Last week, three-year-old Casey Hathaway was found in the woods after going missing for two days in North Carolina. When rescuers found him, crying but otherwise safe, Casey told his mom at the emergency room that he survived in the cold because his friend, a bear, had watched over him.
“I don’t know if that meant he saw a bear. I don’t know if that meant a bear embraced him or what it meant,” Sheriff Hughes, a North Carolina Sheriff, told WCTI. “I thought it was a very cute story and if that’s what helped that child survive through this, you know what, I’m to going to embrace that story that came from a three-year-old, to his mom, to us.”
According to The Guardian, “experts” say that this was probably just a figment of Casey’s imagination, and not a case of a real-life Jungle Book.
“I’ve never known such a thing to happen, bears don’t do that,” Chris Servheen, a bear researcher at the University of Montana, told The Guardian. “Wild bears aren’t friends with people. I don’t want to say he’s not telling the truth, he obviously thinks he’s seen things and maybe he’s got a teddy bear at home. But I’ve seen no evidence anything like that has ever happened.”
Hm. Counterpoint: There’s also no evidence that a kindly bear didn’t help Casey.
“I don’t want to cast aspersions on the child but I think the little boy had a fantasy,” Servheen told The Guardian. “But if the boy felt comfortable under the watch of a wild animal that’s fine. Whatever helped him get through it.”
Personally, I stand with Casey.