Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Concho Casino Flap Sixteen Years Later



This past weekend, I had the pleasure of traveling north to Lexington, Oklahoma in order to promote my book Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America and to give a couple of presentations at Glen McDonald’s Anomalist Books & Brews bookstore. The gathering was small but I had a great time and had the chance to meet some really nice people. If you get the opportunity, I would encourage you to visit Glen’s store; it is a charming, quirky, and all together cool place. There was an added benefit to this trip as well. I stayed with my good friend and NAWAC Chairman, Alton Higgins, at his home in Oklahoma City. I have been pestering Alton for years to take me out to Concho, Oklahoma in order to visit the site of the infamous “casino footage,” allegedly captured on Cheyenne-Arapaho lands in 2002. My visit this past weekend finally provided us with the opportunity to do just that.


            It has been a while since the Concho flap took place so I will do my best to summarize the series of events that have become so well-known among those who are interested in the bigfoot phenomenon. It all started when footage shot by security cameras at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho captured a very large and dark figure approaching and passing by a dumpster-style grease trap at the rear of the building. I will tell you right up front that I have never seen the footage. I do, however, know several who have and they all give pretty much the same description of it. Basically, a very dark, tall, and bulky figure appears in the back parking lot and walks up to the previously mentioned grease trap. A lot of people say the figure paused and rummaged around in the grease trap, but people I talk to deny this. The figure may have slowed its pace a bit as it arrived at the trap but it never stopped. There is a security light on a pole right next to the grease trap. The most popular version of the story is that the figure had to duck in order to walk under the light. Others say only that the head of the creature was very close to the bottom of the light. Either way, this subject was immense in bulk and extremely tall. No details regarding anatomy or facial features were able to be gleaned from the video as the black and white footage was too grainy. Below is a recreation of the footage that was made for a television special a while back. I am not sure how close it comes to the real footage but it gives you some idea of what we are talking about with the incident.



The video footage was just the beginning of the weirdness on these tribal lands in Concho. Around this same time a young man claimed to have come face to face with a wood ape outside of his home which sits approximately a mile from the casino. The story, investigated by Alton Higgins and others, is that the young man was outside in the backyard of his small wooden frame house. There was an infant inside the home that began crying. The young man, who had been left in charge of watching the baby, went inside and retrieved the infant. He then carried the baby, still crying, with him back outside. As he emerged from his backdoor the young man saw a large, hair-covered creature matching the classic description of a sasquatch approaching him. The youth fled back into the house and the creature left the scene. Many have speculated that the ape was attracted by the cries of the baby, something that has been discussed in other incidents throughout history as well. Investigators located a trackway in the soft tilled-up soil of a garden in the area near the home. They also found what appeared to be a massive handprint on the top of an old junk car near the property. Investigators thought so much of the handprint that they cut the top off the old car and took it with them to be analyzed. What happened to this evidence, I cannot say. The trackway and the handprint on the car were found between a heavily wooded area and the house. If one were to connect the dots – wooded area to handprint to trackway to house – the route would have formed an almost straight line.


The strangeness was not over yet. Later in the fall, a work crew was cleaning up following a tribal function in a heavily wooded area. A member of the crew named Russell Lumpmouth snapped two photos of what appears to be an immense and hair-covered figure in the nearby tree line. The photos might be the clearest ever taken of an alleged wood ape. The first photo shows the subject facing the camera with its body at about a three-quarter angle. The face is partially obscured by a leaf in the foreground, but a deep-set right eye and a possible protruding brow ridge are visible. The second photo, taken after the subject has turned away from the camera, shows a low-set head tilted down in a manner I’ve seen in other alleged wood ape photos and videos (this is particularly noticeable in the famous Freeman footage). The chin seems to nearly sit on the chest of the figure. The face appears quite flat but specific features are hard to discern. The figure exhibits a massive barrel-shaped torso and thick buttocks that would be characteristic of a habitually bipedal hominin. According to Mr. Lumpmouth, the figure walked away once it realized it had been seen. NAWAC Chairman, Alton Higgins, wrote an article on the photos that was submitted to The Relic Hominoid Inquiry that broke down the photos and described the on-site investigation. You can read an abridged copy of that article on the NAWAC website.


Alton was kind enough to play bigfoot tour guide for Phil Burrows – also a NAWAC member – and me and showed us all of the spots where these events took place. One extra item of interest was our collection of some hair samples from an old barbed-wire fence near the spot where the handprint was found years ago. For the most part, the hairs were a deep auburn, almost orange. There were a few very long black hairs mixed in as well. The hairs seemed too long to be cow (Alton said he did not believe the tribe kept cattle) and too fine to be hair from the mane or tail of a horse. It could be absolutely nothing, but we figured nothing ventured, nothing gained. I will be submitting the hair for microscopic analysis soon and will announce the results once I know something.




