Thursday, May 25, 2017

Black Panther Sightings in Texas Continue

Some of you may be wondering if this blog has turned exclusively into a black panther site. The answer is no, but I understand why the question might be asked. As word has gotten out that there is somewhere to report sightings of large, black, long-tailed cats and that there is someone that will not dismiss sightings of said cats out of hand, the reports have continued to just roll in unabated. What you actually see published on this site are just some of the reports I receive on a weekly basis. It has become quite the job keeping up with them. I am working on some posts on other cryptozoological topics so, please, be patient. In the meantime, however, here are the latest reports from Texans who claim to have had run-ins with the mythic black panthers of the Lone Star State.

Reported 4/17/17

“About 6 years ago, I was staying with my cousin in Dial, just south of Honey Grove in Fannin County. It was winter and an ice storm had just passed through Oklahoma and graced Northeastern Texas with its presence. My cousin, his son, and I were headed out hog hunting about 6am that Saturday morning. My cousin's wife worked the night shift back then and had gotten home about an hour earlier. We opened the back porch door and stepped outside. I think we all saw it at the same time. Nobody said a word or moved. There was an enormous jet black cat lying on my cousin's wife's hood. It looked to be the size of an adult cougar. I suppose the warmth from the recently turned off engine felt good in 20-degree weather. It didn't seem spooked but peered at us and calmly jumped down and loped back into the tree line. We were amazed at what we had seen and decided nobody wanted to be alone in the woods that day. So, we rescheduled the hog hunting excursion.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Dial sits in southeast Fannin County along FM 824 about 25 miles to the southeast of Bonham. The Sulphur River flows west to east less than 5 miles from the small, unincorporated community. The land is almost exclusively reserved for agricultural purposes in the immediate vicinity and features the aforementioned Sulphur River, numerous creeks and ponds and heavily wooded riparian greenbelts. A large cat would have plenty of room to roam and thrive. The behavior described is something that rings true. Many would, no doubt, testify that they have seen domestic cats lying on top of warm car hoods during cold snaps. I see no reason a larger cat might not do the same thing during an unusually cold weather event (temperatures in the 20’s in Texas certainly qualify).




Reported 4/18/17

“I was working in South Texas -Dimmit county area one night. As I was driving to our yard to call it a night I saw a big cat Sprint across my path. They way it moved to get under the fence it sprinted to , assured me it was a cat. The size was rather large (4ft) and appeared well-fed. Coat was shiny black. Not brown whatsoever. Time was 5am. It was near the nueces river.”

- Eduardo Lopez, Jr.


TCH Comment: Dimmit County sits in south Texas along the Rio Grande River. The county seat is Carrizo Springs. The county consists of 1,335 rather lonesome square miles. There are only 8 people per square mile in the county. Mountain lions can be found in the region so a big cat could make a living here. It is possible that a melanistic jaguar could cross into from Mexico in this area. I am troubled a bit by a big cat that chose to go under a fence rather than over it. Before adding this sighting to my distribution map I would like to hear a bit more from Eduardo about the location of the fence, how a big a barrier it is, etc.


Reported 4/19/17

“Now in Texas, but when in New York saw -fleetingly!- a black, long tailed animal streak in front of my car. 1997, night. 70 ft? I entertained thoughts of a very skinny black bear, or a very large dog, but that tail... It had some of the aspects of a mental thing, i.e. spooky, perhaps wispy, ill defined, so I never bothered to tell anyone but friends. Not your exact bucket, but thought you'd like to hear.”

- Ol’ Bab



TCH Comment: It is an interesting story, I am always up for interesting stories. I have received a few sighting accounts from the northeastern region of the country so it is not as unlikely an incident as many might believe. Since it is far from my stomping grounds it will not appear on my distribution map.


Reported 4/20/17

“Hello. My name is Nathan Jordan. I'm from a small community in Tyler County. When I was a kid walking home from walking in the woods I looked down an old hunting club road and saw a head that was different from a deer or anything. I fired a shot from my rifle in the direction of the animal. I wasn't trying to hit the animal but spook it instead. It did the job and in one leap it jumped across the road which was ten feet minimum. I saw a long tail and it was obviously a cat. Because it was dusk the color was hard to make out but was definitely dark. We had seen large animal prints around the house before that and my cousin had witnessed a cat in the area also. My uncle said the prints were a bear to which my father laughed and said if it's a bear than where are the claw prints. We took a picture and I wish I had it. We laid a dollar bill so we could determine scale. It was close to the size of the dollar. I don't know exactly what I saw that evening but it was the most beautiful animal I've ever seen. Also while hunting coyotes and using a rabbit bleat every once in a while I'd hear that tell take sound of a cat. Thank you so much sir for your article and investigation. I hope that this story helps God Bless.”

- Nathan Jordan U.S.M.C
 


TCH Comment: Tyler County is located in east Texas in the region commonly called the Piney Woods. This is also one of the areas where units of the Big Thicket National Preserve can be found. The area has historically been rich in wildlife and cryptozoological lore. The area once held populations of red wolves, cougars and black bear. Two of these three species seem to be making a bit of a comeback in the area. The area is also rife with tales of black panthers. Nathan’s sighting is typical of most sightings of large cats in that it occurred quickly and not under ideal light conditions. I have no doubt that Nathan saw a big cat but, due to the fact he cannot positively state what color the animal was, I will not post this report on my distribution map. Thank you for taking time to send me this report, Nathan, and thank you for your service.


