Robert E. Harrill, also known as "The Hermit" is a character woven throughout the history of Fort Fisher, NC. Surely one of the most famous people on Pleasure Island. He has been the subject of a documentary, a book, a "society" and has written numerous articles about his life and times. He lived "off the ground" for 16 years in an abandoned WWII bunker. Harrill flew to Fort Fisher, a peaceful and depressing life in the mountains and sanctuary of the North Carolina coast. In the early 1960s, he eventually decided to move away from society and nature. His life was sad, sweet, inspiring and brave; the mysterious death adds just one more layer to the story. He was a Gregorian, teaching a version of "common sense" in 1960, believed to be the second largest tourist attraction in the state of North Carolina in the late 1960s after the USS North Carolina battalion.
I followed the bunker he used to call the "Hermitage Trail" home. Like everyone else, I find myself intrigued by a man living in the middle of a salt marsh, by the ocean, for such an independent time. Lived on the "fat of the earth"; here on the coast he planted oysters, fish, and gardens. The hurricane, harsh summer humidity and heat, fought for the right to be at his "home" against alleged promoters and other authorities. Mostly, her friends were animals, cat cats, dogs, and wild clothes. Yet I do not imagine that man's company was solitary; the death was said to have kept a guest book of less than 100,000 entries. These passersby made their contributions by throwing money in a frying pan or handing out food. She also accepted donations for a photo shoot.
In 1968 the New Hanover Sun was mentioned in terms of its popularity,
"Everybody has to be a hermit for a few hours or 24 hours a minute, research, meditate and get together with their creator. Millions of people want to do what they want to do, but it's easier than ever to do it; they subconsciously choose me to replace them; and, I was successful … "
I imagine he didn't have much food or drink left. There is an entry on his site 16 where he used to sell food at the time of his website. He remembers that he had accumulated 30 bags of food in his trunk!
letters and stories, together with his writings, indicate that he lived a hard life. From childhood he grew up with depression at home. The marriage ended in divorce and the eldest son committed suicide. I can relate it to a desire to escape to a simpler life. To continue his story, his young son Edward founded The Hermits & # 39; Society. The shrines are recorded for inspiration, "teachings" and thoughts in photographs and films
His death on June 3, 1972 was a heart attack. The chapel was discovered by a group of teenagers early in the morning. The body was in an open eagle, in a pile of trash. I find it difficult to convey how sad it is for me.
You can still visit his bunker and follow Fort Fisher / South End Beach Access. The trail begins at the Visitor Center. The route is approximately ¼ km from the bunker. You can continue to the observation deck above to see the island, the ibis, the bird and other colonial birds on the coast. Common to see our friend's field.
Knowing all this about Robert Harrill, I felt compelled to go ahead and find his grave. It is located on Dow Road, Federal Point Methodist Cemetery. It is a peaceful place, by the river, in a dark historic area. The grave itself is covered with shells left in memory. In fact, I let myself down when I was kneeling to read the main column. "He thought" he read. I am not alone, its visitors are still searching. Also recently a DVD of Fort Fisher Hermit by Robert & # 39; s left in the grave. The story of his life, "The Battle for Independence; The Life and Times of the Fort Fisher Shrine," is on sale at lulu.com.