Newspaper Corrects Bear Attack Error Made in 1852


A New Jersey newspaper issued a correction for a story it published in 1852 about a bear mauling a teen to death. The story didn’t list a location of the attack, making it appear it was in New Jersey; Thursday’s correction clarified that it actually took place in Arkansas.

A reader pointed out the error when The New Jersey Herald re-published the story last week.

“Boy killed and eaten by a bear!” reads the report from Sept. 11, 1852. It says the boy was killed by an “enormous bear” and that “a large portion of the body of the unfortunate youth had been devoured by the savage animal.”

The story was cited in a 2010 bear management report as the only one known in New Jersey history.

Last month, a Rutgers University student, Darsh Patel, of Edison, was killed by a black bear while hiking. “This is the first fatal attack in recent history,” DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said. “There may have been some attack in the 1900s that’s rumor or legend, but nothing recorded.”

Officials stressed that bear attacks are rare even in a region that may have as many as 2,400 bears in its forests.