Between my speaking engagement in Lexington, my visit to the site of some historic wood ape activity in Concho, and getting to visit with friends I do not get to see nearly often enough, it was a great trip up to Oklahoma.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sasquatch Classics: The Davy Crockett Incident

Few men are as revered in my home state of Texas as those who held off the mighty Mexican Army – led by the self-proclaimed “Napoleon of the West,” dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna - for 13 long days in the spring of 1836. The blood sacrifice of men like William Barrett Travis, James Bowie, James Bonham, and David Crockett bought precious time for General Sam Houston to train and prepare his ragtag troops for a final confrontation with what might have been the mightiest army in the Western Hemisphere. The tale of the defenders of the Alamo is as interesting as it is tragic, but that is not the story I want to share with you today. Instead, I want to share a little-known tale about arguably the most well-known of the Alamo freedom fighters: David Crockett. It is a story with which most Texans are not familiar, much less anyone outside the Lone Star State. As a matter of fact, it is a tale I had never heard until very recently. It is incredibly strange, but undeniably fascinating. 


By the spring of 1835, lured by empresarios like Stephen F. Austin and Green DeWitt, more than 20,000 American settlers had migrated to Texas in search of cheap land and the promise of prosperity. Around this same time, David Crockett, who had served as both a Tennessee State Representative (1821-1823) and a U.S. Congressman (1827-1835) had declared himself done with politics and was pondering what to do with the next phase of his life. The allure of Texas proved too much for him to resist. On November 1, 1835, Crockett, his brother-in-law Abner Burgin, William Patton, and Lindsey K. Tinkle set out for Texas. It was at a stop along their trip – in Memphis, Tennessee – that Crockett uttered his famous line, “Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”

The group traveled west and eventually made their way into the Mexican province of Texas. Upon arriving in the San Augustine/Nacogdoches area the group was told that each individual would be required to sign an “Oath of Allegiance” to the government of Mexico. Two in the group, including Crockett’s brother-in-law Abner Burgin, refused to sign the oath and decided to return to their homes in the U.S. Crockett and Patton, after some negotiation regarding the wording of the oath (men took their oaths more seriously then, it seems), signed and were allowed to continue their journey. It was at some point soon after this that things got strange for Crockett. In a letter addressed to his brother-in-law, Burgin, Crockett detailed the following experience:

“William and I were pushing through some thicket, clearing the way, when I sat down to mop my brow. I sat for a spell, watching as William made his good and fine progress. I removed my boots and sat with my rations, thinking the afternoon a fine time to lunch. As the birds whistled and chirped, and I ate my small and meager ration, I tapped my axe upon the opposite end of the felled tree I rested upon.

“Whether it was the axe’s disturbance or possibly the heat of the sun which caused an apparition to slowly form in front of my eyes, I know not. As a Christian man, I swear to you, Abe, that what spirit came upon me was the shape and shade of a large ape man, the likes we might expect among the more bellicose and hostile Indian tribes in the Territories. The shade formed into the most deformed and ugly countenance. Covered in wild hair, with small and needling eyes, large broken rows of teeth, and the height of three foundlings, I spit upon the ground the bread I was eating.

“The monster then addressed a warning to me. Abner, it told me to return from Texas, to flee this Fort and to abandon this lost cause. When I began to question this, the creature spread upon the wind like the morning steam swirls off a frog pond. I swear to you, Abner, that whatever meat or sausage disagreed with me that afternoon, I swore off all beef and hog for a day or so afterward.”


Less than six months after the writing of this letter, Crockett was killed at the Alamo along with approximately 190 others who dared stand in Santa Anna’s way as he and his Mexican Army swept north and east in an attempt to snuff out the Texas Revolution. That being the case, no clarification on the information in the Burgin letter was ever given. Most historians feel that the account in the letter was just an attempt by Crockett to entertain his brother-in-law. Some, however, feel differently. Many point to the fact that Crockett “swore” his account was true not once, but twice in the letter. They also point to how Crockett had insisted on changing the wording of the “Oath of Allegiance” as evidence that he took his honor seriously (The wording changed in the oath included the addition of the word Republican before the word government. That way Crockett would not have been obliged to defend a rogue government run by a non-elected dictator. It is this very change in the agreement that allowed Crockett to fight against Santa Anna with a clear conscience). Would Crockett have sworn the tale was true in writing if it did not occur? 

The entire matter of the creature/apparition appearing and verbalizing a warning to Crockett is about as bizarre an incident as I have ever come across. Certainly, the description of the creature given by Crockett matches the classic description of a wood ape or sasquatch. The "ugly countenance, covering of wild hair, and the small and needling eyes" described all sound familiar. So does the estimated height of "three foundlings" (while there is no exact height of a foundling - a small abandoned child - most agree a safe estimate for this description would be somewhere between 7 and 8 feet). That is where the similarities between Crockett's creature and credible modern bigfoot accounts end. The claim of Crockett that the creature spoke to him and actually warned him to leave Texas is utterly unprecedented. I simply do not know what to say about it. Crockett's description of how the apparition slowly formed and later disappeared, "like the morning steam off a frog pond" makes the entire incident seem more likely to have been a lucid dream or hallucination of some kind. Again, it is all very strange.