Reported 4/20/17

“I am a retired Forester w/ private industry in Arkansas and have been witness to LBC (large black cats) on 3 different occasions. 2 of the 3 were in the fall of the year during the hunting season here in S/W Arkansas. One was seen from my elevated deer stand located along a large creek approx. 1/2 mile from any paved or gravel road. The animal approached w/in 25/30 yards of my stand giving me a clear and unobstructed view. It was a large cat. The 2nd sighting was while I was "cruising" timber south of Fouke, Ark., supposed home of the 1970's Fouke Monster. While cruising timber in the Sulphur River basin I also saw a LBC. I had a feeling of being watched and followed so I stepped behind a large cypress tree and waited. Just a few minutes later the cat stepped out of a cane break approx. 50 yards from me. I let out a squall and he swapped ends and disappeared back the way he came. I also left the woods. The 3rd incident was from my truck w/ a friend as a witness. David Satterwhite and I were leaving the woods heading to his house to cook out. It was just before dusk dark when he stepped out of the woods onto the gravel road we were driving. At approx. 75 yards he/she (not knowing what gender any of the three were) stopped for a short 4 or 5 seconds and then jumped a wide ditch and disappeared into the thicket and gone...To surmise I know that these type cats are here. Are they just in transit or do they call this part of Arkansas home is yet to be determined. I am no "expert" as to judge this, but I know what I witnessed, and I do know the local fauna, they were not bears, Labrador dogs, or feral house cats. Until science take these sighting serious we may never know until someone is attacked by one of these mystery cats." 

- Tmbjak



TCH Comment: These incidents took place in Arkansas, so they will not be placed on my sightings distribution map but they are, nonetheless, fascinating. I cannot think of many whose eye-witness testimony would be more compelling than a career Forester.




Reported 4/21/17

“I'm in the DFW Metroplex. About 4 years ago, when I was working midnights I saw a jaguarundi walking along a creek at the border of Colleyville and North Richland Hills. I spotlighted it and took a short video of the cat on an old phone. Everything I read said these cats were rare in this area. I reported the sighting to TPWD but never heard back.”

- Clay Williams



TCH Comment: The sighting area is in Tarrant County which, to the surprise of many, has been a hotbed for black panther sightings. The witness states that he was working nights and spotlighted the cat in question. These factors clearly indicate the sighting took place in less than ideal light conditions. These things being the case, we must keep the possibility of the misidentification of a large domestic/feral cat on the table. That being the case, I will leave this sighting off my distribution map. The witness does say a short video was taken. I would be more than willing to reconsider my decision if I could get a look at that video so, Clay, if you see this and still have that video please email me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com.


Reported 4/25/17

“ I live just south of San Antonio, in Atascosa county. I see jaguarundi on occasion when I drive to work in the city as well as in my neighborhood. They are definitely around the area, they're just good at staying out of sight most of the time.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Atascosa County is just south of Bexar County – home of the great city San Antonio – and not too far from accepted jaguarundi range. That being the case, it is not outside of the realm of possibility some of these wild cats could have ventured inland to this area. I would advise the witness to have a camera handy in case any future sightings take place.




Reported 5/9/17

“20 years ago, like the one in the picture. It was very graceful and smooth, and very quick as it ran. It stopped once too look at me, then took off very quickly. Black and shiny, very pretty. I guess it could have been a jaguar. Did not see the spots, however, the cat was probably 75 or so from me.”

- Outdoor Walker



TCH Comment: A very typical sighting where the witness caught a fleeting glimpse of one of these enigmatic shadow cats. The witness failed to say exactly where this sighting took place so I am unable to add it to my distribution map.


Reported 5/11/17

“Very interesting accounts. I have heard of the black panthers mostly in east Texas for years. Years ago, as a young boy, probably around 1966 in the Klein area North East of Tomball Texas I was riding my horse through the deep woods N of Willow Creek South of Spring Creek on an old logging road. My horse started acting extremely nervous and agitated. I was getting angry with him when he turned partway around and I saw the back half of a black panther. It was very sleek and muscular with a long tail. It was bigger than a bobcat but not as big as a cougar. I have hunted those woods for years and never saw another one but can tell you for a fact I did see that one on that early summer day 1966.
Thanks.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: I have heard many similar stories from my fellow east Texans. While there is less forest than there used to be in the region, there are still thousands of acres of wooded land in the region. This particular sighting took place in very close proximity to the Sam Houston National Forest and the primitive Big Thicket, an area rich in black panther lore. I will be adding this sighting to my distribution map.


Reported 5/11/17

“I was no more than 20′ from one 5 miles outside Kosse in 1986. Me and wife were visiting my mother when her dog started raising hell. I turned on the porch light and went to see what was going on. When I opened the door her dog (a big Malamute) ran inside and he never ever went in the house. Every hair on him was standing straight up and he was growling real deep and you could tell he was scared to death. Well I walked out on the porch with a flashlight and saw these eyes glowing from the porch light. When I shined the flashlight on it, I could not believe what I was looking at. Had always heard my mother talk of panthers but here was one not 20′ away. It had the big round pie plate head and a big fat tail. I would guess since it was standing at the back of my truck in her driveway, and it’s back was even with the top of my bumper. It would probably have weighed around 150lbs. The body alone was 5′ long with a 2-1/2′ to 3′ tail. My wife was right beside me so I know I wasn’t imagining things. Her neighbor raised sheep and he started missing a bunch of them.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Kosse is a small town in Limestone County. The county is looked at by many as a transitional area where central Texas becomes east Texas. The area around Kosse is extremely rural, lightly populated and has been a hotbed of sightings for large, black, long-tailed cats. If the witness in this case is correct, and I have no reason to believe he is not as his truck provided scale, this was an enormous cat. There is simply no way he or his wife could have mistaken an approximately 150 lb. cat with a domestic/feral or a jaguarundi. This sighting will join others from the Kosse area on my distribution map.


Reported 5/11/17

“I went to college in E TX. On a road trip to see the SFA vs Sam Houston football game in Huntsville, I saw a big black cat run across the road. I was shocked by the size and the black fur contrasting against the road. It made it across the road in a few trots. I asked the girl driving next to me if she saw the same thing and she stated she did. It definitely was no house cat. But the mid-body dip and long tail was very cat like. Just putting my experience out there.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Another sighting from the Sam Houston National Forest/primitive Big Thicket area. The sighting itself is nothing spectacular, just an animal crossing a road, with the exception of the fact that the animal seen is not supposed to exist. I will be adding this sighting to my distribution map.


