‘Police shamed me’: angry ‘bear’ attack victim

The 38-year-old father of two, Marcus Morf, who claims to have been mauled by a bear while taking a walk in the woods near Gävle, in eastern Sweden, over the weekend, has said that the attack was nothing compared to the embarrassment caused by the police saying he was lying.

'Police shamed me’: angry 'bear' attack victim

“The police went public and hinted that I had faked the bear attack and humiliated me in front of the entire Swedish population,” said Morf to daily Aftonbladet.

Morf had reported to police on Saturday that he had been attacked by a bear in the Glamsen area, south of Gävle.

He told police that he was walking alone on a dirt road when the bear hit him with his arms and bit him. The man made a miraculous escape by fleeing on foot and climbing up a tree.

The bear then left the area and the man was able to creep down from the tree, return home and seek help for his injuries.

The officers initially believed his story and dispatched a team of hunters to search the area for the bear.

A warning was also issued to local residents.

However, police called off the search for the bear at around 6pm on Saturday after consulting experts at the county administrative board. None of the deployed dogs had by that time detected any indication of a bear or other wild animal.

Following a further interview with the man, the police discounted the claim that a wild animal was the cause of the injuries and told the media that they though Morf must have sustained his injuries in another way.

However, on Sunday police did a u-turn and have apologized for portraying the man in the press as some sort of hoaxster.

According to Morf’s wife, the whole family has been feeling bad since the police cast doubts on her husband’s credibility.

“What did they think? That I had gone outside and cut myself up?” Morf asked the paper.

The police took back their hoax claims after an expert explained the injuries were definitely caused by some sort of an animal.

However, no bear has yet been found in the area and Swedish bear expert Sven Brunberg, does not think a bear could have caused the injuries.

“Those can’t be scratches from a bear’s claws. That can be ruled out,” he told news agency TT.

Another tip-off that police have received from the public is that an Ural Owl could have caused Morf’s injuries, as the breed is very protective of its young at this time of year and can act very aggressively.

However, Swedish ornithologist Anders Wirdheim has cast doubt on the theory.

“It seems incredible that someone would mistake a bear and an owl,” he said to daily Expressen, adding that the injuries didn’t look like they were caused by an owl.

The bear attack therefore remains a mystery and police no longer consider it their investigation.

“We have received lots of information from the public, about the owls and raccoon dogs among other things. But we are not going to delve into these,” said officer Hans-Olof Sundström to TT.

The Local/rm

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Sweden’s Gävle Christmas goat ready to return for festive season

Sweden's straw yule goat Gävlebocken, whose biggest claim to fame is its tendency to get burned down every year, is all set for its annual return on Sunday.

Sweden's Gävle Christmas goat ready to return for festive season
The ill-fated 2016 Gävlebocken. Photo: Pernilla Wahlman/TT

Every year, the Christmas goat (Gävlebocken) in the Slottstorget square in Gävle, central Sweden, attracts a media storm with locals dreaming up new ways to protect the arson-prone 13-metre-high creation.

Despite their efforts, including in some years spraying the goat in anti-flammable liquid, the goat usually goes up in flames long before Swedes have opened their Christmas presents.

Last year, the goat surprisingly made it to Boxing Day intact, to the delight of organisers, who were reported to have put a “secret” plan into effect to protect it.

In 2016 it was less fortunate, going down in flames mere hours after its inauguration.

READ ALSO: 'Memorial' to be held for Sweden's giant yule goat

“Many people are invested” in the straw goat in Gävle, Maria Wallberg of the town’s municipality told TT.

The central Swedish town is naturally proud of its luckless Christmas decoration, despite the fact it has burned town 29 times during its 50-year history.

Thousands of people are expect to attend the unveiling of the goat on Sunday, with the ceremony to be presented by Swedish comedian Clara Henry.

“It means an incredible amount that the city has such a strong symbol which is known all over the world,” Wallberg said.

Security around the giant goat is expected to be high, both during its inauguration day and throughout December. Security guards and cameras will both be deployed to keep an eye on it behind its fencing, while a taxi rank has been moved to the square to increase the presence of people in the area.

“For security reasons, we can’t go into too much detail,” Wallberg said of any further precautions.

Historical precedent is against Gävlebocken. In its first year, 1966, it burned down on New Year’s Eve and it has only made it through the entire month on 15 occasions. It has been burned, stolen and vandalised. In 1976, someone drove a stock car into it.

Orörd = undamaged; uppeldad = burned down; annan skada = otherwise damaged; oklart öde = fate unknown. Graphic: TT

“An attack early in the season would mean cancellations at hotels and restaurants. So it is incredibly important for Gävle, Gävle’s businesses and for everyone who wants to visit the goat that it is still standing at New Year,” Wallberg said.

READ ALSO: Five weirdest attacks on Gävle's arson-prone Christmas goat