Mute 'Piano Man' May Never Be Identified, Doctors Say

Classic Arts News   Mute 'Piano Man' May Never Be Identified, Doctors Say
Doctors in Kent think that they may never know the identity of the patient known as the "Piano Man," the London Independent reports.

The patient was found wandering in the town of Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in early April. He was soaking wet, and has not spoken since he was discovered. He was taken to a local hospital where workers made a piano available to him after he drew a detailed drawing of the instrument, and he played for hours in what seemed to be a very accomplished manner.

The case became public in May, and a worldwide search, conducted with Scotland Yard and the National Missing Persons Helpline, for his identity has brought in over 200 leads, all of which so far have been dead ends. He has been identified as, among others, a French street musician, an Irish exchange student who lived in Norway, and a Czech keyboardist.

Those conducting the search are less hopeful now than they were in the past, even though some possible identities remain to be researched. "We have discounted a lot of the names and continue to look at those which remain, said a source at the West Kent National Health Service. "But there is no obvious lead—we haven't had someone bashing down the door saying, 'This is my son," or 'This is my brother.'"

The source added, "It is possible that his family lead an isolated existence and have not seen the stories, but we have to prepare ourselves for the fact that we may never know who he is and that he may be wit us for a long time."

Doctors first diagnosed the patient with post-traumatic stress disorder, but have now revised their opinions and think he may be an autistic savant, which would explain his highly developed skill at drawing and playing piano, and his withdrawn and uncommunicative demeanor. The patient was found with all the labels cut from his clothing, which, doctors say, can be associated with autism.

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