Riddle over silent piano man

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

The man, wearing a formal black suit and tie, was taken to a psychiatric unit by police in Kent … but his continual silence has made it impossible to identify him.

Officials at the Medway Maritime Hospital in the coastal town of Sheerness said staff gave the man pen and paper hoping he would write his name, but instead he sketched a grand piano.

“When we took him to the chapel piano it really was amazing. He played for several hours, non-stop,” said Michael Camp, a social worker at the hospital.

“I am not knowledgeable about classical music but I could tell he was pretty good,” he said.

The hospital’s staff has taken to helping the man, quickly nicknamed “the piano man”, to compose music as efforts continue to determine his identity.

“He’s not talking at all,” a spokeswoman for the West Kent National Health Service Trust said.

“He’s very frightened. He’s drawing, but not to communicate. We are aware that he is a very vulnerable man and we would be putting him in a dangerous situation if we let him go,” she said.

Interpreters from Poland, Latvia and Lithuania were brought in to see if he was from eastern Europe, and possibly an asylum seeker, but no one has been able to get him to talk.

The hospital made a public appeal for help by releasing a photo of the tall, thin man in his 20s or early 30s, with closely-cropped blond hair and hunched shoulders.

The man is being held in a secure mental health unit in north Kent, which has no piano, until a full assessment has been carried out.

“There is no doubt that this man is extremely distressed and depressed. He has started crying over the last week or so. It may be that some sort of trauma has made him like this,” Mr Camp said.

“I cannot get within a yard of him without him becoming very anxious. Yet at the piano he comes alive. I can stand close to him and he is oblivious. It is extraordinary.”

The case has drawn comparisons with the Oscar-winning 1996 movie “Shine”, which tells the story of acclaimed pianist David Helfgott who suffered a nervous breakdown while playing.

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