Black Bear Bites Head Of Pennsylvania Man In His Own Garage: “I Thought He Was Scalped”

Black bear attack
Lori Swartz

I’m sure you’ve heard of a garage beer before, but have you ever heard of a “garage bear?”

Heading out to the garage at night for a beer (from the specially purposed beer fridge of course) is always one of life’s simple pleasures, but now I’ll have to make sure to watch my back so I don’t get attacked by a bear while retrieving my favorite adult beverage.

That exact nightmare played out for a Pennsylvania man by the name of John Swartz, who went outside to turn off a water hose one night while watching TV with his wife Lori, and ended up having to fend off a fully grown black bear.

Swartz was attacked and pinned down in his own garage and bitten on the top of the head by the 250-pound bear, and it all got caught on their front porch security camera.

John walks across his front porch, past his lounging pet cats, and into the dark garage. The shutoff for the hose was located in the garage, which is a strange place for a valve to be (in my opinion), but an even weirder place for a wild animal to be lurking (in everyone’s opinion). This short clip below shows the bear waddling into the garage shortly before Swartz walks out of the house:

And based on the reports of how the attack went down, it was definitely a situation that aligns with the saying “wild animals are more afraid of us than we are afraid of them.” The only problem was that the bear got spooked, and in order to get out of the garage, it had to go through Swartz.

John was startled (to say the least) when the bear charged at him inside his very own garage, and though he tried to get out of the way, the bear pushed him against some shelves located on the walls of the structure.

Swartz was fighting an enemy that he couldn’t even see in the pitch black garage, and eventually managed to frantically run backwards out of the building as he started to hear the black bear growling from the shadows.

In the security footage, you see Swartz backpedal and fall out of the garage as the bear sprints around him. With everything going on and the man being disoriented from the attack, when he tries to get up and run to his front porch, he actually trips and falls over the black bear. He gets up once again and finally makes it to the front door and into the safety of his own home.

Swartz only realized that he had made contact with the bear outside the garage after reviewing the security camera footage. He talked to his local news station about the encounter, saying:

“It was something huge. It hurt, and it was loud, like a growl. I got hit against the shelves and I remember holding my head.

After we retrieved the video, I find out that me and the bear met again. I fell over the bear.”

Lori heard the crashing and commotion from inside the house as the crazy and accidental man versus bear face-off took place in the garage and front yard, and she rushed to the front door to see what was going on. By the time she got there and opened the door, John was already standing at the front steps with blood rushing down his face from the bite.

Lori told the news station:

“I freaked out. I thought he was scalped.”

Lori then did her best to give her husband medical attention while also calling 911 to report the incident.

The couple at one point looked out the front window and saw that the bear had casually strolled back up to the front yard after initially running away (which can be seen at the very end of the video linked below).

Swartz was rushed to a hospital after the attack, where doctors there confirmed that he had, in fact, sustained minor injuries from a bear bite on his head.

The hospital lifted DNA from the bear from Swartz and sent it to the Pennsylvania Game Commission so that they can hopefully trap and identify the bear in the near future.

The security footage is shocking to watch, both because of the nature of the attack itself and the sheer speed in which it all unfolds.

I’m sure Swartz is feeling somewhat fortunate, knowing that the whole thing could have gone down a lot worse. I’d also venture to say that he’ll be taking a flashlight with him (at least) for future garage visits.

Take a look:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock