Episode 18: Hermit of Fort Fisher – Robert Harrill

From 1955 – 1972, Robert Harrill was known as The Hermit of Fort Fisher Island, North Carolina. He spent his life inviting in strangers and teaching them about living a life free of social norms. And in the end, the strangers he welcomed in, may have killed him.

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Everybody ought to be a hermit for a few minutes to an hour or so every 24 hours, to study, meditate, and commune with their creator…millions of people want to do just what I’m doing, but since it is much easier thought of than done, they subconsciously elect me to represent them, that’s why I’m successful…

-Robert Harrill

At some point in your life, you’ve probably been so overwhelmed by work and responsibilities that you’ve been tempted to run away from it all. Go off alone somewhere and live as a hermit. For most of us, it’s a fleeting thought on a bad day. We press on. But there are those among us who have done it. Robert Harrill did it. He lived as a hermit for 17 years in an old bunker on North Carolina’s Fort Fisher Island. To this day, some people wonder how he mustered the willpower and strength to live in such a harsh environment for so long. When you understand Robert Harrill’s life and the setbacks he faced, you may understand more about his choices. And you’ll understand why so many people were left shocked and heartbroken by Harrill’s death and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it.

Episode Sources
The Fort Fisher Hermit: The Life and Death of Robert E. Harrill
Case closed, mystery lingers around the death of the Fort Fisher Hermit WECT News. 17 February 2010
Man Solves Mystery of Fort Fisher Hermit. Star-News. 30 December 2001
What is Biopsychology? Study.com
North Carolina Adverse Possession Laws Find Law
Eye on Fort Fisher Hermit – Ben Stealman Star News Interview with Fred Pickler
The Legend: Fort Fisher Hermit Our State: Celebrating North Carolina

Music Credits
Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use.

Nicolai Heidlas “Letting Go” and “Beyond”; Whitesand “Passage”; Kevin MacLeod “Evening Fall Harp”, “Wounded”, “Atlantean Twilight”, “Dark Times”, “Nervous Piano” and “Mesmerize” Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

Categories: history, legends, mysteries, north carolina, true crime, truecrime

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