Few people knew Robert Harrill well. In 1955, he left his Piedmont home and troubled life behind and hitchhiked to Carolina Beach. From there he walked down to Fort Fisher. He was 62 years old. For the following seventeen years he lived in an abandoned World War II artillery bunker in the middle of beaches and marshlands. His was a simpler life. Although he sought the life of a hermit, his fame grew and people visited, sometimes numbering 17,000 a year.