Picture this: A bunch of bearded men, dressed largely in black, hoisting a black flag with crossed swords in and around some ruins in Sweden.
Sounds ominous, right? So you can’t blame Swedish terror police for descending on the castle ruins of Braehus Saturday when reports of just that situation rolled in.
They didn’t find any terrorists, though: Just the 30-man-strong Swedish chapter of an international organization of beard aficionados called the “Bearded Villains,” excited for their turn to take photos with the group’s flag.
Andreas Fransson, one of the group’s members and the founder of Ratemybeard.se, wrote on Facebook later that the Saturday photo shoot was “not what we set out for.”
“After about an hour the police showed up,” Fransson told The Independent. “They told us they got a call from someone driving past on the highway, saying that there were Isis terrorists at the ruins.”
“The police saw of course that we weren’t terrorists, just very happy and nice bearded gentlemen,” he continued. “We had a laugh with the police and they left.”
Despite only having been founded in 2014 “with the purpose of showcasing bearded men with character,” the Bearded Villains claim membership in over 80 countries and have a number of charity initiatives.
“It’s one of the foundations of our brotherhood, that you should not judge others before you know the facts,” Fransson said. “It’s the same with beards – each and every day you hear someone say you are a terrorist.”