What did David Crockett see in the woods near Nacogdoches in 1836? The likelihood is that we will never know. Something telling, however, is how few people have heard of this account. So many of Crockett’s feats and experiences have been trumpeted and blown up to mythic proportions through the years that it seems strange that this tale has fallen between the cracks and remains largely untold today. On second thought, maybe it isn’t so strange after all. Americans like their heroes, especially those in the distant past, to be without blemish; perfect images chiseled in marble. These heroes, men like David Crockett, are revered to this very day and held up as icons. The legacy of such a man might be tarnished if such a story leaked out and became well known. Better to dismiss the tale as nothing more than a bit of “yarn-spinning” on the part of good old Davy than to attempt to come to grips with the possibility that something genuinely strange happened in the deep woods of east Texas in 1836…something very strange, indeed.

Sources:

Xerxes, R. John. “1836, Nacogdoches, Texas: Davy Crockett and the Bigfoot's Prophesy.” Bigfoot History, Wordpress, 15 May 2012, bigfoothistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/1836-nacogdoches-texas-davy-crockett-and-the-bigfoots-prophecy/ .

“The Burgin-Crockett Connection.” The Burgin Family, theburginfamily.org/crockett.html.

Stewart, Jeff. “Bigfoot in Texas? Read This.” Fish and Game, May 2017, fishgame.com/2018/05/bigfoot-in-texas-read-this/.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Black Panther Sightings Distribution Map Updated

I have charted the latest round of black panther sightings in Texas and the updated black panther sightings distribution map is now ready for viewing.


I will be the first to admit that sighting reports are strictly anecdotal in nature, unless they are accompanied by physical evidence or photos/video. Anecdotal evidence does not constitute proof that the black panthers of Texas and the American South are real flesh and blood creatures. To dismiss sighting reports outright, however, is folly. Many species have been "discovered" after biologists and explorers took the time to listen to indigenous people and follow up on the stories. The mountain gorilla and okapi are two good examples. I am hopeful that my efforts in documenting the sightings I deem credible will lead someone with greater resources to investigate this phenomenon and find out exactly what people are seeing out there.

Just click here to go to the interactive map. Once at the site, you can click on any pin to get a brief description of what occurred there.

I hope you take the time to peruse the map. Please feel free to email me with any comments, sightings, or potential camera locations at Texascryptidhunter.blogspot.com


Monday, April 16, 2018

The Latest Black Panther Sightings From Texas

Over the last half a year, or so, I have been busy working on getting my book, Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America, finished out and published. I have spent so much time on it that the blog has suffered a bit. Now that I have completed the book and it has been published I am going to do my very best to get caught up on a back log of many things, not the least of which are new sightings of large, black, long-tailed cats in the Lone Star State. Below you will find the latest reports, a couple of which include video or a photograph shot by the witness.

10/6/17

I have a place about 6 miles southeast of Graham, Texas. In the past 20+, I’ve seen cougars and bobcats on the property and always enjoy getting to see their impact on the smaller critters and even found a good-sized buck that had been pulled into a tree by a cougar a few years back.

In 2004, I walked up on a large black cat with a long tail that didn’t taper at the end, it was as thick at the end and rounded. I startled it as much as it surprised me and it quickly went down into a gully that it may have just come up out of when I came along. I was so shocked by its size and color that I actually followed down the large rocks (pretty stupid) until I realized that I was not being very bright.

I told some TPW about the sighting, they looked at me as if I’d seen a pink panther and stated that no such animal comes that far north in Texas. When I told a local, who had originally thought me ‘crazy’ when I told him there was a cougar on the place, which was later verified, he immediately perked up and shared that a woman feeding her houses had seen something similar at dawn a few days earlier a few miles away.

The animal was dark, I’d say black, but did have a pattern of lighter brown ‘honeycomb’ markings on its side and even tail. 
I set up a game camera but never got a photo and I have not seen a dark big cat since. Still get a cougar every few years and had several bobcats that came around but I think someone on surrounding properties killed them. People are afraid cats will kill their pets, goats, or calves and tend to kill them.

Know it’s been too long to really mean anything. Just wanted to let you know that, regardless of what TPW says, there are large black cats out there.”

-       James Shelton

TCH Comments: James, thank you for sharing your story. Based on the description, there are really only two animals James could have seen: a melanistic jaguar or leopard. Jaguars are, of course, native to Texas while leopards are Asiatic and/or African cats. Graham is in north central Texas to the west of Fort Worth in Young County. This is pretty lonesome country and there is plenty of room for a big cat of some kind to roam. There is a more than adequate prey-base in the region and water sources include Flatrock Creek, the Brazos River, Graham Lake, and Possum Kingdom Lake. The area is one from which cougar sightings are becoming more common (a huge male mountain lion was recently road-killed outside of Mineral Wells which is just to the southeast of Young County’s borders).


