After Disappearing For 27 Years, This Man Is Finally Found
For quite some time, the residents of North Pond, an area of Maine’s Belgrade Lakes, were left puzzled before the disappearance of everyday items in their homes. In order to explain this strange occurrence that happened in multiple homes of the town, they even came to think that some mythical creatures were coming into their homes and were stealing foods and clothing items. Many residents would wake up in the morning and find pants, t-shirts and other clothes missing from their dressers, and cans of food or other commodities missing from their pantries.
As you might have guessed, it wasn’t, in fact, the doing of elves, fairies, gnomes, or goblins. It wasn’t either any other fictional beings that were stealing the residents’ household items. In 2013, the truth was finally exposed, and it was perhaps even more surprising than what they thought it was!
A Normal Childhood
Christopher Thomas Knight was living a normal life in Fairfield, Maine, with his four brothers and a sister. All the kids were resourceful, and they were working around the house to contribute to the family’s livelihood.
Being shy, Knight had some difficulty making friends when he was young. He enjoyed being alone, and even when he found a job installing vehicle and home alarm systems, he didn’t socialize with his coworkers.
His Sudden Disappearance
One day, Knight disappeared without leaving a note. His car was found near a forest, and then, the police were involved. The strangest thing was that the keys were left in the car.
His Family’s Suffering
Even though his family was worried, they never filed a missing person’s report. They were extremely sad, but didn’t want to involve the authorities.
Where Is He?
His family thought he was dead since no one had heard anything from him or about his disappearance or his whereabouts.
Housebreaking And Thieving In North Pond
While Knight was missing, the residents of North Pond were experiencing mysterious events like missing produce and clothes from their homes, and there were no signs of violence or disturbing noises. The residents were highly confused by these events.
A Connection, Perhaps?
The police had absolutely no suspects until they uncovered something else, and then they were able to link two things that had bothered the residents of North Pond for a long time. Indeed, 27 years after disappearing without leaving a trace, Knight was found alive in the forest.
Knight Is Arrested
Knight was nicknamed “The North Pond Hermit” and was arrested for theft. Terry Hughes was the one who captured video footage of Knight in his backyard. Knight was taken to the local jail and his arrest led to a commotion. So, what really happened while he was away?
Life Changing Decision
The day before he left his car in the forest, Knight quit his job and returned his tools. He decided he wanted to travel alone, so he got into his car and drove away from his hometown. He eventually got to Florida and explored the coast for a few days, and then, he drove back to Maine.
He abandoned society completely, but there was no clear reason why. He had camping supplies, clothes, food, but nothing more. He left his car at the edge of the forest and never looked back.
Telling His Story
He really enjoyed living alone in the middle of the nature, but at some point, his supplies started to run out. He needed to find food in order to survive. He spent entire days without eating, but finally, he found a solution.
Christopher Knight did not want to go back to live in the society. He enjoyed his freedom and enjoyed living alone. For over a decade, he went into homes and took the supplies he needed in order to survive in the forest.
When the residents started noticing their food and household items were disappearing, he had to adapt his tricks. Since he was knowledgeable about home security alarms, he would sometimes disable the system and remove memory cards from the surveillance cameras. This was very ingenious!
The Man Who Arrested Him
Terry Hughes was the man who arrested Christopher Knight. When he caught him, they walked back together to his home in the woods. Hughes was amazed at how he moved and lived in the wilderness.
Hughes was impressed at how well this man survived all alone. He never left any tracks or footprints behind him. He would also wake up at 2:30 am in the wintertime to use a little camp stove to melt snow for drinking water. At this hour, no one would notice anything.
Knight didn’t only steal food from the residents. He also created worry and stress for them. Some of the victims wanted him to go to jail, while others did not mind him and saw him as a harmless housefly. Everyone wanted to know why he chose this life, though.
People wanted to know why he completely isolated himself from the society like that. 27 years without any social interactions is a long time!
The Opinions Of Behavior Experts
Behavior experts needed to examine him to diagnose him properly. According to them, emotional trauma, mental illness, and intense social awkwardness were some of the things that pushed him to isolate himself like he did.
He Finally Breaks His Silence
He finally shared his story with the world. He survived in the wilderness by reading books he stole from homes, and he ate more during the fall so he could eat less in the winter. He also avoided treks that would leave footprints. He wrapped himself in sleeping bags so he didn’t have to make a fire.
Why Did He Become A Hermit?
The reason couldn’t be simpler. The poor man just wanted to be alone, away from everyone. Really alone.
The Real Reason For Leaving His Life Behind
Knight was looking for contentment and happiness and could only attain this by leaving everyone and everything behind. He did not feel like he was fitting into a normal society, so he preferred staying alone without anyone judging him or trying to make him fit into the mold.
He Pleaded Guilty
He was admitted to the Co-Occurring Disorders Court and was ordered to work and live in the area and report weekly to a judge.
During His Hearing
He told the authorities he was responsible for burglaries in the East Pond, Little North Pond and North Pond. He received a sentence of seven months in jail. The judge wanted him to succeed through the program.
The police collected all of Knight’s stolen items and the victims of the burglaries were able to reclaim their possessions. It made several people happy!
Where Is He Now?
Christopher Thomas Knight was arrested in April 2013 and stayed in jail for seven months. After his sentence was over, he worked for his brother in exchange for room and board. He still is not a big talker, but he’s making his way back into the society, quietly. He now volunteers in his community and helps his family.
A Journalist Wrote His Story
Journalist Michael Finkel first wrote an in-depth story of this missing man for 27 years for GQ magazine, but he also later published a book, released in 2017, entitled The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit.