NFR: Into the Wild, Matthew Wilson gone missing

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by wadin' boot, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. There's a kid gone missing in Texas. His name is Matthew Wilson and his story is immediately reminiscient of Christopher McCandless' journey so well documented in Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild. I hope that missing Kid, if he's on a McCandless style journey, has done his homework.

    I read Krakauer's book a while back and thought it excellent. I was curious to see how Sean Penn would pull it all together in the recent movie release of the same name, and how the kid playing McCandless (aka "Alexander Supertramp") (Emile Hirsch) would do. It was long- 2.5 hours but just like the book, pretty riveting, especially as you know what's about to go down.

    When I watched the movie (or read the book) I wondered if I could have pulled it off, survived a year or longer in the Alaskan wilds with nothing but my wits, a 22, some tools- flyrod- and so on. Extreme Henry David Thoreau. I'm not young or naive enough to try it, but if I was, here's some of the homework I would do:

    1- Dick Proenneke, the guy who lived at Twin Lakes AK, for 30 years- alone. McCandless could of learned that even Proenneke liked beans and bacon and other stuff flown in for him...
    2-Tim Treadwell in Grizzly Man about hubris and folly.
    3- Castaway maybe too hollywood and fictional, but hey, excepting the dental work and plane crash, sorta looks fun at times
    4- Shackleton 'Nuff said
    5- William Bligh's Voyage post Fletcher Christian's mutiny on HMS Bounty
    6- Survivorman I get a kick out of watching the guy, even if he has some stuff thrown his way and the duration is brief
    7-Kaplan and Sadock's Handbook of Clinical Psychiatry In all of the borderlands between heroes and fools, there are subtle and not so subtle delusions, personality disorders and psychiatric issues- having some insight into self might come not just with histories and "how to" (or "how not to") tales, but also with some understanding of mental illness

    Anyway, you guys got some inspirational tales/stories/sources on those lines? Maybe the missing kid will end up surfing the net, google himself in some tiny library in the middle of nowhere, come across this thread and have the chance to learn and come through all this safer and wiser.
  2. In case the link to the New York Times article doesn't work (free but may require registration):

    Clues Offered in Search for Student , By Ralph Blumenthal
    HOUSTON — A month after a Rice University student vanished with his car after withdrawing $500 from a bank machine, school officials on Tuesday disclosed information suggesting the disappearance might have been planned.

    Days before he was last seen by a roommate the night of Dec. 14, the student, Matthew Wilson, 20, a computer science junior from Haworth, Okla., bought a car cover, a car window shade, charcoal and matches, said a Rice spokesman, B. J. Almond.

    And just before midnight Dec. 14, gasoline was bought at a Houston service station with Mr. Wilson’s debit card, which required use of his personal code, Mr. Almond said. The card has not been used since, he said.

    The missing student’s mother, Cathy Wilson, said about $1,400 had been left in the account. Mr. Wilson had his backpack with him but left behind his cellphone.

    “It would appear he left on his own volition,” said Chief Bill Taylor of the Rice University Police Department.

    Mr. Almond declined to speculate on what Mr. Wilson’s purchases could signify, but they appeared to suggest Mr. Wilson wanted to protect his car from exposure to the elements and perhaps survive outdoors for a while. The clues have been known for some time, Mr. Almond said, but were not disclosed in hopes of furthering the investigation. No information about Mr. Wilson’s whereabouts has emerged.

    Rewards totaling $25,000 have been offered for leads in the case, including $5,000 from Crime Stoppers of Houston for information leading to felony charges.

    Mr. Wilson is described as white, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 135 pounds, with red hair, green eyes, glasses and a full reddish beard. He drives a silver 2004 Dodge Neon with the Oklahoma license plate 863 MCZ.

    Family members had been hoping he would follow through on plans to be in Haworth for Christmas, but said they did not hear from him. His mother described him as an A-student with no known problems or medical conditions. School officials said it was unusual for Mr. Wilson not to have turned in any of his end-of-semester projects.

    The family has set up a Web site,
  3. Man, I really loved that book. All of Krakauer's stuff is good. And I thought the movie did it real justice. Best element to the book/movie was the devastation to the family brought on by their son's decision. It really made me think about how a kid, from a relatively normal, albeit disfunctional (again, normal) family could just up and leave for good. So many kids my age came from that type of family, and we all coped differently. Supertramp took it to a level all of us were too scared to pull off.

    I know that I couldn't pull off what he did. Survival skills be damned, it's the loneliness that gets to me. When I was 21, I took off on a roadtrip from Missoula to Glacier National Park and did some camping. I then backpacked into the Bob Marshall Wilderness via the South Fork trailhead. My plan was to stay a week or longer and just fish.
    I lasted three days. I got so freekin' bored. Next time I try, I'm gonna camp on a river where the fish are more challenging to catch! Stupid cutts. . .

