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Armed men stormed into a lightly guarded Oslo museum Sunday , threatened staff at gunpoint and stole Edvard Munch's famous paintings "The Scream" and "Madonna" before stunned museum-goers. "Art experts speculated the thieves might want a ransom as the works are too well known to be sold except to a reclusive collector." (reuters). The Munch Museum had two of the "Scream" pictures; a private collector owns a third version; and the fourth is on display at Oslo's National Gallery. That version was stolen in February 1994 but recovered three months later. Police recovered the fragile work undamaged in a hotel in Asgardstrand, about 40 miles south of Oslo. Three Norwegians were arrested. At the time, investigators said the trio tried to ransom the painting, demanding $1 million from the government. It was never paid. Click here to read more.

Wikipedia: Some theorists liken the look of the screamer to that of a grey alien, claiming Munch was painting a close encounter he had experienced, while others use this theory to state simply that Munch was mentally unstable and therefore others who report encounters with similar beings were as well. A possibly more likely explanation for the image is that Munch was reproducing the face of a Peruvian mummy he had recently seen at an exhibition in Paris. The mummy had its hands alongside its face, similar to the position of the screamer in the painting.

related links:
The economics of Mexican kidnapping, Tyler Cowen
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