Here's an article that was just in the St Paul pioneer press newspaper, dated May 25th 2007 so you can look it up in the daily papers on their site if you want.
It stood out in my mind and gave me the creeps. Thought it might be interesting reading for you guys. this is totally for real, look it up.
Here's the article:
Something injured a 28-year-old college professor in a tent early Thursday in Itasca State Park. Was it a bear, another animal-or is there another explanation?
Authorities aren't sure as they sort through the details of the incident at the historic park on northwestern Minnesota.
Jon K-------- an assistant professor of Biology at Ceighton University, in Omaha Neb. Told investigators something attacked him about 2am while he was sleeping, leaving him with half dozen lacerations on his head, some to the face.
K was attacked while leading a group of students on a field course through the park, according to his father D. K. who added that his son was still unsure of what exactly happened.
"He's really out of it," said DK, speaking Thursday evening from the Park Rapids hotel room where his son slept. "He's in a lot of pain."
K. Originally from Hutchinson, where his parents now live, received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota last year.
No one else was injured in the incident.
Erickson said authorities aren't sure what attacked K. but his injuries are consistent with what a small black bear or possibly a fisher might have caused. K was in a sleeping bag in a tent away from the students and remembers little of the attack, Erickson said.
"He still can't remember seeing any animals or anyone around or hearing anything. The sheriff said. "He just woke up to his face being kind of tossed around. As soon as he put his arms up it stopped."
Erickson speculated a bear wandered into the tent.
"It appears to me a possibly small bear, out of curiosity, stuck his paws in the tent and raked them across the side of his head," he said. "It wasn't a vicious attack by any means.
It was like a kitten batting a little ball around. If the animal wanted to do damage, it would have been worse."
But some officials at Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which manages the park, have doubts.
Such a bear attack is rare, Said Dave Garshelis, a DNR bear researcher based in Grand Rapids, "It's uncharacteristic but not unprecedented," he said.
There also are enough odd details to suggest something else might have happened, he added.
Garshelis said he understood the victim went to sleep with the tent zipper closed and woke to find something on top of him and the zipper open, There were no slash or tear marks on the tent suggesting someone had unzipped it.
"Either his memory has failed him, or it seems this can't be a bear." Garshelis said. Authorities plan to speak with the professor again.
Garshelis conceded some students who used K car may have unzipped the tent to toss in the keys, or the man himself may have unzipped it and forgotten.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is analyzing the tent but hasn't come to any conclusions yet, Garshelis said.
:If they find some hair fragments of an animal inside the tent, that will change the while picture. He said. " If they don't there'll be a lot of questioning of the people.
DNR parks director Courtland Nelson said that the agency is alerting Memorial Day weekend campers to the situation and advising them of steps to take to minimize encounters with wild animals. Officials also planned to place a bear trap in the area to catch the creature alive.
"There is going to be some anxiety, and what we want to do is address that anxiety,? Nelson said."
He added that, "in 21 years in senior parks administration he has never previously had an incident in which a state park camper had been hurt by an animal.
It would be an oddity"
Erickson said the incident, if confirmed as involving a bear, would be the first he's heard of in the area.
With a continuing drought up north cutting into natural food sources such as nuts and berried, authorities have received more reports this year of bears prowling for food.
Campers always are advised to keep their campsites clean and to store food properly to reduce temptations for animals such as raccoons or bears.
Erickson said K told authorities he had no food in his tent. That's another factor that makes Garshelis skeptical a bear was involved.
"There are to many suspicious elements to say this definitely is a bear," Garshelis said.