She felt sorry for the man, after all, he was caught in the harrowing December blizzard. When she invited him into her home, she had simply wanted to help him out.
But later that night, she couldn’t ignore the loud noise coming from inside of her cabin. She knew that she should’ve locked her door after calling the police, but she still decided to walk out of her bedroom. What she saw sent a shiver down her spine.
Mindy Harris Sheeran was your average twenty-seven-year-old living on the outskirts of a small town in Alaska. A graduate student studying botany, she’d made a name for herself as the recluse student who rarely came out of her cabin unless she needed to.
But Mindy was anything but a recluse. A native of Miami, Florida, she just wasn’t used to the frigid Alaskan weather that was fierce in December. That night would show her that there were more things to fear than the weather.
Mindy moved to Alaska as part of her research on native North American plant life. She was compiling data for her paper and thought it would be best to get everything straight from the source.
She spent five months in the state before the environment got to her. At first, she found the blizzards and freezing temperatures endearing. But as the months passed and she began missing home, everything seemed to rub her the wrong way. Well, that was until she met him.
She’d been drinking hot cocoa on her porch while reading the day’s paper when she saw the older man shuffle across the street. It’d snowed heavily throughout the day, and the snow was high.
Yet the man pushed through it, seemingly lost in thought. Knowing a blizzard was already building up thanks to the day’s weather report, Mindy decided to do something she’d never done since coming to Alaska.
Mindy called out to the man, saying hi with a lift of her mug. When he waved back, she invited him into her home, insisting that he shouldn’t be walking out in the terrible weather.
The man, Klaus, was also new to the region. Although his interactions with Mindy would go well through the evening, what would happen later that night would be enough to induce nightmares for years.
Mindy had only intended for Klaus to shelter from the blizzard through the evening. But now that night had taken the town, and the storm was still raging on, she told him to settle in. Since her cabin only had one bedroom, she prepared a place for Klaus on the couch.
The two talked for hours after dinner, with Klaus recounting his days as a military officer and Mindy telling him about her research. Although Mindy would retire to bed, the night would only be beginning for her.
A loud bang wrenched her from her sleep a few hours after midnight. She shot upright, pulling her covers to her chest as she wondered what was happening.
Jumping to her laptop, she checked her security cameras. She’d never thought they’d come in handy. Now here she was, staring at them as she prayed everything was alright.
She cocked her head to the side as something moved on the front door camera. Mindy fumbled with the buttons and rewound the footage, seeing an elderly man hurry past the porch.
Is that Klaus? Mindy wondered. Her heartbeat was picking pace. But then something even more chilling happened, prompting her to jump for her baseball bat.
Klaus walked before the camera again, stopping and gazing right into the lens. He walked into the house, the next camera showing him running to Mindy’s room.
Mindy choked back a cry. She didn’t know what was happening but knew she had to lock her door and call the police. Was the man she’d helped before out to hurt her?
Mindy lunged for her phone and called the police. She was still explaining everything to the telecommunicator when Klaus yelled from the other side of the door.
His scream was the most painful thing Mindy had ever heard, and she knew the man must’ve been hurt. Checking her camera feed, she saw him crawling through the living room. He was hurrying away from something.
Mindy opened her door against every nerve in her body and sneaked out of her room. She slipped through the darkness of her cabin’s corridor, making it to her living room door.
But she didn’t find Klaus there, only the front door opened ajar and the rowdy winds blowing into the house. Not knowing what to make of the situation, Mindy gripped her bat tighter. She was about to take another step when she heard it.
The growl was deep, reverberating through Mindy’s body with a crippling command. She let out a cry as a dark figure came through the open door, snarling louder than the winds outside.
Mindy froze in place as she realized what was in her living room. The creature had white fur, massive fangs, and claws as long as the knives in her kitchen. It roared, and she knew she’d never see the light of day again.
A Polar bear. Cold terror rushed through Mindy’s body, flash-freezing her veins before settling in the pits of her stomach. She was about to scream when Klaus charged back into the room, spraying an orange canister into the bear’s snout.
The beast reeled back, bellowing as it turned tail and stormed out of the cabin. Klaus sprayed after it, banging the door and locking it tight. But the night was far from over.
Klaus rushed to the kitchen, spraying the door before locking it. It took Mindy a few minutes to recover before realizing the man had a bleeding gash on his shoulder.
She ran for her first aid kit and sat to help him. She’d seen several movies and documentaries about polar bears. She never thought she’d live to be attacked by one. As she dressed Klaus’s wound, he explained everything to her.
Klaus revealed that he was part of Alaska’s wildlife service. He was in town tracking a polar bear that the locals had reported before the blizzard forced him to take a break. What were the chances that the same beast snuck into Mindy’s kitchen and woke him up?
