10 Years Ago, the Mystery of the North Pond Hermit was Solved
It's hard to believe it's been ten years since Christopher Knight, aka the North Pond Hermit, was found hidden away in the woods near Rome, Maine.
What Did He Do To Survive?
People with summer homes on North Pond had referred to the 'North Pond Hermit' for years. Someone would regularly break into camps and steal a variety of things, from batteries and food to propane tanks and clothing. It became part of the local lore, with some residents even leaving their camps unlocked and food out on the counter, so the mystery man wouldn't break in.
The mysterious thief was caught, occasionally, on surveillance cameras but would disappear into the night, as quickly as he came. Perhaps the most unusual part of the thefts was that the intruder tended to fix what he broke. Knocked a door off the hinges? He would replace it so it sometimes took homeowners a few minutes to realize that someone had been there.
How Was He Caught?
But finally, in early April 2013, it happened. Security cameras at the Pine Tree Camp for children and adults with disabilities in the town of Rome indicated that someone was in the kitchen. Cameras recorded images of a man in a ball cap, filling a bag with goodies. Maine Warden Service Sergeant Terry Hughes rushed to the scene and caught the culprit red-handed. When he was captured, Christopher Knight was wearing boots that had been stolen from the camp's director. For the first time in nearly three decades, the elusive woods dweller spoke to another person.
Christopher Knight spent that night sleeping indoors for the first time in twenty-seven years. His encampment in the woods was discovered by authorities and taken apart. The story of his long winters and years of concealment was revealed, including the fact that he had walked into those woods at the age of 19 and never looked back, surviving the winters by stealing from others. The man who had shunned society completely was now headlining news stories around the world.
Homesteading Hero or Ruthless Robber?
Some hailed him a hero for his endurance and ingenuity, while others condemned his lifestyle made possible by the thefts of others' belongings. One woman, it's rumored, even proposed marriage. When it was all said and done, Knight was not required to serve any additional jail time and did not have to pay restitution to the police for rebuilding a road. Knight did allow an author, Michael Finkle, to interview him, which resulted in a novel titled 'The Stranger In The Woods: Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit.' When the trial was over, Christopher Knight, once again, disappeared. At last report, he was said to be living a quiet life in rural Maine. We wish him peace and privacy.