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Hermits  RSS feed

 
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When I was a kid there was an entire group of people that now no longer exist: Hermits.

For those that do not know, these were typically men, bachelors or just single, who cobbled together tiny cabins out in the woods, many of which are still standing today. Most liked to drink, but not all, and simply preferred to be alone, logging, being farmers and even prospecting…yes, even here in Maine.

Where did they go, and why?

Perhaps it was just a product of their times; the hardy souls died out. Here in Maine the State had a lot to do with it. We had Oresa who was a Hermit Woman, who raised Goats, and yet at 80 years old, the State swooped in and tried to evict her from her own property and put her in a nursing home for “her own good”. We fought for her right to stay at home, and in the end, the State had to pay for an attorney to defend her against their own charges. It was stupid, but in the end, many Hermits just moved into subsidized housing.

Me, I am happily married, and I love my wife and kids, but if they were to be killed in a car accident tomorrow, I would rent my home out and build a shack, and be a Hermit. I have the land, so I would just spend my days logging, prospecting and farming.

Would anyone else want to be a Hermit if they could? And, are their currently Hermits where you live?

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My much better half and I have those tendencies, socially speaking, and singly or together would become hermits out of choice.

It's relatively easy to manage in a city. Just don't make any friends beyond the passing or nodding acquaintance level, make your own food from scratch at home, and devote yourself to solitary passtimes and tasks.

Is it really hermitage if we have the internet, and Permies.com, though?

-CK
 
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, these were typically men, bachelors or just single


Would anyone else want to be a Hermit if they could?



I tried in my early twenties to live off in the woods in a tent.  As soon as word got out a single woman was out there by herself I was 'visited' too often to feel safe.  
I then squatted in a very tiny hunters cabin with much the same results.   I spent several months in each well isolated location though and what solitude I could enjoy was wonderful.

I still like periods of solitude but love having a soul mate, children and grandchildren so in the end I doubt I was ever really hermit material.



 
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Well then, I guess I'm a Hermitess, or so say the locals.  

Came out here 21 years ago, wasn't much here, but over time built up the place to suit all my needs.  Seldom "go out there", have little want/need for the nonsense.  Oddly enough, I've had a couple of like minded individuals join me, so am I still a Hermitess?  Yeah!  

In these parts, there are a few who are just fed up with the "system" and want away from the noise/BS.  I've seen some try and fail, and others make it; year 7 seems to be the make or break point.  Over the years I've heard and on occasion spoken to people who talk about "opting out of the system", they have some very romantic ideas about it all,... Truth is, a solitary independent life out in the backwoods is a challenge, having left a synthetic world to leap into the "real" world of nature in all Her glory.  It molds you, hones you from who you thought you were, into who you must be.  

Anyways, that's my 2 cents worth!

Cheers!  K
 
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Private property rights may be more strongly enforced these days, so many who would have been hermits are now known as "homeless."  I think all the categories of "bums","drifters", "men of the road"," vagabonds","squatters","tramps", etc are now known as homeless.

I'm a hermit by nature but probably would not survive long as one.
 
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Adults used to get so upset when I said "I want to be a Hermit when I grow up".

I still do.

The problem is, finding the cash to fund this lifestyle.  I would want to own the land I live on which requires money for taxes and money for fixing that home (because I haven't the skills to fix it)
 
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My neighbor tells me stories of men who lived out in the woods on their own. They were counterfeits on the run for the law, hiding a few years in the woods behind the village. Some had guns and robbed the villagers of vegetables if they were hungry. The police knew they were there but had no guns and no appetite to get them out. The police came one day to stop the villagers hunting, they bound him to a tree, went hunting , to release him on their way back out, telling him not to bother them again.
He sighs and gets dreamy eyed and says they were the good days and we didn't even know it at the time.
Don't know if it's all true, but i sure like the stories.
 
