Wilderness Survival photo

Twenty-seven years in the wilderness, alone. That’s how long a reclusive and locally infamous Maine hermit managed to survive in the woods before he was captured last week while burglarizing a cabin.

From this story on USA Today.com:

A man who lived like a hermit for decades in a makeshift camp in the woods and may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries for food and other staples has been caught in a surveillance trap at a camp he treated as a “Walmart,” authorities said Wednesday. {C}Christopher Knight, 47, was arrested last week when he tripped a surveillance sensor set up by a game warden while stealing food from a camp for people with special needs in Rome, a town of about 1,000 whose population swells with the arrival of summer residents. Authorities on Tuesday found the campsite where they believed Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit in local lore, has lived for 27 years.

According to the story, Knight managed to survive Maine’s brutal winters without campfires, instead wrapping himself in multiple sleeping bags and using propane heaters stolen from area camps and cabins. The last verbal contact he had with another human came sometime in the mid-90s, when a passing hiker said “hello” to him in the woods.

Pretty amazing that in this day and age, someone could walk into the woods in 1986, and simply disappear — just drop completely off the face of the planet. Makes you wonder how many people are out there in the woods, hiding and surviving on the margins? Apparently, perhaps more than we may think. Do you have any local hermit legends in your area?

Update: In 2014, GQ published an in-depth piece about Knight entitled “The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit,” which you can read here.