Reported 5/15/17

“Years ago I lived in Blackwell, TX which is about 35 miles south of Sweetwater. I had to drive into Sweetwater for work and then home again, many times in the dark. I was always wary of deer and kept a sharp eye out. But one morning as I neared the intersection for Nolan (also called Divide), I saw very clearly a black panther, black as midnight, and the size of a fairly large dog cross the road in front of my car. I had plenty of time to watch it cross the road. It was in no real hurry, just crossed at a fair pace. I had always heard the local farmers knew there was a big cat in the area......but I finally saw it. We had lived in the area about a dozen years, that was the only time I saw for myself." 

TCH Comment: The sighting location sits in southeastern Nolan County southwest of Sweetwater. It is an area that has been the source of black panther reports in the past. The county is lightly populated – only 17 people per square mile according to the 2000 census – so there is plenty of room for a large cat to roam and remain largely undetected. This is yet another road crossing type of sighting, very typical. The witness was able to get a good long look at the animal as it crossed in front of his vehicle so the possibility of a misidentification seems remote. I will be adding this sighting to my distribution map.


Reported 5/19/17

“I live in Lindale TX just last week we had 2 Big Black Cat in our Land . Can we kill them ?”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Details are sparse on this one so I will leave the report off my distribution map; however, the witness raises a question that has been asked of me before so I will take this opportunity to address it. Can you kill a “black panther” without fear of prosecution? The answer is yes…and no. IF these long-tailed black cats turn out to be a novel species, then no prosecution would be forthcoming. As of now, the black panther is thought to be about as real as a unicorn to wildlife officials. There are no laws against killing “imaginary” animals. IF the cat in question turned out to be a mountain lion (I know there is not supposed to be any such thing as a melanistic cougar but play along for a moment) then the only requirement would be that the hunter possess a valid hunting license. There is no closed season on mountain lions in Texas. The only way a Texan might face prosecution for taking one of these cats would be if the animal in question turned out to be a jaguar or jaguarundi. Both are considered endangered or threatened and a person responsible for the killing of one of these cats could potentially face prosecution that could lead to jail and/or heavy fines. The exception to this scenario would be if a person could prove that their life or the life of a friend or family member or that of their livestock was in imminent danger at the time the shooting took place. Hopefully, I did not muddy the waters too much with that answer.

At this point I would like to put the call out to anyone and everyone that has a photograph of what they suspect is one of these mystery cats. In addition, I would like to request that you, the reader, spread the word on where sightings of black panthers can be reported. Remember that an email is a better and more efficient way to communicate with me than relating an experience via a comment on another post. The email makes a two way conversation possible. I can be reached at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com.

I will post an updated distribution map soon. Until then...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I'm Back and People Are Still Seeing Black Panthers

Before moving forward, I want to apologize for my lack of posting over the last year. To say I have been inactive would be a massive understatement. Life has been crazy and, I must admit, it has not all been a good kind of crazy. Not at all. That being said, I am blessed. I hope to be getting back to blogging on an, at least, semi-regular basis starting right now.

While life has been crazy, part of my exile has been self-imposed. I am still heavily involved with the NAWAC and much has been going on with the organization. I feel strongly we are closer than ever to making some ground-breaking discoveries. Also, what free time I have had left after job, family and NAWAC obligations has been eaten up by my book project. I am writing a book on the black panther phenomenon in Texas and the American South. While there is much work left to do – it is tough writing in fits and spurts - I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am hoping to complete the book this summer but much of the heavy lifting has been done already and I should be able to give the blog the attention it deserves.

So, thank you for sticking with me. I really appreciate it. Now, on to the subject at hand: black panther sightings.

Following are the latest reports submitted to me by fellow Texans who claim to have encountered large, black, long-tailed cats matching the classic description of a “black panther.” As I have stated here numerous times, there is not supposed to be any such animal. Despite this fact, Texans, and other people across the American South, continue to report sightings of these enigmatic felines.

Before we go any farther, numerous people have posted comments to previous posts on this topic claiming to have photos of these mystery cats. It is true that photos cannot be attached to comments; however, pictures can be emailed directly to me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. This email address can also be found in the right margin of the blog site. PLEASE, if you have photos or videos, attach them to an email and send them to this address. If you are leaving a comment on another post and would like for me to contact you directly, contact information will have to be included in the comment you leave, as I cannot respond directly to said comments.

Now, on to the reports…


4/15/17


“My brother just showed me a video of a large black cat approximately 2' x 5'at a distance of 80 yards shot with his phone. Broad daylight, sunning and bathing itself the cat was not intimidated by the bull dozer my brother was sitting on. It only moved when he dismounted the tractor and began walking towards it. Very muscular and without a doubt a cat, it was jet black. I would love to share this video to wildlife people that tell me they are not here. Location South of I20 mile marker 571 Winona, TX.”

- Justice P.



TCH Comment: This is an interesting account and the claim of video evidence is intriguing; however, no video accompanied the report. Justice, if you see this post, please email me a copy of the video. I would love to inspect it. If it is too large to email, contact me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com and we can make arrangements for a different type of file transfer. I will hold off on adding this report to my black panther distribution map until I can get a look at that video.



4/14/17

“6 yrs. ago I saw a large black cat moving down my fence line. My four donkeys were fixated watching it. At first I thought it was a dog, then a pig but I then saw a long black tail. I was certain it was a cat. I called Texas Fish and Game and was told there are no panthers in Texas and it must have been a house cat. Several of my neighbors have seen a black cat or (2) in the immediate area. I live outside of Mount Calm.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Mount Calm is a small town of approximately 320 people in Hill County. For the most part, the county is rural and farming and ranching dominate the economy. With only about 35,000 people in an county encompassing 986 square miles, there is plenty of room for a big cat to pass through or stay for long periods of time undiscovered. Hill County has also been the origin of several other reports of large black cats over the last several years. I really do not find any reason not to believe this witness and will add the sighting to my distribution map.


