LONDON — British authorities were investigating up to 300 possible identities as tips poured in about the mysterious “Piano Man,” while the silent patient found wandering in southeastern England last month has begun writing his own music, health officials said Thursday.
The West Kent National Health Trust, which is caring for the man, said 700 people have called and more than 150 have sent e-mails offering clues.
The pianist has not spoken since he was found, distressed and soaking wet, on the Isle of Sheppey on April 7.
Mime's tip proved wrong
Social workers said a tip from a Polish mime living in Italy, who said the man is a French street musician, has not led to anything. Dariusz Dydymski had said he was “99 percent certain” the pianist was named Steven Villa Massone, with whom he had worked in the French resort of Nice.
But Britain’s Independent newspaper reported Thursday that it had tracked down Massone in Nice.
“I found out this morning when I saw in the Italian papers that he had said that man was me,” The Independent quoted Massone as saying. “I didn’t understand what had happened and suddenly I had lots of calls asking if I was the pianist.”
Social worker Michael Camp, who is caring for the mystery pianist, said as many as 300 possible identities were being investigated, both in Britain and overseas, but he declined to give details.
“These have to be kept highly confidential,” he said. “Names are being bandied about. It’s not very helpful.
“It’s a long process and I understand why, in the absence of any information from us, people in the media are coming up with things.”
'Tipped over the edge'
The man, who remains in a psychiatric unit in Dartford, is still drawing pictures and writing music of his own, Camp said.
“I don’t think this is somebody who was living a normal life until April 7 and suffered a trauma,” he said. “I think it’s somebody who has been tipped over the edge.”
Hospital officials on Monday released a photograph of the man, who is tall and thin with blond hair and believed to be in his 20s or early 30s.
He drew intricate pictures of pianos for staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital at Gillingham, where he was first taken, and performed snippets of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and the music of John Lennon on the chapel piano.
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