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'Hermit' arrested after living in woods for 27 years

Christopher Knight, says he spoke with only one person, a lone hiker, during his nearly thirty years living in this tent in the US state of Maine.

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ROME, Maine: He would meditate on an overturned bucket while staring up at the sky and knew all the eagles that nested nearby.

The only words he had spoken to another person in 27 years were when he said "Hi, how are you" to a man he met on a trail, a spokesman for the Maine wildlife department said. That was in the 1990s.

This is mind-boggling. I just can't believe this guy was here 27 years. 

Frank Ten Broeck

But despite nearly three decades of seclusion in the woods, Christopher Knight also had a taste for the finer things in life, US authorities said on Thursday, after dismantling the hermit's lair in Maine.

Christopher Knight's camp outside Rome, Maine, where he lived for 27 years.

Christopher Knight's camp outside Rome, Maine, where he lived for 27 years. Photo: Reuters

In the 47-year-old's camp they recovered high-end sleeping bags and a new tent. He was wearing new shoes and gloves, all believed stolen, when authorities arrested him after he tripped a surveillance sensor at a camp last week.

They believe Mr Knight may be responsible for more than 1000 burglaries while he was hunkered down in the woods.

He was allegedly caught with $US283 ($270) in goods in his backpack after he fell into a trap set by Game Warden Sergeant Terry Hughes, who had been trying to capture the elusive woodsman for years.

Caught ... an image of  Knight from a 2012 surveillance photo.

Caught: An image of Knight from a 2012 surveillance photo. Photo: HANDOUT

Mr Hughes said he showed Mr Knight a photograph of himself captured several years earlier by a game camera. "He turned his head and he looked at the photo, and he stared at it for a while," Mr Hughes said. "And I was watching him, and watching his eyes, and I knew right off that there was more to this. So I asked him, I said, 'When was the last time you have seen a picture of yourself or looked in a mirror?' And he looked at me, and he didn't know what to say.

"And I waited, and then he finally said, 'I've seen my reflection in the water a few times."'

Mr Knight had a radio and listened to talk shows; he knew Barack Obama was president, officials said. But his camp was so carefully placed that it precluded discovery.

Knight pictured after his capture.

Knight pictured after his capture.

Authorities pulled it apart on Thursday, later displaying the "evidence" for locals to recover.

Frank Ten Broeck, a retired New Jersey police official who has a cottage nearby, marvelled at Mr Knight's fortitude.

"To me, this is mind-boggling. I just can't believe this guy was here 27 years," he said. "This is some of the most severe weather you can go through."

In his police mug shot Mr Knight is clean-shaven, has short-cropped hair and sports 1980s-style glasses.

Authorities have uncovered no motive for his seclusion except that he wanted to be alone.

AP, Los Angeles Times