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Mostly Harmless

A DL mystery to kill time as we await the elec... No, it's actually to kill time while we wait for someone to start a Dyatlov Pass thread.

[quote]A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack

[quote]The man on the trail went by “Mostly Harmless." He was friendly and said he worked in tech. After he died in his tent, no one could figure out who he was.

[quote]IN APRIL 2017, a man started hiking in a state park just north of New York City. He wanted to get away, maybe from something and maybe from everything. He didn’t bring a phone; he didn’t bring a credit card. He didn’t even really bring a name. Or at least he didn’t tell anyone he met what it was.

[quote]He did bring a giant backpack, which his fellow hikers considered far too heavy for his journey. And he brought a notebook, in which he would scribble notes about Screeps, an online programming game. The Appalachian Trail runs through the area, and he started walking south, moving slowly but steadily down through Pennsylvania and Maryland. He told people he met along the way that he had worked in the tech industry and he wanted to detox from digital life. Hikers sometimes acquire trail names, pseudonyms they use while deep in the woods. He was “Denim” at first, because he had started his trek in jeans. Later, it became “Mostly Harmless,” which is how he described himself one night at a campfire. Maybe, too, it was a reference to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Early in the series, a character discovers that Earth is defined by a single word in the guide: harmless. Another character puts in 15 years of research and then adds the adverb. Earth is now “mostly harmless.”

[quote]By summer, the hiker was in Virginia, where he walked about a hundred miles with a 66-year-old woman who went by the trail name Obsidian. She taught him how to make a fire, and he told her he was eager to see a bear. On December 1, Mostly Harmless had made it to northern Georgia, where he stopped in a store called Mountain Crossings. A veteran hiker named Matt Mason was working that day, and the two men started talking. Mostly Harmless said that he wanted to figure out a path down to the Florida Keys. Mason told him about a route and a map he could download to his phone. “I don’t have a phone,” Mostly Harmless replied. Describing the moment, Mason remembers thinking, “Oh, this guy’s awesome.” Everyone who goes into the woods is trying to get away from something. But few people have the commitment to cut their digital lifelines as they put on their boots.

[ ... ]

[quote]Six months later and 600 miles south, on July 23, 2018, two hikers headed out into the Big Cypress National Preserve. The humidity was oppressive, but they trudged forward, crossing swamps, tending aching feet, and dodging the alligators and snakes. About 10 miles into their journey, they stopped to rest their feet at a place called Nobles Camp. There they saw a yellow tent and a pair of boots outside. Something smelled bad, and something seemed off. They called out, then peered through the tent’s windscreen. An emaciated, lifeless body was looking up at them. They called 911.

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by Anonymousreply 4519 hours ago

A friend of mine just posted this article, read it earlier today. Can't believe nobody knows him. Reminded me of a guy I knew back in high school, he disappeared several years ago, some think he was killed by a cult or something. Could have been this guy. Hope this case gets solved if it brings closure to someone who needs it.

by Anonymousreply 111/05/2020

The FB group has a name or the hiker, if you click that link. Unless I misunderstood. Fascinating story.

by Anonymousreply 211/05/2020

Was it Ben Bilemy? That's the name he used when he stayed at hotels, but it was never matched to a missing person. I didn't notice it in the article but then, my brain is scrambled from days of election obsession.

They didn't come out and say it but sounds like GEDmatch may have turned up a few promising DNA profiles. It's just that reverse engineering a family tree is a huge undertaking that often meets dead ends.

by Anonymousreply 311/05/2020


by Anonymousreply 411/05/2020

The only reason we need to solve this is if he has a family who’s looking for him. Or if we know he committed a crime. If he actually is mostly harmless, I think we need to respect his wish to be unknown. Some people are just vagabonds.

by Anonymousreply 511/05/2020

It kind of boggles my mind that there are numerous photos of this guy and plenty of clues, and no one has recognized him, like “Hey, that guy looks like your ex boyfriend” or “Looks like a guy I used to work with”.

by Anonymousreply 611/05/2020

No name connected to the guy. Strange.

by Anonymousreply 711/06/2020

see Robert Ivan Nichols/Joseph Newton Chandler III case, there were people who knew him but it turned out they didn't really know him at all.

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by Anonymousreply 811/15/2020

Interesting, thanks for sharing! I've often found these mysteries that take place in the wilderness fascinating.

by Anonymousreply 911/15/2020

Othram, the DNA lab working on the case, says they're close to confirming his identity.

by Anonymousreply 1011/16/2020

Hikers are strange people. They torment themselves with heat, cold, rain, snow, blisters, lacerations, twisted ankles, poison ivy, insect bites, dirt, fungus, etc. And for what? To see trees, bushes, chipmunks, squirrels, water, mountains. You can do all that safely. You don’t have to “challenge yourself.”

They’re the hoboes of the 21st century.

by Anonymousreply 1111/16/2020

The forensic genealogist who cracked the case of Robert Nichols at R8 also confirmed the identities of Lori Ruff/Kimberly McLean and "Lyle Stevik" (whose family has kept his identity private).

by Anonymousreply 1211/17/2020

This is on the verge of being solved

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by Anonymousreply 1312/17/2020


I condole you.

