30-Year Hermit: Jail Was Worse Than My Solitude
Christopher Knight of Maine talks to 'GQ' about life after his capture
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2014 12:40 PM CDT
Updated Aug 24, 2014 7:00 PM CDT
This April 2013 file booking photo provided by the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office in Augusta, Maine, shows Christopher Knight.   (AP Photo/Kennebec County Sheriff's Office, File)

(Newser) – The hermit speaks. Christopher Knight, better known as the North Pond Hermit, spent nearly 30 years living in isolation in the woods of central Maine before his arrest on burglary charges last year. He's out of jail now, though living in the community again as part of his court deal, and he has granted his only interview to writer Michael Finkel of GQ. Some excerpts:

  • "I had a backpack and minimal stuff," he said of his decision to bail from society in 1986. "I had no plans. I had no map. I didn't know where I was going. I just walked away."
  • "I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn't even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free."

  • "I suspect more damage has been done to my sanity in jail, in months; than years, decades, in the woods."
  • "I don't like what I see in the society I'm about to enter," he said before his release in November. "I don't think I'm going to fit in. It's too loud. Too colorful. The lack of aesthetics. The crudeness. The inanities. The trivia."
  • Recalling how he listened to the radio at his remote, hidden camp: "Bach is too pristine," he said, but "they will be playing Lynyrd Skynyrd songs in a thousand years."
Click to read the fascinating full piece. (The 48-year-old must appear before a judge once a week or go back to jail, notes CentralMaine.com.)

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Showing 3 of 74 comments
MarryMeAnnie
Feb 16, 2015 12:22 AM CST
So will they ever mentally evaluate the man? Cause i`m pretty sure it`s Schizoid Personality Disorder. He wont be able to stand it! He will have to go back into the woods again. Hopefully though this time he can get there legally. If only I could live on an island........a cabin in the woods wouldn't do it for me anymore.......But id take it! if i could get it.
SJay
Aug 25, 2014 4:06 AM CDT
Well now you know Christopher Knight, society don't take kindly to burglars, AKA thieves. Hermits don't bother us.
OrneryPup
Aug 24, 2014 11:25 PM CDT
Poor ol' rascal blew it when he burgled.