10/14/17

“Hello! I discovered your blog while trying to validate sighting a black panther. I felt the need to add another sighting to your lists. We have property in Limestone county. Specifically, between Mart and Groesbeck. Last spring, March 2017, my Great Danes rushed out of the yard into our pasture after something towards the wooded creek. I was watching closely as we have had several young calves and yearlings go missing. Those of us in the area are aware we have a predator. 
My dogs are both over 130 lbs. but they went to the creek and into the woods along it. They promptly hightailed it back into the fence and me. I thought at first it must have been a false alarm but then saw a large black cat. Slowly, serenely walking along the edge of the woods. It walked across the gravel road and continued into the creek area. It was without a doubt a cat. Black with a long tail (the tail was nearly as long as the body of the cat). I would estimate the size of the cat to be about 75 lbs. roughly the size of a full-grown Labrador. Not as big as my Danes, but big enough to send my them scurrying away.

That was my eye witness account. When I was speaking of it with one of my neighbors she told me that everybody knows that there are black panthers in the area. (We are fairly new to the area.) Her husband and a laborer got too close to one building a fence near their woods/creek line. She said they were putting in posts and heard a ‘little rumble’ they looked up and in a tree not 15 feet away was a black panther watching them. She said they commenced to backing away, yelling and waving their arms. The panther jumped about 10 feet out of the tree the other way and walked deeper in the woods. She just laughed and said they took a long lunch and came back with guns on their hips. But they didn’t see it again.

She didn’t tell me when that happened. She was so casual about it. I didn’t think there was anything unusual about it until I was looking to see if there are panthers in the Gatesville area. Only to find out the existence of what I saw, and what the locals accept as common knowledge, is denied! LOL

Good luck to you in obtaining evidence!" 

-       Kristi

TCH Comments: Limestone County in central Texas and the counties that surround it have been the source of many black panther reports over the years. The area is rural and farming and ranching dominate economic activity. There are also large tracts of land owned by mining outfits that are off limits to the public. All in all, there is a lot of space for a big cat to roam. In addition, there is a healthy population of the usual Texas prey species (deer, hogs, rabbits, etc.). Kristi’s description of a solid black cat with a tail “nearly as long as the body” is consistent with most of the reports I receive. I can personally attest to the fact that many residents of Limestone County have no doubt that some kind of large, long-tailed cat roams the area.


10/19/17

I encountered what could only be described as a black panther on Wednesday morning 10/18/17 at around 6:15 a.m. in Euless,Texas.

I was taking the dog out, leashed with her in the lead, and as we walked down the front steps she suddenly planted her feet and began to moonwalk backwards. I looked up and screamed because less the 7 ft. from us, was an ink black, powerfully built animal, I screamed and it glided across the driveway as we of course ran back into the house. 

An hour or so later, when the sun was up I went outside to look at the grass where it had crossed and it was bent sideways and smashed down quite deeply indicating the animal had to have had significant body weight. I am wondering due to the circumference of grassy area that has been disrupted if it had been crouching in that spot when my dog became aware of it. Yikes!

So glad I found your blog when I googled trying to find information about what I knew I had seen but thinking was impossible.”

L. Debilzan
Euless Texas


TCH Comments: Euless is in Tarrant County just north of and between Fort Worth and Dallas. At first glance, this seems an unlikely part of the state to see any kind of big cat, but past experience shows me that simply is not the case. Tarrant County has been the source of no less than six (counting this one) black panther reports that I feel are credible. There have also been several reports of tawny-colored mountain lions in the county. Bobcats have become almost commonplace in the area. How are these cats finding their way into such an urban area? There are numerous small creeks that provide greenbelts which the cats could use as transportation routes. There are also golf courses and large parks that provide wooded areas. Perhaps the most intriguing idea is the possibility that some kind of big cat is living on, or near, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The airport occupies a very large piece of land in Tarrant County. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is heavily populated and urban but becomes rural very quickly on the northernmost edges of the Metroplex. There is no reason a stray cat could not find its way into more populated areas for at least a short amount of time. Another possibility is that predatory cats are learning to live in more urban areas. The theory of urban big cats is something I have been intrigued with for a while and is discussed in my book.


10/19/17

When I worked at Alcatel in Plano around 2008 or 2009 I saw the ‘black panther".  I was smoking by the picnic table that is about 10 feet from the greenbelt right there at the edge of the parking lot.  I was standing on the building side of the table facing the building - alone.  As I turned around to put out my cigarette, something moved right at the treeline of the greenbelt and as I looked up I saw what I called a "mountain lion" at the time walking away from me and disappearing into the greenbelt.  So basically the thing was about 8-10 feet away from me while I was having that smoke and when I turned around it took off into the woods in towards Independence.  I saw it go 20-30 feet before it disappeared into the woods.  I got a pretty good look at it.  It was definitely male.  The body was about 5 feet long and it was short of stature but very heavily muscled.  It was black, but not true black because it had spots visible underneath the black.  I'd guess it weighed about 120 lbs give or take.  I remember it very clearly as it isn't every day you encounter something like that.  Upon further review, it was definitely a melanistic jaguar.  I don't know what the hell it was doing there, but it was definitely there.  I never saw it again, but you can be sure I paid more attention when near that green belt after that incident.  See below for exact location circled in red.  The location is a ridiculous place to see that animal, but I most definitely saw it there.  Not a bobcat.  Not a couger.  Definitely a melanistic jaguar.”

