The Stranger In The Woods
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for twenty-seven years, making this dream a reality — not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.
In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food.
Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries.
Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life — why did he leave? what did he learn? — as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
Stranger In The Woods Photo Gallery
Info: Knight at his camp, soon after dawn, the morning following his arrest. This, along with photo 5 above, is one of the only known photos of Knight actually in his site, taken by the police at dawn after he was arrested and Knight lead Sgt. Terry Hughes and State Trooper Diane Vance to his hidden camp. Taken by the police on April 4, 2013.
Credit: Maine State Police
Info: Knight in his own tent, in his site in the woods. This is one of the only known photos of Knight actually in his site, taken by the police at dawn after he was arrested and Knight lead Sgt. Terry Hughes and State Trooper Diane Vance to his hidden camp. Taken by the police on April 4, 2013.
Credit: Maine State Police
Info: Knight’s blue duffle bag of break-in tools, which he had with him the night of his arrest in Pine Tree Camp. Inside are long-handled screwdrivers, putty knives, a Leatherman multi-tool, paint scrapers, flashlights, a radio, and other items.
Credit: Jennifer Smith-Mayo
Info: Knight peering in fridge: One of the earliest known security camera photos of Knight, who is shown here inside the North Pond cabin owned by Debbie Baker. He is peering into the refrigerator, penlight in his mouth. Baker nicknamed the intruder “The Hungry Man,” one of many nicknames Knight was given by the baffled residents of North Pond.
Credit: Courtesy of Debbie Baker