Author seeks information on ‘Torrey Pines Hermit’
Here comes a want ad unlike any other: Anyone with any information on the “Torrey Pines Hermit” should contact local author Jack Innis.
Innis, who wrote “San Diego Legends,” is working on a second edition about unique people in the history of this city. According to Innis, Nick Connell lived in a hand-hewn cave at Torrey Pines State Park for almost two decades. He was an avid student of religion and is said to have decorated his dwelling with hand-carved scenes from the Bible.
Innis said Connell grew up in New Hampshire, and was a body builder and “health food nut.” He did not have a high school education and worked odd, laborious jobs. He even joined the circus at one point. Innis, who only plans to write one chapter about Connell in the sequel to “San Diego Legends,” said he could go much longer if he had the room.
“If I got enough information, it wouldn’t be that hard to write a small book about his life,” Innis said.
According to Innis, Connell became deeply religious as a married man living in Utah, spending the majority of his free time reading the Bible.
Connell ultimately left Utah, moved to Torrey Pines in the early 1970s, and spent much of the next 20 years on his own. Innis said Connell could often be seen around town working out at a friend’s gym and shopping for health food before returning to his cave at Torrey Pines Park.
Of course, Innis would like to corroborate and extend these facts into a lengthy chapter that explores many aspects of Connell’s life. He said he hopes to be in a position where he has to cut down the information, not stretch to find it.
“That’s the problem you want,” he said.
Connell passed away some years ago, and his cave was filled in with cement. Those who knew or knew of the “Torrey Pines Hermit” can call Innis at (619) 276-1299 to share information.
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