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July 30, 1998

Don Henley found in Walden Woods
Missing and presumed dead, rocker emerges after nearly two months

CONCORD — A gaunt and raving Don Henley was discovered in the thickets of Concord’s Walden Woods last Sunday. The Eagles singer turned environmental activist had been missing since June 4th — the date of the annual Walk for Walden — and authorities had feared him dead.henley.jpg (11689 bytes)

Henley’s wife and two kids have been staying in a Boston hotel since they arrived in town over a month ago, in support of the Concord shrine. "I hope that my husband hasn’t perished in the woods," Sharon Henley said in an interview three weeks ago. "He has lived an easy life of gluttony and satiation — I don’t see how he can survive alone."

But survive he did. The former drummer appeared to channel a prehistoric and seemingly innate Cro-Magnon persona. Maryellen Felsmar was the first to discover the primitive Henley.

"I was taking my dog Caramel for her morning walk along the outer edges of the pond," said Felsmar. "Next thing you know, I’m hanging upside down in a tree and a grizzly-looking man with a crude spear jumps out from behind a birch tree."

Apparently Mr. Henley had fashioned a trap to catch small animals and had inadvertently caught Felsmar. He was prepared to eat her.

"I was frightened to death," she said. He had this crazed look in his eye. There were huge gobs of drool and he was grunting. I started screaming. Well, poor Caramel. She tried to protect me, but..." [Mrs. Felsmar quietly weeps into a hankie. She can no longer talk about her beloved Caramel.]

"I was hysterical," continued Felsmar. "I thought this beast of a man was going to eat me! But then I looked in his eyes and something clicked in my head — he looked like a guy from the Eagles! I was desperate. I started singing ‘Smuggler’s Blues.’

"That made it even worse. He started biting my ankle. Then I realized who he was! This was Don Henley biting my ankle, not Glenn Frey! So I sang ‘Boys of Summer,’ that dreamy, daring solo piece from the 80s, and ‘Hotel California.’"

The singing did the trick. Mr. Henley curled up in a fetal ball upon hearing the 70s anthem of fast-loving and fast-dying, California style.

"He started scratching himself, and then he sniffed me," said Felsmar. "He turned over some rocks, ate some grubs and centipedes and fell asleep."

Responding to a call from Felsmar’s distraught husband, Concord police went in search of the missing woman and her dog. They discovered Felsmar hanging in the tree, along with the charred remains of Caramel on a wooden roasting spit. Mr. Henley was shot with a tranquilizer gun and sent to Beth Israel Hospital for treatment.

"We were shocked to find the skeletal remains of a chipmunk in Henley’s large intestine," said Dr. Thomas Glugeth, chief nutritionist at Beth Israel. "He lived off bugs, small rodents, cats, dogs, snakes and plants. His nutrition levels were fantastic, though — he looks great, just really, really great."

Walk for Walden officials are trying to put a positive spin on the freakish event. In Henley’s honor, they are erecting a cairn — a conical heap of stones that is built as a monument.

"Don really brought us back to the basics," said Lisa Bonham, director of the Walk for Walden. "In essence, he outdid Thoreau. He didn’t use any tools. He didn’t have his own cabin. He didn’t keep some stupid little journal. This cairn will represent an astonishing feat — man truly living in nature. Don Henley won in those woods."

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