As the area experienced extreme cold temperatures over the past weeks, local emergency personnel have been concerned for the wellbeing of elderly residents.
On Shelter Island, officials undertook to visit vulnerable seniors, including eccentric, 104-year-old dried meats purveyor and former World War II flamethrower operator and explosive technician Old Man McGumbus, who has been living in a sealed, underground bunker in an undisclosed location under the dunes for the last several years.
The bunker was first discovered in 2015, but McGumbus has emerged or caused controversy from within his subterranean lair several times since that date.
“We used a ventilation shaft to attempt to communicate with McGumbus,” said Hamptons Police Department Sgt. Ted Strand, who directed the effort. “But we were unable to contact him, so we unsealed the bunker in order to make sure he was okay.”
Workers were surprised to discover that McGumbus was not in the bunker—they had received no word that McGumbus had vacated the premises.
“As of right now, we have no idea where McGumbus is. We’re asking the public to be on the lookout for him,” Strand said, noting that McGumbus is “unpredictable at best,”and sharing his surprise that the Shelter Islander hadn’t caused any incidents since leaving the bunker.
McGumbus was last heard from in April 2017 after he complained that his bunker was being “tapped,” but it turned out that rather than unwarranted surveillance, the old man was actually just referring to a tree branch making a tapping sound against his bunker’s hard outer shell.