-       James Stegmaier


TCH Comments: Alcatel-Lucent sits in the heart of Plano just north-northwest of Dallas. Most of the city sits in Collin County with a portion lying in Denton County. The area is urban and heavily populated; however, like Tarrant County to the west, it is a veritable hotbed of black panther sightings. Cougar and bobcat sightings have become much more common in the area as well. The sighting location sits next to a greenbelt that eventually connects to Prairie Creek to the west. This creek meanders about and connects to several tributaries that eventually lead to Lake Lavon to the northeast and Lake Ray Hubbard to the southeast. Interestingly, the Alcatel-Lucent location is only 5-6 miles to the east of the Arbor Hills Nature which has been at the center of several black panther reports over the last few years. It is an odd location for such a large predator to be seen to be sure; however, the urban big cat theory may come into play here as well. Time will tell, hopefully.


10/31/17

Dear Sir,

 Our 300-acre ranch backs up to the Sabine River east Of Greenville. It is surrounded by large farms with much wild wooded areas. We have seen 2 cougars in the last 5 years , both in the pasture and are sure they were not bobcats. 

 Yesterday, my daughter heard something as she was walking down in the woods between the pecan orchard and the wilder area.. She looked and reported a cougar-like cat - large with a long tail - in a tree. She was near a group of wild hogs (we have hogs, deer, and a big herd of horses). We have had 2 injuries in the past 10 years of 1-2 year olds (horses) with large paw ripping marks down their sides... no other animal but big cat would do this.

 I’d love you to put a game camera up. We were given some smaller ones (2) and you can put them up as well . We can show you the area in a gator. It is pretty remote and wild.

We had wild turkey release a few years ago and saw a hen and a gobbler last year. Had 2 reports of local famers nearby running over a hen with a tractor on the ground on a nest. Too bad. We are a wildlife haven!!!!” 

-       Anonymous


TCH Comments: Greenville sits in Hunt County about 25-30 miles east of Lake Lavon. The property where the sighting took place sits on the Cowleech Fork of the Sabine River. It covers 300 acres, much of it covered in native hardwoods. I took the owner up on her invitation and visited the property a bit over a month ago. I deployed two game cameras and was impressed with how wild and remote the property really was. If there were ever a place where a big cat – oe almost anything else – might be hiding in Texas, this could very well be the spot. After seeing the property and visiting with the family, I am convinced the sighting is credible. I am due to return to the property and check on the cameras in the next 3-4 weeks. I am excited not only by what images my cameras might have captured over the last month or so but by the long-term possibilities of what I might get a glimpse of if I am able to leave the cameras in place for a longer period of time. An update, hopefully with photos, should be upcoming in the next few weeks.


12/30/17


Shot this video (see below) yesterday in Stephens county Texas. Was trying to figure out what it was and came across your site.

This is at least 40 yards with a crappy iPhone video. 

My guess is cat was 2.5 feet long plus a 2-foot tail. At least 35 lbs. My guess is closer to 45-50. The grass in the video is easy knee high.

Been an avid outdoorsman for 50 years. Looked at tens of thousand of trail cam pics. This was pretty shocking.

I apologize for the coarse language. I didn’t even realize I was talking to myself

Appreciate any thoughts?”

-       Kapt Jack (Insert video)





TCH Comments: The video is interesting to be sure. As is the case most of the time, there is little in the video to provide us with a firm idea of scale. The grass does seem pretty tall. IF we speculate the grass is 18-inches high (approximately knee high for most adults) then the cat could be very large. As I’ve looked more closely at the video, it seems the cat is actually making its way across an area where the grass is low or bent down (the taller grass appears to be in front of and behind the cat); perhaps a trail? You can see too much of the cat’s body for it to actually be in the middle of the tall grass. Too, I find the head of the cat interesting. It is very reminiscent of the head of a domestic/feral. I think there is a distinct possibility that is what we are seeing in the video: a domestic/feral cat. That theory does NOT mean I do not believe the witness’s estimation of size and weight (2-feet high and 35-50 lbs.). This is exactly the sort of cat-like animals being reported in Australia on a regular basis – a continent that has no native species of cat. The prevailing theory there is that feral cats are growing to exceptionally large sizes – some the size of small leopards. If it is occurring in Australia there is no reason to think it could not be happening here as well.


1/6/18

“Found your web page Googling for possible panther sightings in Oklahoma. 

I caught this interesting photo (see below) on my game camera early this morning and thought I'd share it. If you'll look to the left side of the image, there is some kind of slender black animal walking toward the camera, seemingly looking off slightly to the right side of the photo (only one eye reflection visible). It looks like the front left leg is obscured by the front right leg. I've shown it to several friends, and we can only guess what it might be. I get pictures of hogs, deer, bobcats, etc., but haven't ever caught something like this. I'm just west of Seminole, Oklahoma. I put out some tuna out there to hopefully lure it back tonight (lol). Any guess at what it might be? 