3/14/17

“I live in the southern tip of Lampasas county, 2 miles from Burnet county line. I travel BCR 223 every morning and evening going to work and back. Back in November 2016 at 05:30 I was travelling down 223 near the Lampasas river and 3 half grown black jaguars stepped out of the brush and trotted down the road for about 75 feet and exited toward the river. If my son had not been with me to verify, I think most people would have thought I was full of BS......scary out there sometimes.”

- Edmundo Lanehausen



TCH Comment: This report seems too good to be true but I have had other reports of multiple cats running together that I found to be credible. I would, however, like to hear more about this sighting and, if possible, speak to not only Edmundo but his son who also saw the cats. I will hold off on placing this sighting on my distribution map until, and unless, I hear back from Edmundo.

2/28/17

“I live in Granbury Texas, and have seen a very large black cat by my house two times in the past month. He was behind a 2-1/2 foot wall the first time sitting down and I only saw his head and upper shoulders. He was about 20 feet from my backdoor. A couple days later I saw him standing in my neighbors yard and he was about the size of a Great Dane. (I used to have a Dane so I know their size). He was black and marble colored (but that could have been because he was part in shadow of a lot of trees). He had a very long tail (posted this a few minutes ago, but forgot to name the town I live in).”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Granbury serves as the county seat of Hood County which has a population of only 41,000 people (98 per square mile) as of the 2000 census. The county sits just south of the Fort Worth half of the ever expanding D-FW Metroplex but retains much of its rural character once away from the I-35 W corridor. There has been at least one credible sighting of a large, black, long-tailed cat just north of Grandview outside of Alvarado. I find the description of the animal as “marble-colored” interesting. The witness admits this could have been an illusion created by light conditions but could it not also be a result of spots/rosettes being visible under a black coat as is seen in melanistic jaguars? If the witness is accurate with their description of size this is clearly no house cat. Likewise, if the witness is accurate and he was only 20-feet from the animal there should be no reason to think he mistook a dog for a cat. I will be adding this report to my distribution map.




2/21/17

“I was driving back from Shipley donuts around 6:00 a.m. through Old Settlers Park. I noticed a larger animal drinking from the creek where you first pass the Dell Diamond (a minor league baseball park – TCH note). As my car got closer, he raised his head to look at me. Huge saucer eyes. No visible ears like a bobcat. He turned and ran up a large oak. He had to of been 6-feet long. Also had a long snake like tail. This was no bobcat. When I told the park ranger. He kinda laughed me off like I was nuts. But I know what I saw.”

- Jon Wyatt



TCH Comment: At first glance this area seems to be a highly unlikely area for a big cat sighting of any kind. I will admit my first instinct was to put this one down as a case of mistaken identity and move on. I recalled, however, that I had a sighting reported to me from the same general area not too long prior to receiving Jon’s account. I filed that one away as a misidentification and never even mentioned it on the site. Maybe I was too hasty. Upon close inspection of the area, Brushy Creek runs just south of Old Settlers Park back to the east/northeast until it meets up with the San Gabriel River. There is a dense greenbelt that runs along the creek all the way out of Round Rock. Once out of town, the area east of Round Rock becomes extremely rural and lightly populated very quickly. I feel it is not outside of the realm of possibility that Jon saw exactly what he claims he saw. His description of an animal with a very long body and long tail that leapt into a tree certainly proves, if nothing else, that this was no dog. The reaction of the park ranger rings true to me as well. I am going to place this sighting on my distribution map despite the urban location of the event. The fact that two people in that immediate area reported seeing a ‘panther’ just weeks apart tells me something might have been going on in Old Settlers Park back in February.


2/17/17

“I'm in Centerville and 3 times have we spotted what we believe is a black panther. Mom saw it once dad saw it once they described it has a giant black cat with a long tail that walked real slow along the fence line picking up from legs really high. Today 2/17/17 I saw it for the first time running across the street. Bigger then a 60 pound dog and twice as long with a tail that drags the ground black as night. In only about 40 minutes from you probably.”

- Brandon Brison



TCH Comment: Centerville sits in Leon County in what is generally considered the easternmost portions of central Texas. The area just to the east of Centerville has yielded multiple reports of large black cats. The report is consistent with those I have heard from others in the area. I will be adding the sighitng to my distribution map. Brandon, if you see this, you are correct, I am only an hour west of you. I would love to sit down and talk to you and your folks about your sightings. If you are interested, email me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com.



11/18/16

“I just witnessed a large black cat I could only describe as a black panther near Rio Medina about 30 miles west of San Antonio. I just left the house to walk my dog and the cat was sitting about 25 yards from me and it just sat there and we looked at each other for about a minute before it decided to leave. I have seen bob cat and mountain lions before and this cat was much larger than a bob cat closer to the size of a mountain lion with a tail similar to the mountain lion but it was all black. Needless to say I feel like I just witnessed an animal most never see and chances are I will never see again.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: Rio Medina is an unincorporated community in Medina County, Texas. The community sits adjacent to the Medina River. The county encompasses 1,335 square miles and has a population density, as of the 2000 census, of only 30 people per square mile. To say there is not much going on out this area would be an understatement. It is a rugged and arid area that is sparsely populated and in which a big cat should be able to thrive and remain undetected. The sighting report itself is very believable and mirrors what has been reported by many others. The area just west of San Antonio has yielded numerous sightings of large, black, long-tailed cats over the last several years. I will be adding this sighting to my distribution map. 

Reports of these large, black, long-tailed cats continue to flow in to my inbox on a regular basis. I strongly believe that people are seeing a living animal. Please continue to forward reports of sightings to me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. You never know, yours might be the report that breaks this mystery wide open.

*If you would care to peruse the interactive black panther sighting distribution map, click here. Once you can view the map, click on individual pins to read a brief synopsis of what was reported at the location.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Important Reminder

*ANNOUNCEMENT/REMINDER* - Just a reminder that posting, emailing or tweeting me photos is granting me permission to publish them in any one of multiple formats (Facebook, Twitter, Book, Magazine, etc.). Proper photo credit will be given whenever possible. If you wish to share a photo with me but do not want it published, state that and I will certainly honor your request.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Oklahoma "Black Panther" Photo Examined

Over the holidays, I received an email from a gentleman named Cade ***** (he provided his last name but I am withholding it). Attached to the email was a very intriguing photograph. According to Cade, the photograph was taken by a game camera in Oklahoma. The camera actually belongs to a friend of Cade’s and was deployed on his deer lease. The photograph in question features a, seemingly, large and muscular mystery animal with a long tail. The head of the animal is down and partially obscured by tall grass which makes positive identification difficult. Cade found the photo interesting and felt that it might show a “black panther.” He did a bit of research online and that is what led him to me.