    Best line of the movie, "Boy, that girl looks so horny she's gonna jump on a fence post!"
  4. Hope it's not a simple copycat case. Good subject at any rate.

    For anyone who hasn't seen them, highly recommend the Proenneke stories (the books are great but definitely check the films out).

    Also enjoyed Into The Wild, plus the soundtrack is worth owning even if you're not an EV fan.
  5. Krakauer really shows the madness inside that kid's head, even though I don't think he realized it. At least Chris walked off into the woods and didn't cause other's physical harm, as others do with that sort of mental illness. I mean, it would have been better for him to achieve psychiatric help, obviously. But I'm glad no one else was hurt.
  6. Sloan, I'm not sure I got that from the movie. In fact, working in the mental health field, I wasn't able to see a clear diagnosis. If anything, a social anxiety disorder. What would you point to as "the madness" in his head? (besides not sleeping with the hyper-horny girl).

    I would think we were looking at a developmental delay, specifically an autonomy delay.
  7. I never saw the movie. I guess I really jumped the gun when I said madness. I don't think he was actually psychotic. But the book did outline, IMHO, a clear cut case of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Most professionals in that field I talked to tell me its schizophrenia as McCandless was a smart guy (smarter than average), but seemed unable to make complex plans or incorporate new data once he had a plan set in motion; his "multiple personalities"; antisocialbehavior; referring to himself in the thrid person; and mild paranoia. (I guess the book is big amongst psychologists and psychiatrists as a case study).

    Dave, check out the book and ignore Krakauer's opinions and just focus on the behaviors of the kid and what people say about him s a case study and get back to us. I'd like to hear your opinion.

    More than anything, I hope this Matt Wilson is OK and hopefully he's just run away with some pretty girl (or guy, I don't judge) and he turns out allright.
  8. It's been years since I read the book, and I don't have it here in Washington with me. . . But just in what you wrote, I now remember there was more in the book about his mental instability.
    I am very familiar with schizophrenic youth. But if McCandless was schizoid, or this other boy gone missing, it most likely wouldn't be documented as it is a mental disorder that typically shows up in early adulthood (just as he disappeared). I can see why it would be popular amongst psychologists as Krakauer's investigation could only lead to the clues that would make speculation an interesting conversation. (BTW, "multiple personality disorder" is commonly incorrectly associated with schizophrenia; they are not related, and MPD is just about the rarest of all disorders). The anti-social behavior and narcissistic behavior might be indicators of something more legit, but more often than not, that's just your typical teen/young adult.
    But that said, yeah, something drove McCandless, and maybe this boy in Texas, to do something that 99.9% of us are too chickensh@t to do. And it's not like we haven't thought about it. But are they any crazier than expedition mountain climbers? Base jumpers? and other thrill seekers? Che Guevera and a buddy took a motorcycle ride across South America and they didn't tell their mommies before they left. Men have been walking off into the wilderness since the beginning of our stay here. That's how the West turned white. And we consider them heroes. Men were walking alone into the wilds of Alaska 100 years ago. McCandless did the same thing, only he wasn't looking for gold, so he was deemed crazy. Seems like time has changed our mores into taboos. . .
  9. In McCandless' case, I'd still like to know what REALLY went on with his parents.
  10. haven't read the book, but the movie is one of the best things i've ever watched.

    and dave, i agree on the best line of the movie. i laughed so hard at that. haha
  11. Shakelton was a jackass!
  12. I haven't seen the movie or read the book, but I'll be doing both now! Let's not forget Grizzly Adams, either!
  13. Very insightful, CREW364....
  14. Have you read the book or did you just see the movie. The film IMHO made him out to be a hero (in a way). My take from the book was that he was a total idiot.
  15. the book is tremendous.
    I hope this latest kid is ok and at least drops a letter to his mom.

    The not knowing is the hard part. Keeps you up all night, every night.
  16. Good thoughts Dave.
    However, I don't think actually walking into the woods alone is not why people think McCandless had a mental health issue. It's seen as a pretty common occurance for young men to go to Alaska to test themselves. The evidence people discuss for making the case for schizophrenia have more to do with the interviews of people that knew him, the letters he wrote, his major personality change sometime during college, and general documented behaviors and personality before he even stepped foot in Alaska.
  17. Major personality change durring college? :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

    I'd call 100+ days in the alaskan wilderness depending on nothing but my survival skills a kick ass vacation and would consider myself lucky if ever given the chance. :thumb:

    Also, I didn't see the movie. How the hell did he bring a moose down with a 22?
  18. Starving to death?
  19. I feel like we've totally hijacked boot's thread, so I'm gonna re-post it in hopes to get it back.


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