Thanks.”

-       Jonathan Beckman



TCH Comments: Thanks for taking the time to send the email and the photo. I've lightened the photo up and zoomed in but it gets pretty blurry and pixelated when I do. I'm really not sure what animal we might be looking at here. It could be a cat of some kind but it is just impossible to say for sure. Your idea of baiting out the spot is a good one. I would also set your camera to take multiple shots when triggered (if this is an option). If you can get multiple shots of a target it makes it easier to determine what it is. Please let me know if you get anything else photographed. Good luck.


1/10/18

I live in between Devine and Moore, TX. I saw in Aug 2017 what I say is a black panther. It was 8:30 pm at night and I opened the back door, which faces wooded property no one lives on. I was putting out a trash bag until morning when I would place into the trash can. I looked 50-feet to the edge of our property and my eyes met this large black cat with yellow/green eyes. It was much larger than my Texas Heeler dog, it was 3-feet tall and around 85-100 lbs. It has round ears and it slowly turned around and walked away, while I am yelling for my husband. It had a long black tail about 4-feet long. It did not seem to be afraid with it slowly turning around and leaving. My husband did not believe me until someone else saw a black cat, same description going over to a pond in the neighborhood in the evening a week later. Then a week after that my neighbor across the street saw a big black cat, same description in their yard, early hours in am. We moved into a new rural neighborhood that is crawling with wild animals from coyotes, hogs, bobcats, deer, scorpions, roadrunners and snakes and now black panthers. Everyone needs to be careful and aware.”

-       Sara

TCH Comments: The area in question sits right at the point where Frio County and Medina County meet. The region is what would be considered the southernmost part of the Texas Hill Country. This area has been the source of multiple reports of large, long-tailed, black cats in the past. The witness compared the size of the cat seen to that of her Texas Heeler. As the name implies, the Texas Heeler is a working dog found most commonly in the Lone Star State. It is usually a cross between an Australian Shepherd and an Australian Cattle Dog. They are medium-sized dogs that weight between 25-50 lbs. and stand roughly 18-24 inches tall. The witness describes a cat significantly larger than her dog. This fact, along with the long tail described, effectively eliminates the bobcat as a culprit. The yellow/green eyes are a characteristic that I have heard described on multiple occasions. The area is rural and lightly populated. It holds an abundance of rabbit, deer, hogs, and other potential prey-species. While fairly arid, there are rivers running through the area. A big cat sighting here is not surprising; only the color described is a head scratcher.


1/30/18

I saw your blog just now and would like to add my experience. 
In 1971, late one night my friend and I were riding a motorcycle in rural southeast Dallas County. Crandall, Texas, to be exact. The area we were in was a heavily wooded levy and to the northwest of us there was a large flat plain between Crandall and Seagoville. When we got to the levy we turned onto the lane at the top and we saw what we thought were yellow tail lights on a parked car. My friend who was driving decided to go check out who was parking down there. We got within 15-feet of it before we realized it was not a car, but a black panther. The headlight was beaming straight at it. It was standing still, sideways to us, in the middle of the levy, and seemed to be just watching us come closer. The panther was totally black, with no spots and very big; certainly not a domestic cat. It was about the size of my black lab and he can stand with his paws on my shoulders; I'm 5'7". My friend, whose right leg was in a cast from his knee to the middle of his foot, made me get off the bike so he could turn it around. I stood there, in the dark, scared to death the panther would jump on me before I could get back on. Whatever we saw, it was definitely not a mythical creature.”  

Cathy K.
Dallas, Tx.


TCH Comments: Crandall, Texas actually sits in Kaufman County. Kaufman County gives way to Dallas County west of Crandall (near Seagoville). Based on the description of the area given, it seems more likely that Kaufman County was the actual location of the sighting (both counties have been the source of black panther reports in the past). Regardless, the witness is adamant that what he saw was a cat far too large to be a domestic/feral. If she really did get to within 15-20 feet of the cat, she got a pretty good look and her belief the cat was extremely large should not be discounted.


2/12/18

“I was with a couple of my buddies down in good ole Sutton County. We were calling us up some bobcats but out of the darkness we saw a black figure come into the spot light. Although we only saw it for a couple of seconds, but there is no doubt in our minds it was a black panther.”

-       Anonymous

TCH Comments: Sutton County sits in southwest Texas between the towns of Junction and Ozona and is bisected by Interstate 10. It is big country and sparsely populated. As of the 2010 census only 4,128 people lived in the 1,454 square-mile county. That works out to only about three people per square mile. Mountain lions do inhabit the area and the county is less than 100 miles north of the Mexican border. This proximity to Mexico makes a melanistic jaguar a possibility in this case. I will not be placing this report on my sightings distribution map. I have no reason to doubt the witness but the fact that it was dark and there is little detail as to how far away the cat was, how powerful a spot light was being used, etc. leaves too much room for misidentification. 


