FAMILY FINDS HERMIT IN ATTIC

The geezer had been there for 23 months!

An Ohio family found an old man living in the attic of their home. They were shocked to learn that he’d been there for almost two years!

“It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it,” says June Curlew, whose husband Robert discovered the bizarre stranger in their home in a suburb of Cleveland.  “To have this nut living so close to our children – who knows what he could have been up to?”

Police arrested the skinny, bearded intruder for trespassing, but say they’re unable to determine his name or age. “We think he’s about 75, but he has no identification so we can’t say for sure how old he is,” says a police spokesman.

June and Robert Curlew, both 49, have lived in the two-story home since 1988.  All three of their sons, ages 9 to 13, were born there. The attic is actually a 5-foot-high crawl space, a storage area that runs alongside the two upstairs bedrooms.

June and Robert Curlew

“We never go in there, since we just use it to store things we never use,” says Bob Curlew. “We heard noises at night, but we figured it was just the house settling, that sort of thing.

“It was the smell that finally got me in there,” he says. “The stink was so bad we thought some animal had gotten in and died.”

Police believe the old man broke in the Curlews’ house while they were away on a two-week vacation in January 2002.  By the time the family returned, the police spokesman says, “he had a real sweet setup.”

The Hermit In The Attic

WHERE WAS HE HIDING?

The old hermit had set up a living space in a far corner of the attic, behind a large junk pile. He had piled blankets into a bed, which was surrounded by old magazines and books. An assortment of canned food, apparently stolen bit by bit from the family’s kitchen, was stacked a few feet away.

“Except for getting food and using the bathroom, it looks like he had everything he needed right here in all the stuff the Curlew family didn’t want anymore,” says the police spokesman.

“We surmise that he passed the time reading and playing dress-up with some old Halloween costumes that we found near his bed.”

The hermit was able to sneak out of the crawl space to use the toilet and gather food when the family was away.  But recently he’d been using an empty coffee can as a makeshift toilet – and the smell finally gave him away.

Police say the hermit was cooperative but incoherent when arrested, and is being examined by a psychiatrist while awaiting trial for trespassing.

“The whole thing is creepy, but if he needs help I guess he should get it,” June Curlew says.

“He never did us any harm. And this has taught us we have to stop hanging on to every little bit of junk we get.

“I think we’ll be cleaning out that crawl space real soon,” she adds.

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