Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild is not just about Chris McCandless and the people he met during the two years he was incarnating 'Alexander Supertramp.' It also about other oddballs such as Gene Rosellini. The term 'oddball' is not necessarily one of disapprobation in my mouth: most of the people I remain in contact with I would classify as oddballs. And of course it takes one to know (and appreciate) one. Here is a passage about Rosellini lifted from the essay Anarchism Versus Primitivism:
Unlike anarcho-syndicalists or anarcho-communists, primitivists could attempt to live their preferred lifestyle in our world now. Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild presents academician Gene Rosellini's attempt to live a primitive lifestyle in the wilds of Canada. "I was interested in knowing if it was possible to be independent of modem technology," he told Anchorage Daily News reporter Debra McKinney. "I began my adult life with the hypothesis that it would be possible to become a Stone Age native." He "purged his life of all but the most primitive tools, which he fashioned from native materials with his own hands," Krakauer writes. For ten years, Rossellini toughed it out. Eventually, however, he gave up: "I would say I realistically experienced the physical, mental and emotional reality of the Stone Age. But to borrow a Buddhist phrase, eventually came a setting face-to-face with pure reality. I learned that it is not possible for human beings as we know them to live off the land." In 1991, Rosellini was found dead in his shack, a suicide victim.
The author, Brian Oliver Sheppard, is drawing upon Krakauer's discussion on pp. 73-75 of Into the Wild. If I had the time and energy I would type up the whole of Krakauer's account, it is that interesting, assuming that you are, like me, fascinated by the wild diversity of human types. The quotations are from a letter Rosellini wrote to a friend. One inaccuracy: Sheppard speaks of Rosellini living in the "wilds of Canada." According to Krakauer's account, Rosellini was camped outside of Cordova, Alaska.