For ten years a man calling himself Will Power lived in near-total isolation in northern New South Wales, foraging for food, eating bats and occasionally trading for produce.
But who was this mysterious man who roamed the forest and knew all of its secrets and riddles? Some people thought he might be Jesus. Others feared he was a more sinister figure.
The truth was that he was neither miraculous nor malevolent, but he was, most certainly, gifted. And when he finally emerged from the forest, emaciated and close to death, he was determined to reclaim his real name and ‘give society another chance’.
Today, Dr Gregory Peel Smith, who left school at the age of fourteen, has a PhD and teaches in the Social Sciences at university. His profoundly touching and uplifting memoir is at once a unique insight into how far off track a life can go and powerful reminder that we can all find our way back if we pause for a moment in the heart of the forest.
He spoke with Warren Moore about his book, Out of the Forest.