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I am with you on this, Travis. My property is 3/4 of a mile off the road and through the woods, with nary a neighbor in site, and I would rarely leave if I had my druthers.  Water, rocks, trees, and all the buzzing, flapping, leaping, swimming and crawling critters that go with it - who needs anything else?  
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Travis Johnson
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raven ranson wrote:Adults used to get so upset when I said "I want to be a Hermit when I grow up".

I still do.

The problem is, finding the cash to fund this lifestyle.  I would want to own the land I live on which requires money for taxes and money for fixing that home (because I haven't the skills to fix it)



Raven I say the following respectfully, and not in argument at all. It is hard to tell from the written word sometimes "tone", and I wanted to be sure you knew I was just explaining how the "system" worked here, and in no way being argumentative.

Here, the way of the Hermit was to squat upon a landowner. This was NOT a bad thing. My deeds are filled with provisions for this. They did not own the land, they just had life-long rights to live in their shacks so even if my Great Grandfather died unexpectedly for example, the Hermit had a home. I bet on my deeds I have 6 or 7 hermits with these rights. These were legal binding rights, no different then a right of way. The only real pain is when a deed has this provision, sometimes in a sale or buy situation, a death certificate has to be tracked down to show with the person's death, the provision is no longer binding in the will.

Deeds deserves it own thread. My word, I am 9th generation here so some of my deeds go back to before the USA was the USA (1746), so things get wacky. I have a friend at the Registry of Deeds and more then once she has read an old deed and said, "I have never seen that before." That is why Title Searches only go back 100 years!

As a kid in the 1970's (I mean my name Travis just screams 1970 anyway), a lot of these hermit houses were occupied. Only a few now are still standing due to neglect and snow loads.
 
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I could easily fall into the hermit lifestyle, if it weren't for my hubby who keeps me grounded in society.
 
r ranson
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Travis Johnson wrote:

raven ranson wrote:Adults used to get so upset when I said "I want to be a Hermit when I grow up".

I still do.

The problem is, finding the cash to fund this lifestyle.  I would want to own the land I live on which requires money for taxes and money for fixing that home (because I haven't the skills to fix it)



Raven I say the following respectfully, and not in argument at all. It is hard to tell from the written word sometimes "tone", and I wanted to be sure you knew I was just explaining how the "system" worked here, and in no way being argumentative.

Here, the way of the Hermit was to squat upon a landowner. This was NOT a bad thing. My deeds are filled with provisions for this. They did not own the land, they just had life-long rights to live in their shacks so even if my Great Grandfather died unexpectedly for example, the Hermit had a home. I bet on my deeds I have 6 or 7 hermits with these rights. These were legal binding rights, no different then a right of way. The only real pain is when a deed has this provision, sometimes in a sale or buy situation, a death certificate has to be tracked down to show with the person's death, the provision is no longer binding in the will.

Deeds deserves it own thread. My word, I am 9th generation here so some of my deeds go back to before the USA was the USA (1746), so things get wacky. I have a friend at the Registry of Deeds and more then once she has read an old deed and said, "I have never seen that before." That is why Title Searches only go back 100 years!

As a kid in the 1970's (I mean my name Travis just screams 1970 anyway), a lot of these hermit houses were occupied. Only a few now are still standing due to neglect and snow loads.



Ah, Hermits are very different there.  Here, they either own the land (inherited from family) or they built homes on public land (at least one days hike from the nearest sign of humans).  

I like the idea of having a hermit on your land.  I wish we could do something like that here but the government has always had a lot of say about occupancy and taxation.  

Still, I wouldn't mind being either kind of a hermit.  The less overhead expenses, the better.  But I could see needing to interact with humans a couple of times a year for some necessities.  The Crazy Frenchman (who lived at Crazy Frenchman's Cottage in one of the local parks), had an arrangement that once a month a woman would leave food at him at the trailhead.  He would hike out when he felt like it and pick up the food.  
 
