A man hiking in California almost became bear food, but was saved by a Scottish comedian in an unlikely way.
Retired Scottish armed forces veteran, Iain McAllister, was hiking California’s Pacific Crest Trail while listening to a podcast on his phone without headphones, when he encountered a bear on the path.
Luckily for McAllister, he was listening to Scottish comedian Raymond Mearns podcast, “Breaking the News,” and the bear heard the host “chatting away in his inimitably brilliant Scots brogue.”
“A bear jumped onto the trail about 50 yards in front of me, took one look at me, heard Raymond’s voice and ran away at high speed,” he claimed.
McAllister sent Mearns a thank you note via email, and the comedian said he wasn’t shocked that he scared the animal away, because he’s “got one of those voices.”
“I have this voice that’s distinctive,” the comic remarked. “It’s definitely a Yogi Bear-scaring type of voice.”
Mearns was not aware of his odd superpower, but now knows that despite never encountering a bear personally, he would be “immune” to one’s attack.
“All I have to do is tell the bear to behave itself and it would bolt,” he joked.
A North Carolina runner wasn’t laughing after being mauled by a mother bear in early July.
Bill Palas was trail running through Pisgah National Forest on July 7, when he encountered a bear cub.
“When you see a cub like that, there’s usually a mom around,” he recalled.
“So I go and I turn around real quick – and all of a sudden, there I see the momma bear.”
Palas knew that his only chance of survival was scaring her off by screaming and waving his hands, and the act managed to deter her after she charged him, but not for long.
The bear returned and stood up on her hind legs in front of him. “She takes her claw, and she rakes it across my face and chest,” he recalled, noting that her claws were as sharp as razor blades.
After knocking him around the mother bear went to check on her cub and Palas made his escape.
“I was running on adrenaline and shock,” he said. “I got 20 yards or so down the steep hill, and I surveyed myself. You know, ‘How bad am I?’ All I know is blood is just gushing out everywhere.”
He hobbled back to his home and was immediately taken to the hospital by his wife, where a plastic surgeon sewed up his face for three hours.
“I just feel so lucky that I’m together. I mean, seeing these 3-inch razor claws, I could see them this close to my face. Man, it’s just surreal,” he said about the terrifying incident.
Despite the attack, the aging runner refuses to stay out of the woods and wears his battle wounds like armor.
“It’s kind of like lightning rarely strikes someone — but it struck me this time,” Palas told local news outlet WLOS.
“I definitely have some wilderness street cred now ’cause, how many people do you know that’s been attacked by a bear?”