If you don’t know how to spend a cold night outdoors then you’re too soft for 2021:The Sequel.

by Anonymousreply 1412/17/2020

Fascinating story, thanks, OP! Hah missed it until now—the election fog was to blame.

by Anonymousreply 1512/17/2020

This is like something on Unsolved Mysteries.

by Anonymousreply 1612/17/2020

R13- SO many totally strange people on the Reddit thread. "It’s more than knowing the name. I know the names. Of both lyle and denim. But I wish I knew more about who they were as people. I wish I could hear the sounds of their voice. All that kind of stuff."

by Anonymousreply 1712/17/2020

[quote] "Lyle Stevik" (whose family has kept his identity private).

R12 I am so glad the family chose to keep his identity private, read those threads of Lyle Stevik on reddit, the morbid curiosity of some posters there are really sickening, they want to share/speculate/fantasize every tidbit of details bout this guy, really? it's not your fucking business!

by Anonymousreply 1812/17/2020

R18 It's very easy to find out Lyle's real name. His first name is Christian. I won't give his surname. He was a beautiful guy. Very sad that he felt he needed to kill himself.

by Anonymousreply 1912/17/2020

[quote] Omg

Dyatlov right?

by Anonymousreply 2012/17/2020

MH compared with VR, the guy now assumed to be him

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by Anonymousreply 2112/19/2020

I'm glad his family and friends will have closure soon.

I don't get this bizarre entitlement some fraus in the True Crime forums and Reddits have about knowing the name of a previously unidentified person. As long as their loved ones have closure, that to me is the end of it.

And then there's the assailed who stalk and attack family members because they didn't know their relatives had come to harm - this happened with Marcia King aka Buckskin Girl. It was obvious they figured she was out there living her life and so had no reason to report her missing. Some families just aren't very close. Imagine finding out your daughter has been dead for years, was in fact murdered, and then a bunch of self-righteous lunatics descend on you, screaming that you are a terrible person because you didn't realise your daughter, who are somewhat estranged from, was dead.

by Anonymousreply 2212/20/2020

No idea where assailed came from - I meant assholes.

by Anonymousreply 2312/20/2020

r21, that's definitely him!

by Anonymousreply 2412/20/2020

He looks what Timothy Olyphant and Josh Duhamel would produce if they had offspring.

by Anonymousreply 2512/20/2020

He has been identified

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by Anonymousreply 2612/24/2020

He was very cute!

by Anonymousreply 2712/24/2020

Police confirm the identification

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by Anonymousreply 28Last Wednesday at 6:13 AM

Here's a good article about all of it. Turns out the guy was a depressed computer nerd who was estranged from his family for years.

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by Anonymousreply 29Last Sunday at 12:42 PM

[italic]Wired[/italic] feature

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by Anonymousreply 30Last Sunday at 12:45 PM

Wow, too bad Mostly Harmless wasn’t such a great guy. He looked so sweet in those photos.

by Anonymousreply 31Last Sunday at 2:10 PM

Fascinating story R30.

Just finished reading it. Such a tormented soul.

by Anonymousreply 32Last Sunday at 3:00 PM

Not so much a tormented soul as a drug-addled abusive piece of shit who refused to get treatment for his copious mental health issues.

by Anonymousreply 33Last Sunday at 3:11 PM

Mental health is complex.

by Anonymousreply 34Last Sunday at 5:17 PM

If he really starved himself with food in his tent and a few miles away from civilization, dude was hardcore bitches!

by Anonymousreply 35Last Sunday at 8:31 PM

"He wanted to see a bear"

Suicide by bear?

by Anonymousreply 36Last Sunday at 9:52 PM


by Anonymousreply 37Last Sunday at 10:20 PM

Depressing. Glad I didn’t follow this case when it was a mystery. I’ll be skipping the movie, too!

by Anonymousreply 38Last Sunday at 11:08 PM

Fascinating tale. Maybe someone will make a movie.

by Anonymousreply 39Last Sunday at 11:46 PM

It's got all the hallmarks of a good movie tbh. We should buy the rights and write a script.

Who would they cast as Mainly Harmless?

by Anonymousreply 40Yesterday at 4:59 AM

R40, ‘Produced and written by the readers of Datalounge.’ That makes me laugh...

by Anonymousreply 41Yesterday at 5:37 AM

This guy is a copy cat amateur.

by Anonymousreply 42Yesterday at 10:46 AM

Wow, this is an even sadder ending than I thought. 😕

by Anonymousreply 43Yesterday at 12:22 PM

What are some other intriguing stories similar to this?

by Anonymousreply 44Yesterday at 2:18 PM

R44 I would imagine there are many stories like his, given the number of people who just disappear into thin air each year. Some are obviously murdered or abducted, but a lot of people do just move somewhere else, because they want to start a new life.

I would imagine that this type of new life that Mostly Harmless pursued has and will be pursued by many more people. It's cheap, it's isolationist and it's away from the madding crowds. A good number of walkers, who walk the whole length of this trail and others, are walking away from their demons in one way or another.

by Anonymousreply 4519 hours ago
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