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Diatribe: Why Would A Hermit Need Bacon And Marshmallows?

04/24/2013

Hermit+illustrationI was never the kind of kid who would “run away from home”.  I realized that, even on the most difficult days, I pretty much had it made.  I had, however, heard stories about kids who I legitimately thought should seek refuge somewhere other than the home they shared with their parents.  Even today the amount of homeless youth in our nation is alarming.

It’s never occurred to me that there might be people who are intentionally homeless.

Known as the North Pond Hermit, Christopher Knight has lived in the woods outside of Augusta, Maine for almost thirty years.  Apparently, he has been able to live as a hermit by stealing what he needs and keeping the items he finds most essential with him.  When Knight was arrested earlier this month, on charges that he stole food from a camp for children with special needs, he was carrying quite an unusual assortment of items …

  • $395 in cash
  • Bacon
  • Baseball Cap
  • Cheese
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Coffee
  • Corn Syrup
  • Electrical Tape
  • Hamburger Patties
  • Keys
  • Marshmallows
  • Pliers
  • Potato Chips
  • Wristwatch

It’s interesting to me to learn that, after thirty years living in the wild, these are the items that he has collected and deemed to be the most useful.  Clearly, some of the items were “recent acquisitions” (bacon, cheese and hamburger patties) and others might be considered “staples” (electrical tape and pliers) but, regardless, he had to make decisions about what was the most important to his survival.  Authorities discovered his camp site deep in the rural woods of Rome, Maine, where he has resided for at least twenty-seven years.

Knight was completely withdrawn from society psychologically. The officer Knight encountered on Thursday was only the second person with whom he interacted in the last twenty years.  The first was a camper he talked to sometime in the mid-1990s.  Unbelievable!

It seems to me that something traumatic must have pushed him away from civilization at a young age.  It also stands to reason that he’s got his wits about him as he’s been able to survive, undetected and avoiding apprehension for the majority of his adult life.

Since his arrest, Knight has received a marriage proposal via telephone and an offer from a stranger to bail him out of jail.  He refused the assistance and remains in jail where police say he may have been responsible for as many as 1,000 burglaries overall.

I think it’s very sad that anyone finds the need to retreat to this extent.  It’s so very important to surround ourselves with people that we love.

UPDATE 08/27/13: Christoper Knight, the Main Hermit, pleads not guilty to burglary charges.

UPDATE 09/13/13: Christopher Knight, the Main Hermit, cuts deal to avoid jail time.

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2 Comments
  1. I considered running away at one time when I was 12 & got caught shoplifting a pair of Barbie shoes lying loose on a shelf at Kmart. My parents were very strict & corporal punishment was not only the norm but they were often abusive. I was caught before I could get away though.

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