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Why did Maine go after Oresa?
Did she skip on taxes or was there junk buildup or something, that caused neighbors to complain -- what was the trigger? You got to get on the radar for them go after you.

The idea of having a hermit on the deed would, honestly, scare me, even though I'm a hermit and loner myself. First off, I'd be afraid of lawsuits if something goes wrong with the hermit or because of them.
Seems like this is legal gray area: can landowner be liable for something related to squatter, especially deeded one? With crazy lawsuits that I see happening, I'd say this is a real possibility.
Secondly, I'd be worried about drug and alcohol abuse and any consequences from such, like cops on the property or someone harming me or my house because they overdone the fire water, or stealing from me.
And taxes being what they are....I wouldn't want to pay them while a squatter on my land does not. Not rich enough for that. In general, being a loner I guess just wouldn't want another hermit near me....LOL...two hermits are too many.

Besides my US citizenship I got another one, where I'm originally from: there're plenty of rural hermits there...it's a common thing to do. But mostly, these people are drunks. Not all of them though: world-famous Agafia Lykova certainly is not.
 
Travis Johnson
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private privacy wrote:Why did Maine go after Oresa?
Did she skip on taxes or was there junk buildup or something, that caused neighbors to complain -- what was the trigger? You got to get on the radar for them go after you.



I am not really sure. I know it was not property taxes because she only had one acre and lived in a shack. I think my Grandfather just paid them for her.

As for junk; oh my, there was junk, but here, what does it matter? It is not like other states where people care about "property values". What you do on your side of the property line is up to you. I like keeping my place picked up, but that is me. If you want to live in a dump, that is your prerogative. That is the beauty of Maine; you can have a really nice house next to some junk trailer because people do not worry about what the next person is doing. Here in Maine there is no "keeping up with the Jones". If someone buys a new truck, their neighbor will just shrug and say, "I am glad I don't have to make that payment", and really mean it.

I really think they were looking out for he best interest; the way she was living was NOT healthy, but she had always lived that way, so why stop her at age 80, or whatever she was? Heck, let her live out her days, and that is just what happened.

private privacy wrote:The idea of having a hermit on the deed would, honestly, scare me, even though I'm a hermit and loner myself. First off, I'd be afraid of lawsuits if something goes wrong with the hermit or because of them. Seems like this is legal gray area: can landowner be liable for something related to squatter, especially deeded one? With crazy lawsuits that I see happening, I'd say this is a real possibility.



No, this could never happen in Maine, and here is why. Unlike most states, Maine is 95% PRIVATELY owned, yet we are the vacationland for a reason, so we must allow sportsman, ATV's, Snowmobilers, etc onto this private land. IF landowners could be held responsible, most landowners would cite liability laws and post their land. So to encourage land access, the state passed a liability law. This has been tested many times. Like when a landowner was digging a new house foundation, an ATV came through and landed in the hole and was killed. The landowner was NOT held responsible because of the law. Its way I have over a mile of ATV/Snowmobile trail on me, I simply cannot be held liable if some crazy kid does 120 mph through my fields and then smacks into a tree. That was his fault, not mine.

I am thinking about having my parents put my sisters as lifetime squartters on my parents home upon their passing. In that way they are assured (being down-syndrome adults) that they would always have their home because losing that would kill them, and yet by me having the deed to it, keep other people who might take advantage of them, from stealing it under them. In this way, my sisters are protected for life.


 
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Fun fact: A hermit is technically someone who chooses isolation for religious/spiritual reasons.
Asceticism extended to one's social interactions.

The etymology of the word is a reference to 'of the desert' - the concept being that deserts are uninhabited.

Then there is the European tradition of garden hermits: Ornamental Hermits
Where (for novelty or status) wealthy estates would build shacks/grottos and either have an implied hermit or hire someone to live there as a 'garden feature', a talking point.
Sometimes the hermit would be dressed as a druid and told to repeat a latin phrase (to look wise) - sometimes their lives were just a silent pageant to entertain the landowners guests.
 
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