The Maine man dubbed the North Pond Hermit has broken his silence, telling a magazine writer that he doesn't know why he disappeared into the woods for nearly three decades and that jail was worse for his sanity than isolation. "I had a backpack and minimal stuff," Christopher Knight, 48, told GQ in an interview at the jail where he served seven months for committing hundreds of burglaries while camping out. "I had no plans. I had no map. I didn't know where I was going. I just walked away." He said that as he hiked through Maine in the summer of 1986, "I lost track of where I was...I didn't care."
Knight said that he lost his identity during his years of solitude. "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." Despite the physical hardships of living outdoors, Knight said being locked up in the county jail was mentally tougher. "I suspect," he wrote in a letter, "more damage has been done to my sanity in jail, in months; than years, decades, in the woods."
— Tracy Connor