I found the photo very interesting and was, initially, quite excited by it. Clearly the animal is solid black and has a long tail. At first glance, the body of the creature seemed very cat-like and “slinky” with a big chest and tapered abdomen. The neck appears thick and strong and the ear that is partially visible seems to stand up in a manner that is reminiscent of a cat. Could this finally be it, a photograph of the long-tailed black cat so commonly referred to as a black panther here in the South? I asked Cade to go back to his friend in an attempt to get more details on the photo. Where was it taken? How high was the camera set? What was the approximate distance between the camera and the animal? Could I get a copy of the original uncropped/non-zoomed photo? What was the brand/model of the camera? There were other questions but you get the idea.

As I waited for Cade to get back to me, I continued to pour over the photo. While still intrigued, I began to have some doubts as to whether or not the animal in the picture was a cat. I showed the photo to some friends of mine who are experienced hunters and outdoorsmen and know their wildlife. Their responses were a bit mixed and raised even more questions in my mind. I will briefly touch on my concerns below.

First, the “slinky” build that I initially felt looked cat-like is really anything but. I started pulling up and inspecting photos of big cats, particularly cougars and jaguars which are found in the Americas. The tapered body seen in the photograph is actually not the norm at all for these two species. This is key as IF there is a black big cat of some sort roaming North America, it is highly likely to be a melanistic jaguar or cougar (I realize that no black cougars have ever been documented. I include a melanistic, or very dark, cougar as a suspect based simply on the size most often reported by people claiming to have seen black panthers, which closely matches the size of adult cougars, and the fact that this is one of the two big cats native to North America). What I found is that, most of the time, both jaguars and cougars are very thick and do not show much, if any, taper from their chest to their abdomen/pelvis. Below you can see a sampling of photos of both jaguars and cougars where this is evident. It is true that some of these big cats do, on occasion, exhibit this tapering but it seems to be the exception and seen most often in very young, very old or sick animals. I expanded my search to other big cats of the world and found the same thing to be true.



The second, and biggest, concern I have is also anatomical in nature. The animal in the photo is clearly a male. That, in and of itself, is not an issue; but, as I thought back on photos of cats of all shapes and sizes I have seen over the years, I could not recall seeing a penis sheath in any of the photos. I, myself, have captured many photos of bobcats via trail camera, surely some of them were males, but never could I say for sure based solely on the picture. I did some research and the reason for this became clear, the genitalia of a male cat is, for lack of a better term, seated differently than that of a canine. I believe the diagrams below illustrate this perfectly.


The photo of the African lion below clearly shows the anatomical characteristics of these big cats. No reproductive organs are seen directly below the pelvis/abdomen; however, the testicles can clearly be seen under the tail. Compare this photo to that of a male Great Dane. The penis sheath is clearly visible under the abdomen/pelvis of the dog. The animal in the game camera photo clearly exhibits a penis sheath like that of a dog. This anatomical feature is simply not present in cats of any size. That being the case, the animal in this photo cannot be a mountain lion, jaguar, jaguarundi or any other type of cat.


As much as I would like to think the Oklahoma photo is a big cat of some kind, the facts simply do not bear this out. Based on the evidence at hand, the only logical conclusion I can make is that this is a photo of a dog of some kind. It appears to be quite a robust dog, but a dog, none the less. The dog’s build (big chest and narrow abdomen), long curled up tail, pointed ears, dark color and thick neck actually remind me quite a bit of my Dutch Shepherd. Unlike the dog in the Oklahoma photo, my Dutch is a female which makes comparing the location and appearance of reproductive organs impossible. Even so, the build, ears, neck and tail are very similar. My dog weighs in at 60 lbs. and stands about 24” high. I will admit that the animal in the Oklahoma photo appears more robust and bigger than the shepherd in the photo below; however, it must be remembered that there is nothing in the photo to provide scale and this could be an illusion. The bottom line, however, is that the animal in the Oklahoma photo is almost certainly a dog.


I would love to be proven wrong on this, somehow, but the anatomy is just not right as it does not match that of any known cat. Some might argue that black panthers are not a known species; therefore, comparing their anatomy to known cats is not a valid way of reaching a conclusion. My response to that opinion would simply be that whatever black panthers are, they are cats. That being the case, it is not an unreasonable hypothesis to think their anatomy is similar to that of the other cats inhabiting our planet.

While I was disappointed that the animal in this photo turned out to be a dog, I am greatly encouraged that Cade was able to find me and submit the picture for inspection. This is occurring more and more often which tells me that my site is popping up on Google and other search engines when people query “black panthers.” I am very hopeful that the photo we are all waiting for will eventually be captured.

Let us hope it is soon.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Historical "Gorilla" Account From Sherman, Texas

I love accounts of "monsters," "gorillas," and "wild men." I find sighting reports prior to 1967 - the year the Patterson-Gimlin footage was captured - especially interesting as "bigfoot" was not yet embedded in everyone's consciousness. Below is an account from the Sherman Democrat that was originally printed in the July 20, 1960 edition. It is one more piece evidence that proves sightings of wood ape-like creatures predate the famous Patterson-Gimlin footage.

Huge Ape Reported Seen At Blue Creek

By WILLIE JACOBS
Democrat Staff Writer
(July 20, 1960)

BLUE CREEK- Is there a gorilla loose near this small community?

J.O. Conrad, his wife and son, who live here three miles east of Sherman on Highway 82, say they saw "a seven-foot gorilla or some kind of monster" Monday night near their home. His story came to light only Friday.

