the bars of his cage.

Concerned neighbours sent the footage to medical professionals, who then arranged for him to be freed.

Incredibly, his mum, Li Lianying, admitted that it was she and her husband who “reluctantly” put him inside the cage more than 30 years ago.

Since the 1980s, their son, who has not been identified, lived alone in a dark and damp cage in Hepu County’s Gongguan Township, in south China.

Mrs Lianying explained it all started when the boy was just six years old.

He went missing and was found by local villagers, who performed an exorcism on him.

He was returned to his parents, but they said from that day he had acted strangely, leading them to believe he had been possessed by a ghost.

His mother said: “He would run around aimlessly on the street and only learnt how to say ‘mum’ at the age of 12.”

Without consulting medical experts, she and her husband decided to lock the young boy away, providing him with food and water through the metal bars.

She added that she had last let her son out for a walk several years ago.

The man has been taken to hospital for treatment and was found to be extremely malnourished.

He has very limited vocabulary made up of incoherent screams and is unable to communicate.

It is not clear if his parents will be charged with abuse.

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This post was written by Nadia Vella