In North Carolina, a three year old boy disappeared in the woods. Casey Hathaway was three when he played outdoors near the home of family. He then vanished into the woods. It was January and extremely cold, and when it was night time, the temperatures went below zero. The weather became freezing when icy rain fell. The little boy was nowhere to be found, and a search couldn't find him. People assumed he would be dead in the frigid temperatures of the woods. Unexpectedly, he was found alive in the woods three days later. A woman was walking her dog when she'd heard cries, so she alerted people to the sounds. Soon a team of rescuers discovered Casey alive and huddled under a thorn bush. He was cold and it was unusual that he's managed to survive all alone in such a cold place. When asked how he survived in the woods, Casey said that a bear had looked after him.
This is remarkable. Bears don't behave like this, according to Chris Servheen, who's a bear researcher from the University of Montana. "I've never known such a thing to happen. Bears don't do that." Servheen doubts the story of Casey, and thinks the child imagined a bear. Then how was this boy kept alive in the middle of a wood in freezing temperatures, unless he was cared for by a bear, or something else that Casey presumed was a bear. Now what could this be?
4. No one at all
It might be important to look at this page about bears in Native American folklore:
Native American bear meanings
If Casey had really encountered a bear, it was an incredibly magical experience and this bear was special. But if he only fantasised about the bear, like the university guy thinks, then a vision of a bear in spirit form, perhaps a divinity, showed up to protect the child from the freezing woods. Others think Casey met a Bigfoot creature. Only the boy knows exactly what happened.
(Posting on She Wolf Night)
Edit by Rayne = The art at the top is "Dream Bear" by Emily Whinfield Martin