The animal has been reported seen near Bells by one other person. Some people merely shake their heads and smile at the story while others stand behind Conrad's report.

Gorilla or not the citizens of Blue Creek are keeping their doors locked tight and firearms handy.

Conrad said he had just gone to bed Monday night about 10:30 or 11. "I was smoking a cigarette when the dog started barking," he said. " I looked out the east window and saw him, He looked to be seven feet tall and about three feet wide across the back. He stood upright but hunched over."

At first glimpse Conrad said he thought it might be a man walking through his yard. "Then I saw it was too big to be a man," he explained. "I jumped out of bed and got my flashlight and gun." Mrs. Conrad and their son, James, 13, watched the creature from the bedroom window.

Conrad said he stepped off his front porch toward the animal and fired three times. "I know I hit him at least once. but he didn't even flinch. That's when I went after my shotgun," Conrad said.

Mrs. Conrad called the sheriff's office in Sherman. Deputies warned against shooting the animal, afraid a bullet wound would cause it to attack.

"I fired the shotgun over his head, but he didn't run, just shuffled of to the east down the side of the highway," Conrad continued. "I jumped in my car and followed. I got a real good look at him in my headlights while I was following him.

"He looked black as coal. He was real hairy except for his face," he said. "I was about 20 feet from him when I shot, and I didn't try to get closer. I was scared."

All the way to the Blue Creek bottom, a few hundred yards east of the community, Conrad said the animal swayed and shuffled slowly along on his back legs. "His front legs were just hanging down and swinging around," he said.

After the animal went into the underbrush at the creek, Conrad said he gave up the search, afraid to follow the beast in the brush.

Mrs. Curtis Wilson, who lives about 100 yards east of Conrad across the highway, said she and her husband were awakened shortly before Conrad saw the animal. "We heard something rattling around in the shrubbery beside the house, and our two dogs were going crazy," Mrs. Wilson said. "Then we heard something thump against the house and the dogs hushed, just like they had been turned off."

When her husband went outside, Mrs. Wilson said the dogs were cowering in a corner on the porch and "shaking just like somebody had whipped them."

At the same time, Mrs. Wilson said the Wilson's cows hehind the house had begun an uproar. The Wilson's first thought of a wolf. "Then we heard Mr. Conrad shooting and my husband got his deer rifle. But by the time he got out to the highway, whatever it was had gone into the creek bottom brush," she said.

Mrs. Wilson said most of the people living near the community had kept their dooors locked since. Conrad said his wife was so scared that she did not go to sleep the rest of the night and had to have medical treatment the next day.

W.B. Thompson of 716 S. Burdette, Sherman was working the same night at an all-night station in the Star community between Bells and Denison. He said a man drove into the station for gas and told him he had just seen a large, strange-looking animal along the roadside near Bells. Thompson did not get the man's name.

Conrad said that as he started to follow the beast in his car another car came down the highway approaching the animal from behind. "That fellow must have seen the gorilla because he threw on his brakes and almost stopped at the side of the animal. Then he stepped on it and got out of there. I thought he would stop and help me, but he must of been scared, too."

Grayson Sheriff's Deputy James Spaugh answered Mrs. Conrad's call for help. He said that as far as he is concerned "Conrad definitely saw something and it wasn't a man."

Next morning Conrad took his wife to the doctor. When he returned around noon, he could find no tracks on the hard dry ground. "Some men who work around here had drug a wrecked car over the spot where I saw that thing standing. There weren't any tracks left," he said.

Conrad said he had never seen a gorilla before. "I looked in my dictionary the next morning and found one. I know I saw a gorilla," he said.


At the suggestion of a possible hunt for the beast in the Blue Creek bottom, Conrad said: "With that gorilla down there? Not me, buddy. I'm scared."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

How You Can Help in the Black Panther Project : Cameras Needed

Faithful followers,

I want to thank all of you for following and reading my musings, opinions and findings here on the Texas Cryptid Hunter blog. Despite the fact that my postings have been sporadic (that’s putting it mildly) and do not occur as often as years past, the reach of the blog continues to grow. I am both thrilled and humbled by this and want to thank each of you that stops by from time to time.

I also want to make an appeal to you…

As even casual readers of the blog know, I am deeply interested in the “black panther” phenomenon. I regularly investigate sightings, speak to witnesses and take sighting reports of these anomalous, large, long-tailed cats that are not supposed to exist. I have posted game cameras across the state at different times but, so far, have not been able to capture that conclusive photo that would prove – to me at least – that these cats exist. Over the years, my ability to put out game cameras has become more limited. Floods, age, normal wear and tear and theft have taken a huge toll on my camera arsenal. I am now down to only three working units. I have at least four property owners who claim to have had sightings of large black cats who are open to my posting cameras on their property. I just do not have enough cameras to do this.

Here comes the appeal…

Let me be clear, I AM NOT ASKING FOR MONEY. What I am asking is, if you have a game camera sitting in the top of your closet, out in the storage shed or on a shelf in the garage collecting dust, would you consider donating your camera to me for use in the black panther project? It would be put to good use and allow me to rebuild my camera arsenal much faster than I otherwise could.

Please understand, I cannot guarantee the safe return of your camera. As outlined above, floods, age, normal wear and tear and theft are distinct possibilities. That being the case, it would be best if you would consider the camera a true donation that would become my property upon receipt. I would like to honor any donors by identifying the camera using your name. Any photos it captured would be credited to the appropriate donated camera.

If you have a camera that you are interested in donating, please contact me via email at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com.

Thanks,

Mike

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Black Panther Reports From Texas

Following are the latest reports submitted to me by fellow Texans who claim to have encountered large, black, long-tailed cats matching the classic description of a “black panther.” As I have stated here numerous times, there is not supposed to be any such animal. Despite this fact, Texans, and other people across the American South, continue to report sightings of these enigmatic felines.

Before we go any farther, numerous people have posted comments to previous posts on this topic claiming to have photos of these mystery cats. It is true that photos cannot be attached to comments; however, pictures can be emailed directly to me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. This email address can also be found in the right margin of the blog site. PLEASE, if you have photos or videos, attach them to an email and send them to this address. If you are leaving a comment on another post and would like for me to contact you directly, contact information will have to be included in the comment you leave, as I cannot respond directly to said comments.

