Idaho hermit Richard Zimmerman, called “Dugout Dick,” recently passed away at 94. He is described in this article from the Idaho Statesman.
Zimmerman was one of a number of Idaho loners, and perhaps the last. He was entirely self-sufficient, living in a series of caves, growing fruits and vegetables, and maintaining a root cellar. Placed in an elderly care center recently by an acquaintance, he left of his own accord and hitchhiked back to his caves.
Video: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi3045786649/ – link brought to our attention by a friend of Hermitary
Another video, from NBC News (local?) circa mid-1980’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD53LVjXIHs
This New York Times article titled “Embracing a Life of Solitude” is placed in the Home & Garden section because it sees solitude as escape, “downtime,” as one interviewee puts it, or plain “fantasy.” Usually this escape is to a more natural setting, as in the examples in the article, which emphasize discomfort and survivalism. The tone of the piece may be further gathered from the egregious notice of the French roast coffee drunk by one “escapee” and the sexual qualms of another who felt that solitude deprived him of meeting members of the opposite sex.
“Hermit” tortoises, in this case the red-footed tortoise, learn by imitating other tortoises. The experimenters conclude that social learning is based on cognitive ability, not an evolved specialized learning skill. The red-footed tortoise grows up without parents or siblings, and shuns others of its species. Cognitive learning, in the case of this experiment, consisted of a puzzle to solve for attaining a treat — which does not work with human hermits!