‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ Review

‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ Review

In this digital age, mysteries abound, and the quest for answers can be both captivating and perplexing. One such mystery is explored in the documentary film “They Called Him Mostly Harmless,” directed by Patricia E. Gillespie.

The film delves into the true-crime realm, where amateur detectives take the lead in unraveling the enigma surrounding the body of a male hiker found in the Florida wilderness.

The Mysterious Case of Mostly Harmless

In 2018, the discovery of an emaciated male body sparked a series of questions that remain unanswered to this day. Blood tests revealed that the man was healthy, with no traces of drugs in his system except for Tylenol.

He had been hiking the famous Appalachian Trail, and while several hikers recalled crossing paths with him, they only knew him by his trail name, Mostly Harmless. But who was this man, and why did he not want to be found?

Unraveling the Mystery

‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ takes viewers on a journey of discovery, as it follows the relentless pursuit to identify the body.

The film features interviews with hikers who encountered Mostly Harmless, a dedicated detective, and the Wired journalist whose articles inspired the creation of the documentary. Through their insights and perspectives, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together.

The Role of Amateur Detectives

What sets this documentary apart is its focus on the amateur detectives who played a crucial role in cracking the case. These middle-aged women, united by their shared dedication to the cause, formed a Facebook group where they collaborated and shared information.

The film captures their determination, as they painstakingly sift through clues and delve into the world of digital sleuthing.

A Documentary of Layers

‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ is a documentary that operates on multiple levels. On one hand, it serves as a gripping true-crime investigation, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats as new revelations unfold.

On the other hand, it delves into the meta-true-crime dimension, exploring the broader fascination with the genre and the complex emotions it evokes. The film examines the digital sleuthing hive, where dead ends and false leads can lead to online harassment and rivalries within the Facebook group.

The Futility of It All

As the documentary progresses, it becomes apparent that the pursuit of answers does not always yield a satisfying resolution. The film’s tone is mildly condescending, highlighting the inherent futility of amateur detective work and the sometimes misguided efforts of those involved. The outcome serves as a reminder that even in a world of interconnectedness and vast amounts of information, some mysteries may remain unsolved.

Final Words!

‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ is an intriguing documentary that takes viewers on a journey of digital sleuthing. The film explores the enigma surrounding the body of a male hiker found in the Florida wilderness, as amateur detectives and dedicated professionals work together to uncover the truth.

It delves into the complexities of the true-crime genre and the allure it holds for both investigators and audiences. Ultimately, the documentary raises questions about the nature of obsession, the limits of online investigation, and the futility of seeking answers in a world where some mysteries may never be solved.


1. Is ‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ a true story?

Yes, ‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ is a documentary that delves into a real-life mystery surrounding the discovery of an unidentified male hiker in the Florida wilderness.

2. What sets ‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ apart from other true-crime documentaries?

One distinguishing aspect of ‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ is its focus on the role of amateur detectives, particularly middle-aged women, who played a significant part in cracking the case. The film also explores the broader fascination with true crime and the complexities of digital sleuthing.

3. Does ‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ provide a satisfying conclusion to the mystery?

While ‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless’ offers insights and revelations, the documentary acknowledges that some mysteries may remain unsolved. It highlights the inherent challenges and limitations of amateur detective work, reminding viewers that not all questions can be answered.