Now, on to the reports…


9/22/16

“I hope this goes through.

My sighting was at 10:45 PM on the 22nd of September outside of Boerne at White Oak Trail Road.. It was less than 20 yards in front of my car. My late model Mercedes has Halogen lights, it turned the driveway from night to day where in front of me was, what I believe now to be a Black Jaguar just walking up the driveway toward the house. Total sighting time was 3.5-4 seconds. It was at least 29 inches high, the girth was at least 12-14 inches across the back between the hind end. The cat turned slightly right about 10-15 degrees, never saw the head but estimated its length a good 4.5-5+ feet long not including its very bushy tail end about 3.5+ feet long turned up at the end about 5-7 inches above the ground. I estimated the weight to be 120-150 lbs but thinking back it may be larger.

The lady down the road reported the same sighting and size. She was about 200' from the animal and it was just dusk outside her electric fence. The sighting about three years ago about dusk a couple spotted the same size animal eating a deer kill on the side of the stream they were canoeing in. I called in my sighting to the Texas Parks & Wildlife, Katherin McCoy. She asked me to have the other person contact her, which the lady did. She has golden retrievers. Her male is 24 inches tall and her description to me was that the black cat was much larger and longer.

Since there were no photos the TPWD pretty much was surprised with the sightings and have recorded the eyewitness accounts. It’s been many decades since the last sightings in this general area and I'm sure the TPWD is skeptical.”

- Gary Fi



TCH Comment: This is an interesting report. I did do some digging and there is a TPWD employee named Katherin McCoy in the area of the alleged sighting. I am in the process of trying to contact her now.

The size of the cat described is really big. Jaguars, of course, can reach the size of the cat reported; though, jags this size are usually found more in Central and South America while the Mexican jaguars tend to be smaller in size.

Boerne is the county seat of Kendall County in South-Central Texas. It is an area where mountain lion sightings drift in from time to time. The Guadalupe River flows toward the Gulf of Mexico just to the north of town and could provide food, water and cover enough for, if nothing else, a transient cat. There have been at least four credible black panther reports from the area surrounding Boerne. While I feel it is possible the witness might have overestimated the size of the cat – though, maybe not – he did supply his real name, the name of the TPWD employee to whom the sighting was reported and other details that hoaxers, generally, do not. I will be adding the sighting to my distribution map for the time being. If Ms. McCoy gets back to me and disputes the claims of the witness, I will reconsider.



9/19/16

“This morning at around 5:15am in Round Rock, Tx, my husband was walking our dog and spotted a large sleek black cat weighing around 50 lbs. Later that day a neighbor reported that an owl was found injured outside of his apartment. We live in the La Frontera section of Round Rock.”

- Donna J******



TCH Comment: At first glance, the location of this alleged sighting would seem an unlikely spot to see any type of large wildlife. The greater Austin area, however, is unlike almost anywhere else I have ever been. There remain large green areas and riparian corridors that intermingle with suburbia. Deer and hogs are a continual presence in the area of the sighting location. The Colorado River winds through the area only 10-12 miles to the S-SW, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Preserve is less than 20 miles to the west. This area is heavily populated along the I-35 corridor but gets lonesome pretty quickly to the west. Having said all of that, I think it is very possible this lady’s husband saw an extremely large domestic/feral. I could very well be wrong, of course, but feel this is the most likely scenario for this specific heavily populated area. As for the injured owl, a domestic/feral could very well be the culprit and I cannot automatically assume these two separate events are related. I will not be placing this report on my distribution map for those reasons.


9/4/16

“Just this afternoon (9/4/16) at about 3:30, a large black cat crossed the road in front of me. This occurred on LCR 377 at Lake Mexia where the road crosses over Cedar Creek. It was larger than my 55-pound dog but very thin, black, with a very long tail. If it had not been pure black and so thin, I would have thought it was a cougar so my gut reaction was 'black panther'. I was driving slowly already when I came around the curve right before the bridge. The cat was crossing slowly as well and looked up at me. I could not see its features, however, the shape of its head was unmistakably cat like. I googled black cats of Texas and did look at pictures of jaguarundis. While the body and tail shapes were very similar, the head was not and this cat seemed to be much larger. I had always heard these black cats had roamed this area long ago as well as rumors of sightings in the recent past. Very exciting to now be a part of the gang!”

- Shelley



TCH Comment: Mexia is a small town in Limestone County. It sits right in the area where what is considered Central Texas begins to give way to the region considered to be East Texas. The area is very rural and sparsely populated. As of the 2010 census, only 7,459 people lived in Mexia. As a matter of fact, less than 25,000 people live in all of Limestone County. There is an ample prey base of deer, feral hogs and smaller mammals, plenty of water and cover in the area. Numerous reports of large cats have come from this vicinity. I find the report credible and will be adding the sighting to my distribution map. I feel strongly that Limestone County may one day prove to be the area that yields proof of the existence of large, black, long-tailed cats in Texas. One last interesting side note, Mexia High School’s mascot is “black cats.” Coincidence?



8/25/16

“I live in east Montgomery County, TX. I have 5 acres and it's pretty wooded all around us. Several nights now I have seen a large animal (cat like) but I don't see its face. I found a paw print that scared me. I'm not sure what to do. I have ducks, dogs a cat and horse outside plus I'm a mother of 5 small children.”

- Julianne H*******



TCH Comment: Montgomery County sites in SE Texas and contains a large part of the Sam Houston National Forest. The area has been the source of more than one anomalous big cat report in the past. I know there are big cats in the area as I have personally seen a mountain lion (tawny-colored) near the Stubblefield area. Julianne did not send any photos of the tracks she found so it is impossible to say if they are the tracks of a big cat. I am quite curious to know if the sightings have continued. Julianne, if you see this, please email me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com and let me know if you would be interested in having a couple of game cameras posted on your property. I do not feel you should be too concerned about your children’s safety. Just supervise your kids as you normally would and all should be fine. If the animal was going to be aggressive toward you or your family, chances are, you would know it by now. For the time being, I am going to leave this sighting off my distribution map. This is not because I do not believe Julianne; rather, it is due to the simple fact that her description is pretty short on details. “Cat-like” is pretty vague. I would like to hear more about estimated size, weight, appearance, length of tail, etc. before adding it to the map.


