The Reluctant Hermit of Fort Fisher
by: Fred Pickler and Daniel Ray Norris
The Reluctant Hermit of Fort Fisher reveals clues into what caused Robert E. Harrill to make his life among the marshes of Fort Fisher — enduring the divergent and independent lifestyle of a hermit. What circumstances could drive a man to seek such “isolation”? Did the Hermit ever find solace? Did he succeed in chasing his demons away? And finally, was the Fort Fisher Hermit murdered? …and by whom?
This book documents the complex and colorful life of Robert E. Harrill with first-hand interviews, rare artifacts and photographs from the lens of Fred Pickler. Fred’s longtime friendship with Robert E. Harrill and participation in the investigation into his death are integral to unravelling the complex set of events leading up to that fateful day in June of 1972.
Co-author Daniel Ray Norris provides a fresh perspective to the narrative by expanding on the cast of characters that interacted with the Hermit and chronologically illustrates the life Robert E. Harrill lived before and after his pilgrimage to Fort Fisher. Reflections on the “Hermit as myth” gives readers critical insight into the impact the Hermit has had on southeastern North Carolina culture and folklore.
While the mysteries that surround Robert E. Harrill may never be fully resolved, the authors wish this book to pay suitable tribute to his life — keeping the memory of The Fort Fisher Hermit alive for future generations to ponder and respect.
Perhaps we can all learn to be a hermit when and if we find it necessary to …
sooth or minds
… and mend our souls.
– Daniel Ray Norris
Hardcover: 152 pages
Publisher: SlapDash Publishing; Carolina Beach, NC
First Printing – July 2014