He’d lured it out of the house before it mauled his shoulder, almost killing him. The police soon came, and although the wildlife service would catch the bear, the incident would be forever etched in Mindy’s brain. She’d need to acquaint herself with the Alaskan wild before venturing back out there.
Mindy began extensive research about bears in the region. Even though she was a biologist, her study had never sent her down this path. It was time that changed.
The more she uncovered, the more scared and calm she got. Although terrifying at some junctures, her findings were eye-opening and entertaining. She found herself relaxing when she truly understood how each bear species operates.
There are eight bear species globally, three native to North America. These are fuzzy and cuddly at first sight, with the thickest build anyone can wish for.
But they will tear you into shreds in mere seconds, especially when agitated. But some, like the polar bear, which Mindy encountered, will throw down even without being provoked.
Polar bears are unique to the Arctic circle but can be found wandering south toward the wilds of Alaska. Their numbers are dwindling, mainly owing to global warming destroying their habitats.
Bears live on the ice caps up north, but with the constant temperature rise, these habitats are melting, resulting in them losing their home.
Their number is currently between twenty and thirty-one thousand worldwide, a genuine far cry from how many they were before the industrial revolution and the onset of global warming.
Most polar bears are migrating south to escape the rising ocean levels in the cold north. It is no surprise that Mindy and Klaus found one lurking inside the house.
Common knowledge among the community members where Mindy lives is that black and brown bears, the other two species of North American native bears, can be dealt with if one is knowledgable enough.
For black bears, don’t try to play dead. You will be delivering them a free win. Flee to a secure place. If that’s not an option, fight. Focus your kicks and blows on the animal’s muzzle and face. This is different for brown bears.
Brown bears, also known as grizzlies, are usually bigger than black and polar bears. But their size does not mean they are not fast or great climbers and swimmers.
The best way to win against such a massive fiend, with claws that can easily transport your insides to your outsides, is to do nothing. Yes, play dead, and play it as if your life depends on it because it does.
Brown bears are very fast, so running away from them is ill-advised. They also love the chase and will not stop until they have you.
By playing dead, with your backpack on and your hands protecting your neck, you’ll be able to stave it off. A few miles south of where Mindy’s polar bear scare took place, a similar event occurred. But this one involved a grizzly and a very unlucky mountain biker.
The average speed for a mountain biker is 10 miles per hour. A grizzly bear can run five times faster than this when highly motivated.
The cyclist in this story was a tourist looking to take in the forest sights in the wee hours of the morning before joining his friends for breakfast. What he found in the woods was enough to give him many sleepless nights.
Pierre had been cycling for more than a decade before he found himself racing for his life in that forest. A professional biker across numerous biking sports, he loved cross-country biking.
But as he and his friends were visiting the wild, remote corners of Alaska, they packed mountain bikes, ready to see what the great outdoors offered.
The morning of the incident was a different one for Pierre. Most of his friends insisted on taking their bicycle ride after breakfast.
Given that Pierre had formed a habit of going out to ride before breakfast, he bade them goodbye and cycled off. He had no idea what awaited him in the green Alaskan forest.
Thirty minutes into his ride, Pierre decided to take a slight breather and enjoy the rolling green hills in the vista ahead. He took off his helmet and stepped off his peddle.
The sun was already up, and the air was fresh. Pierre closed his eyes to enjoy the mellowing quiet around him. But what his ears caught made him jump back on his bike.
The roar was ground shaking, gripping through Pierre with a ferocity he never thought possible. His first instinct was to jump back on his bike and begin pedaling.
Without a wasted thought, Pierre flew back on the path he had been taking before stopping. Glancing back as he pedaled, he saw a massive brown bear barreling toward him, inching closer by the second.
Knowing how fast brown bears were, it was only a matter of time before the big ball of fuzz and ferociousness caught up to him.
He leaned forward on his bike, tightening his fingers around the grip as he raced down the dirt path. The bear continued coming after him, the gap between them reducing. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the worst happened.
A large felled tree trunk appeared before Pierre. One look at it, and he knew he couldn’t jump over it. Stopping would mean the bear would have a field day with him.
Knowing he couldn’t jump the felled tree, Pierre braked before it, hoping to pick up his bike and hop back on. But it was too late.
The bear had caught on to him. But as it pounced, a gunshot rang, startling the creature. Pierre took that as a sign and ran toward the sound of the gun.
The bear didn’t pursue as more gunshots sounded. The hunters who had saved Pierre took him to their safety, getting him home without a scratch. If only he lay down and pretended to be dead in the first place. Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.