American Hermit Found in Germany: "Forest Man" Discovered in Woods with Weed

German authorities arrested an American hermit found in the woods of the Rhineland-Palatinate on Monday. He has allegedly been living in a hidden camp for years, but isn't your average recluse .

The forest man's home was not made out of candy.
DPA

The forest man's home was not made out of candy.

In the German fairy-tale of Hansel and Gretel, two children stumble upon an old witch in the forest. In a modern twist, a hiker in the woods near Kobern-Gondorf -- not far from Koblenz in western Germany -- suspected he'd seen what some might consider the equivalent to the witch's candy cottage: a marijuana field. Nearby were two abandoned homes where he told police an "unknown resident" was living.

While there was no marijuana field, police found a 42-year-old American man in possession of 150-grams of marijuana, hand tools, and an old boating license. The man the German media has nicknamed "forest man," was arrested on Monday and has been identified, though his name has not yet been released. Some time ago he was reported "missing" by his father in the US, and says he studied horticulture -- but how and why he came to live in the woods of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate remains a mystery.

"Forest man" is thought to have been living, perhaps for years, in a hidden camp on the roof of one of the abandoned homes. According to police, he speaks German with an American accent, and doesn't fit the traditional hermit stereotype. When police found him, he was clean-shaven with short hair, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, and seemed to be up on his current events. He also seems to have regularly disposed of his trash, prompting a police officer to tell the dpa: "Actually, he seems like a pretty orderly person."

Residents told the dpa that there have been rumors circling the possible existence of "forest man" for a while. Some suspect he may have been involved in a number of unsolved robberies. "Forest man" remains in police custody while these allegations are being investigated.

kla/dpa

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