8/1/16

“I would have never thought to report big cat sightings. In the late 1970's we lived on our farm in Shelby County near Tenaha and Flat Fork Creek. We had what was referred to as a black panther. It had a routine of coming through our property about every 6 weeks. We heard it screaming when it was in our area. I am again living on property in Shelby County near Tenaha. Hilliard Creek runs through my property leading to Flat Fork Creek. Two years ago I saw a large black cat with a long tail on Easter morning twice. I have seen a bobcat with babies in my area before. This was definitely larger. I have a neighbor that reports seeing a large black cat (panther) and a tawny mountain lion on his properly on the same day. So any.idea what it is that we call a black panther.”

- Martha B*******-*****



TCH Comment: Martha’s point of view – that large, black, long-tailed cats are nothing overly unusual – is one shared by many people living in East Texas. They are simply considered another animal that lives in the woods and bottoms. While not common, they are not thought of as unusual either. Her comments on hearing a big cat scream is a common refrain as well. It is true that many people misidentify “screams” in the woods. More often than not, it is probably a fox that is heard (they can make a terrible racket). Having said that, I cannot discount Martha’s account as the auditory report is backed up by two visuals. Clearly, Martha knows what a bobcat looks like and seems sure that is not what she saw on that Easter Sunday. Shelby County sits in deep East Texas and has yielded multiple reports of “black panthers” over the years as well as one very intriguing photo of an unusually dark cougar stalking a deer at a feeder. As for the questions, “Any idea what it is we call a black panther?” That is the million dollar question isn’t it? I am doing my best to find out. I will be adding this account to my distribution map.


7/31/16

“I bought ~31 acres almost 2 years ago, 4 miles east of Ben Wheeler TX., 3.5 miles west of Edom on Hwy 279. Early on, I heard the cat's screams at night that sounded like a child or woman crying. I found paw prints (attaching) and started asking neighbors about it. There is a history of locals seeing a large black cat near this property. Nobody has lived on this property in 30-40 years, I am told.

I started walking the property to get it fenced & cross fenced once the screaming stopped. Presuming the cat had left the area. One of the men I was dealing & I went down in a gorge and found the den. He said he thought it was active. He's in the pic & stands over 6' tall. The den opening is about 4'x4'... It has its own pond near the den. It's a very dense wooded area - a gorge - when you climb the hill, it comes out to either a front open area of my land beside the other neighbor’s house or behind his house which opens to a big field. Lots of woods to east of it.

My neighbors across the road said they saw a large black animal moving across the field like a cat moves (forgot to ask about the tail) ... They insisted it moved like a large cat, not at all like a dog & then disappeared into my woods at the same point that I found the den.

About 6 weeks ago, I was thinking of putting in one more cross fence to the NE of that pond... Walked with a fencer through area & found a flutter of what looked like chicken feathers on ground.... So I figured it was back. About 3 weeks ago was brush hogging front area near back of neighbor’s house just over the "ridge" of that gorge... Felt like I was being watched & looked up into trees & saw a large black animal & it immediately leaped like a cat down into the gorge right where the den is.

I'd like the thing caught & taken to a zoo or refuge... Far better than having to shoot it if it starts attacking baby calves or my dogs... I’m not crazy about going back in there to set up a game camera since seeing it as I live alone with my dogs... & can't safely watch for it with a gun & hang a camera up at same time. I'm going to try to set one up near top of ridge but it'd be better to set in the gorge to see what we are dealing with. It's definitely a large black cat.

Any suggestions on any group that could assist?”

- Karen R*****



TCH Comment: This is an intriguing report and one that I am interested in investigating further. Karen is sure that what she saw was a cat of some kind. The fact that the property was uninhabited for 30-40 years adds to the intrigue. It is very possible that wildlife has become very comfortable there due to the lack of any human presence. Ben Wheeler sits in Van Zandt County in East Texas just SE of Canton. The area has yielded big cat sightings before. Karen, if you see this, please email me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com and let me know if you would be open to my visiting the property and posting a couple of cameras. I will be adding this sighting to my distribution map.



7/29/16

“I live in River Oaks, Texas. Zip code 76114. The Trinity River runs directly beside my next door neighbor’s house. There is a small amount of woods between their house and the Trinity River. A couple of weeks ago they had a large black cat the size of a large dog that was posted up on their back porch watching their house cats and their daughter through the back sliding glass door on their house. They said it stayed there for a couple of hours. They are afraid to come out of their house.”

- Anonymous



TCH Comment: This is a very interesting report and the behavior described has been seen before. River Oaks sits in Tarrant County just NW of Fort Worth. Lake Worth, where all sorts of weird things have been reported, sits just to the west. The area gets pretty rural and lonesome pretty fast just west of River Oaks. I am sure many of you have seen photos and videos on the internet of a mountain lion sitting on a deck or porch and looking into a home, usually at a pet, through a glass door. The length of time the cat stayed around seems like a long time but I have never been in that situation before so I cannot say that with any degree of certainty. What I do feel strongly about is that if the cat did hang around on the porch that long, someone would have taken a photograph. Based on the fact that this is a second hand account and that no photo was provided, I will be leaving the report off my distribution map. If the actual family that witnessed the cat on their porch or a photo is produced, I will reconsider the status of the report.

Reports of these large, black, long-tailed cats continue to flow in to my inbox on a weekly basis. I strongly believe that people are seeing a living animal. Please continue to forward reports of sightings to me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. You never know, yours might be the report that breaks this mystery wide open.

*If you would care to peruse the interactive black panther sighting distribution map, click here. Once you can view the map, click on individual pins to read a brief synopsis of what was reported at the location.