© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Hermit: The True Legend of the North Pond Hermit

The camp site for the North Pond Hermit, a.k.a Christopher Knight

Maine Public TV Air Times:
Thur., October 18 at 10:30 pm
Sat., October 20 at 11:30 am

When the news broke that a man had been hiding in the woods of Maine for 27 years, it turned into a media sensation. Overnight, the identity of the legendary "North Pond Hermit" was disclosed and he became the talk of the town.

For more viewing options and information about the production visit the film-maker's website.The Hermit tells the story of a man who lived in the woods of Maine with no human contact for 27 years. He managed to stay undetected, never once lighting a fire and never leaving footprints in the snow. He was not exactly a survivalist, since all he ate and all that he possessed was stolen from nearby summerhouses. The strange burglaries — peanut butter went missing while jewels were left untouched — created feelings of uneasiness and frustration among the townspeople who increasingly grew wary of another.

When he was finally arrested and his identity disclosed, Christopher Knight became the subject of media frenzy. Overnight, he went from being a nonentity to being the most talked about person in Maine. Very much against his will, The Hermit became a controversial figure, a media sensation, and a real folk hero.

Intense fascination, anger, admiration, resentment, and disbelief are some of the feelings that The Hermit has inspired in the community he dropped out from. The colorful townspeople tend to project their own fantasies and reveal their own psyches when trying to make sense of a man who had rejected them, their values and their social codes. Some see him as a dangerous criminal, others as a romantic hero, or a spiritual figure.

Through their "relationships" to The Hermit, townsfolk become both narrators and characters of an extraordinary tale. In a touching and humorous way, they express deep personal connections with The Hermit they have never met.

The Hermit: The True Legend of the North Pond Hermit was produced by Lena Friedrich.