2/14/18

Was afraid to tell anybody what I saw close to Coldspring, TX. I’m 81 years old, very active, and don't take any kind of drugs. I reported it to the game warden. He thinks I'm seeing things. I saw it in the middle of the day 5 miles from Coldspring about 11:00 p.m. I saw a large cat about 30 to 50 pounds; looked charcoal in color and had a long bushy tail. It crossed the road in front of me about 300 feet away. I don't drink but fixing too start.”

-       Anonymous


TCH Comments: Coldspring is in east Texas and abuts the Sam Houston National Forest. It is an area from which black panther reports have come in the past. Even so, I will be leaving this report off my sightings distribution map. The witness claims to have seen the cat in “the middle of the day” but later says the time was “11:00 p.m.” This could be a simple typo but the discrepancy as written is too big to ignore.


2/16/18

On February 14, 2018, around 1 pm my sister and I went to the Japanese Garden by the San Antonio Zoo. We walked around the garden and then started walking down a path. Moments later ahead of us on this path a large, muscular, shiny, jet black panther crossed our path. His paws were large and his tail was long.  He was about 2'x 4' in size. He was slowly walking. He was looking in the opposite direction of us so we did not get to see his eyes.  Concerned for our safety, we immediately started walking back toward the restaurant. We went into the Tea House, and we told a woman who was working there what happened. She told us that this is the third time in one year that someone reported seeing something similar. I only wish now that we would have stood still and took a picture so we could identify what it was. It's heavy, strong, muscular body resembled a black jaguar or panther, and it's graceful, slow movement, rules out other less graceful creatures.”

-       Michelle Schlenker


TCH Comments: As odd as this location seems to be, I cannot ignore it. I have now had multiple witnesses claim to have seen large black cats in the park area in the immediate vicinity of the San Antonio Zoo. I do not feel that whatever is being seen is some sort of escapee from the zoo (that assumption seems intellectually lazy, in my opinion). That being said, I do not know what a cat 2 feet-high and 4 feet-long would be doing in this area. Could the zoo be involved in another way? Could some sort of cat be attracted to the scents emanating from the animals exhibited there? The zoo is in a heavily populated and urban area but there are a series of parks and golf courses (San Antonio Country Club, Olmos Park, the Quarry Golf Course) with creeks and greenbelts that extend back to the north all the way to the San Antonio International Airport. Just north and east of the airport another series of parks (McAllister Park, Lorrence Park, and Mud creek Park) create a green belt that, while not quite contiguous, reach almost to the outer loop (1604) of the city. Things get very wild and lonesome pretty quick once north and west of the outer loop. Admittedly, it is a stretch to think that a large predator would come this far into a major metropolitan area, but there is some evidence that suggests leopards in India are doing this very thing. Not only are they surviving in cities, they are thriving there. Could it be happening here, too?


2/19/18

I spooked a jaguar on a pronghorn kill Friday, 2/16/2018, morning a little after daybreak. It ran right back out in front of me so I had a good view of it for 4-6 seconds. I was traveling east and was about 5 miles west of Gail Texas.”

-       Anonymous


TCH Comments: This would really be something if it could be confirmed. Gail sits in Borden County south of Lubbock in some pretty lonesome country. The occasional cougar is seen in this area but a jaguar would be huge news. If possible, I would like this witness to contact me. I have some additional questions I would like to ask.


3/4/18

I SAW a FULL GROWN LION 03/03/2018 (MOUNTAIN LION) SOUTH-EAST OF LAKE RAY ROBERTS ON A POWER LINE CLEARING. HE WAS A REALLY BIG CAT. I WOULD NOT WANT MY CHILDREN OR LIVING STOCK IN THERE! I HAVE SEEN CAT BEFORE.”

-       Anonymous

TCH Comments: Lake Ray Roberts is located north of Dallas/Fort Worth and not too far south of the Red River which forms a large part of the Texas/Oklahoma border. I am not surprised at all to hear of a mountain lion in this area. I will not include this sighting on my distribution map as it was a tawny lion that was spotted but felt it was important to point out that large cats are being seen in the area. This could provide clues as to the identity of the black panthers of Texas.


3/21/18

I live in the Lindale (Red Springs area) of East Texas. We definitely have large cats around here. I have seen a brown one 3 times in the last few years. I would guess it weighs about 45 lbs. and is almost 3' tall. It is brown with spots (not like a leopard but similar). I believe it attacked and killed a Shetland pony on my property. If I had one word to sum up the entire ordeal it would be ‘evil.’ I am not trying to go into gory details. The reason I am posting this is because I want to know if anyone else has had something like this happen. The part that I can’t seem to forget about is the fact that she didn't seem to have any blood loss with the deep wounds on her neck and face. There was no blood on the ground or in the pasture she was in. Anywhere. Please feel free to contact me if you have any idea what could have happened to my little pony. I didn't go into much detail because it is gory and hard to relive.”

