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Rooks draw Swedish village into Hitchcock Halloween nightmare

The residents of a village in southern Sweden are facing up to their own Halloween nightmare of as an invasion of birds befalls their countryside idyll.

Rooks draw Swedish village into Hitchcock Halloween nightmare

The heavens above the small village of Revingeby near Lund in the far south of Sweden have grown dark with the flapping of avian wings. In this case the birds in question are clamours of rooks – perhaps numbering thousands according to the hapless villagers.

As the Halloween weekend approaches the locals can talk of little else but their airborne plague of biblical proportions and the morning cacophony of shrieking birds.

Lars Persson, the chairperson of the local village committee, tells of how he, in the company of his wife, stood on the front steps of their home a couple of weeks ago when the rooks descended in waves.

“I was taken aback at the sight,” he told the TT news agency.

Residents now demand that something be done to combat the rook invasion as several villagers have been left terrified by the low-level fly-by birds.

Shooting rooks is perfectly legal in Sweden and so the villagers are free to arm up and fire at will. This would however be a meaningless course of action, according to Lars-Ewert Jönsson, the officer in charge of culling in the county of Lund.

“The first time you can maybe pick off an individual. Then they all flee. The second time, the same result. But the third time the birds start to recognise the hunter’s vehicle and fly off without delay,” he told local newspaper Skånska Dagbladet.

The most apparent difference between the ongoing ordeal and Hitchcock’s 1963 movie “The Birds” is that no resident has met the same fate as Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) in the suspense classic, and sustained a direct attack.

The climax to Hitchcock’s epic depicted a wounded and bandaged Melanie fleeing the besieged house of her beau Mitch to escape the frenzied birds and seek hospital care.

As Halloween approaches the residents of Revingeby will be hoping to resolve their avian irritation with somewhat less dramatic measures.

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OFFBEAT

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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