Cave men do still exist -- at least in El Paso, Texas.
A group of hikers reportedly got the scare of their lives on Sunday when a man jumped out of a cave along McKelligon Canyon and started chasing them down a hill. The man was apparently bothered when the hikers came across his makeshift home -- with furniture and personal items inside -- and began a taking a video of it on a cell phone. But things got even weirder when the cave dweller's story started coming to light.
Residents of a nearby apartment complex told local TV station KVIA that the man has lived there for a long time and that they are scared of him. He has apparently been living in the cave for three years, and people said he often comes out and walks around naked.
"Normally he's, like, wandering around," a resident of the complex told KVIA. "We never know what time he's going to show."
The man has been seen bathing in the complex's laundry room and using a jungle gym on the premises to work out, according to neighbors.
"I don't feel safe," another neighbor said.
On Tuesday, a state park ranger said the man might be squatting illegally on city land and could soon be evicted. Ranger Raul Gomez told KVIA that the man is living in a caved-in water collection ditch on property belonging to El Paso's water utility. A spokesman for the utility told the TV station that it would be looking into the matter and work to evict any trespassers.
KVIA approached the man in the cave for an interview, but he would not identify himself to the TV station. He disputed neighbors' claims that he walks around naked.
"If that's true, where's the pictures?" he said while sitting shirtless in his cave. "As you can see from the water on the floor over there, that's where I just bathed. This is Franklin Park. People come up here and barbecue, people come up here and sleep, camp out."
The man said that he gets food from "dumpster buffets" and fast-food restaurants, and he insisted that he isn't in poor health. "I'm a plasma donor. I'm not dying of anything," he said. "I'm drug-free and disease-free. God has blessed me with very good health."
He reiterated that he's not hurting anyone by living in his cave, despite his neighbors' complaints.
"What is my crime?" the man asked. "You ask my neighbors, most of them help me. I'm sin-free in every city. I'm baptized and saved. They need to worry about their own selves, to repent and help the community more."
A very different kind of cave didn't entirely shield a Missouri family from worry in the housing crisis. For a time, William Curtis Sleeper was so hard-pressed to pay the mortgage on his 17,000-square-foot subterranean home that he put the former mine up for auction on eBay. At last report, though, he was able to get a new mortgage on the unique home after news of the auction was covered around the world.
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