-       Holly Long


TCH Comments:. Lindale is in east Texas just to the north of Tyler. As is the case in most of the eastern portion of the state, the area bordering Lindale is wooded, has plenty of water resources, and is a wildlife haven. Reports of big cats of different sizes and color have come from this area in the past. The description of a brown cat with spotted markings standing 3-feet high is telling. On a side note, we all need to try to keep in mind that predators take other animals. It is how they survive. They are not evil. They are just doing what they were made to do. As humans continue to encroach on their habitat, it is an unfortunate certainty that incidents like the one described by Holly will occur. The lack of blood can most likely be explained by settling. Once blood pressure is lost, blood stops flowing. It will settle to the ground side of the carcass and coagulate there inside the body. It is not unusual to see a kill without much blood on the ground.


4/1/18

Saturday Sept 2, 2017, 6:54pm about 4 miles north west of Bertram, Tx, on Ranch Road 1174, a Jaguarundi ran across the road in front of me. It stopped for a couple of seconds before it squeezed under the fence. There was no mistaking that it was a jaguarondi. Too big to be a domestic cat, too small to be a mountain lion, and it was a dark chocolate brown or black, and that long thick tail. When it stopped, I got a good look at its face, and there is no question it was a jaguarundi. On Monday Aug 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm I had a mountain lion cross the road in front of me on Ranch Road 963 about 6 miles north east of Burnet, Texas. Maybe about 70-80 pounds, normal light tan color. In both of these cases, they were crossing the road at the top of a ridge that was wooded on both sides of the road, and I was just cresting the hill in my car, so I must have surprised them as I came over the hill. The mountain lion jumped the fence, and the jaguarundi squeezed under the fence. I reported to the TPWD Wildlife biologists in my area, but they were not interested in my sightings.”

-       Anonymous


TCH Comments: I am not surprised by the mountain lion sighting. Cougars have been reported on a semi-regular basis in the Texas Hill Country over the last few years. The jaguarondi sighting, however, would be big news as the Burnet area is far north of the accepted range of the species. The sighting area is just north of a pretty substantial protected area called the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Formed in 1992, the refuge was intended to preserve the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo and to provide habitat for numerous other Hill Country wildlife species. Only 3,000 of the refuge’s 27,500 acres are open to the public. That being the case, there is plenty of room for a species of predatory cat to roam.


4/2/18

Hi there – I saw your blog and wanted to report a sighting from this past weekend.   My dogs are fenced and were going crazy early (4:30-5:00am) on Friday morning (3/30/2018).  When my husband went out on the back porch to check on them he saw 2 black panthers on the immediate outside of our iron fence.  When they saw him, they ran but they certainly were not afraid of our barking dogs.

They were definitely black, with long tails.  They were as big or a bit bigger than my dogs who are both 85-90 pounds.
We are at the edge of Rockwall county and Collin County on highway 205.

3 or so years ago one ran in front of my car on 205 and crossed into the bottoms between Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard.  I called the Corp of Engineers to tell them what I saw because I knew it was not a bobcat.  They told me they knew of a black panther in that area at the time because they had seen paw prints.

About a year ago a mountain lion jumped out of one of our trees in our yard and killed a rabbit while we were on the back porch watching the whole thing.

I feel so sad for these animals with developments running them out of their territories.  They really haven nowhere to go.

-       Megan May

TCH Comments: The Collin County/Lake Ray Hubbard area continues to be the source of numerous black panther reports. The area of this sighting is northeast of Dallas. While urban sprawl has swallowed up many areas that used to be very rural, this is the region where the “city” ends and the “country” begins. I have a couple of game cameras up not too far to the east of this sighting location (outside of Greenville).



4/9/18

“My husband works as a Police Officer in New Summerfield, Texas. He was headed down 110 and saw 2 big black cats. He said they were bigger than a dog and they ran across the street and disappeared into the woods. This was about a week ago.”

-       Terry Land 


TCH Comments: New Summerfield sits in Cherokee County south of Tyler (not to be confused with Summerfield, Texas in the Panhandle). As mentioned previously, the greater Tyler area has been the origin of many black panther – and other big cat – reports. I am going to hold off on adding this sighting to my distribution map as it is second-hand in nature. I have no reason to doubt Terry but would like to hear from her husband as he is the actual witness before adding the sighting to the map.

I will be updating my black panther sightings distribution map within the next day or two. I have now amassed over 150 total sightings of large, black, panther-like animals that I feel are credible.

In addition, I will be checking on my game cameras outside of Greenville, Texas within the next month. These cameras are in an absolutely amazing area along the banks of the Sabine River. I have high hopes that they will capture something of interest over time.

Please continue to email sighting reports to me at the following address: Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. It is very important that you email if you are hoping to hear back from me. I cannot reply directly to you if you leave a report as a comment on another post.

If you would like to read more about the black panther phenomenon, please pick up a copy of my book, Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America. It is available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites. I would very much appreciate it.