Sunday, December 30, 2018

New/Old Black Panther Sightings

While I have not been very active on the blog over the past year, that has not stopped new black panther sighting reports from coming in to me via email. The sightings below actually reached my inbox this past summer. While I never managed to prepare a post detailing them, I did get them posted on my interactive black panther sightings distribution map. That being the case, anyone who has perused the map since that time may recognize these accounts. I present them here for two reasons. First, I am trying very hard to catch up on the backlog of accounts and clean out the old inbox. Second, the emails provide much more detailed accounts of each sighting than the thumbnails available on the distribution map.

I think you will be impressed with the quality of the accounts below. More and more witnesses are stepping up and providing their names as opposed to submitting their stories anonymously. This makes things so much easier on me and adds to the credibility of the reports. These people saw some type of animal they did not recognize. Science says there is no such thing as a black panther. If that is the case, what are people seeing?

Reported July 8, 2018

I sighted a Black long tailed panther in late summer, 1982, on CR 154 south of CR 156, northeast if Cisco, TX. See the attached picture. The red mark near the tracks is about where it was. I was driving south on 154 and it ran from west to east across the road, barely within my headlight beams. 
Judi Jones

TCH Comment: Cisco sits in Eastland County in north-central Texas and is known more for being the location of Conrad Hilton’s first hotel and the Marshall Ratliff gang’s infamous “Santa Claus robbery” than it is for cryptid cats. Eastland county is comprised of 932 square miles and has no large cities. There is ample room and resources for a big cat to survive in this rural area. This is the second documented sighting of a large, black, long-tailed cat in the immediate area around Cisco. The previous report also involved a motorist who saw a big black cat cross the road in front of him near Lake Cisco in 2014. The witness in this case took the time to mark a map showing the location of her sighting. I have added this report to my black panther sightings distribution map.

Reported July 16, 2018

Hello there!

My name is Aynslie Andrew, I am from Honey Grove, Texas. My apologies for it being so late, but I’m shaken from what I saw tonight! 

As I was on my way back into town around 10:30 PM, headed from Telephone, TX to Honey Grove, I was coming out of Bois D’Arc bottom. With the new municipal lake coming in, a lot of dozing of trees has taken place... (Driving at night, I am always alert and looking for little critters in the road) Ahead of me, I saw a reflection of eyes, and I slowed quickly as I usually do. With my bright lights on, I saw a figure, cat-like, LARGE creature. I slowly drove closer, probably going 15 mph. The animal, scurried into the ditch, as it did that, I got a better look. It was a large black cat-like, I wanna say like a jaguar or panther type animal. VERY long tail— almost as long as the animals body. Anyway, as it entered the ditch, it was as if it had hunkered down, with the reflection of my headlights it seemed as if it was watching me, (keep in mind at this point i was probably going 4-5 mph, barely rolling) I was shocked!! It was something I have NEVER seen before. Once I got home, I began googling for other sightings, and I came across your blog. I’m not sure if you’re as active as you used to be, but I thought I would send my sighting in to you anyway! 

TCH Comment: Another road crossing report. The details of this sighting are very similar to other reports I have received. The behavior of the cat – crossing and then hunching down low to watch the vehicle pass – is one that has been observed several times. The sighting location is just south of the Caddo National Grassland area. The Grassland has two bodies of water – Coffee Mill Lake and Lake Crockett – and is bisected by the Bois d’Arc Creek. The Bois d’Arc, as creeks go, is a major waterway that stretches from just west of Whitewright, west of the sighting location, to the Red River on the Texas-Oklahoma border to the northeast of the sighting location. It is a major thoroughfare for all types of wildlife and some rather odd animal sightings have taken place up and down its length. Other sightings of “black panthers” have been reported from the areas surrounding the spot where this visual took place. I have added this report to my sightings distribution map.

Reported July 22, 2018

I saw one cross a dirt road about 12-14 feet in front of me on the LA/TX line in the Sabine river bottom in DeSoto Parish LA about 6 miles below Logansport. I was riding an ATV and it happened back in 1990. It was a huge black cat with a small pointy head. Its neck seemed bigger around than its head. I thought that was odd. It was about 7-8 feet long tail and all. Several others I know have seen them in the same area. You can find lots of huge cat tracks in muddy parts of clearings around there. People says we're "crazy" or "lying" but I really saw one...very close....and it wasn't a little kitty cat. It was in the evening before sundown so it was daylight and there's no mistaking what I saw. I'm so glad I got to see one. It was a thrill!

-       Thomas Ratcliff

TCH Comment: Normally, I do not chart sightings outside of the borders of Texas, but am making an exception in this case as the visual took place practically on the Louisiana border. This sighting took place just north of the spot where the Sabine River has been impounded to form Toledo Bend Reservoir and the Sabine National Forest. It is prime habitat for a predatory cat as it is loaded with prey species like hogs, deer, and smaller mammals. “Black panthers” have been rumored to roam the area for decades.

Reported July 22, 2018

Hello, my name is Troy Coon. I know your usual sighting reports consist mostly in Texas and surrounding areas, but I thought you might be interested in hearing the reports of “black panther” sightings in close proximity to my home in Appling, Georgia on Lake Clarkes hill/Strom Thurmond. I have lived in the area for 11 years and over the past 6 of them I have heard several accusations from close friends and locals of black panther looking cats being seen off a local road known as Ridge road. Which isn’t but 1 mile from the location in which I saw a large black cat with my own eyes. Early this morning (last night to me) at approximately 3:50 AM on 7/22/2018 I was driving down Keg Creek Dr. and saw a very large black cat dart across the road in front of my truck, so fast it looked almost a blur. I quickly whipped my truck around and shined my bright lights into the tree line and very clearly saw a very dark colored large cat with a tail as long as its body and thick all the way through. I estimate the cat was around 55-70 pounds and roughly 4.5-5” long nose to base of tail. I managed to get a video of the large cat, it’s not very clear but I hope it helps you in identifying the animal. I’m and avid hunter and I’m very familiar with relative size of an animal compared to distance and I can assure you it was no house cat, and the tail obviously rules out a bobcat which are common in the area. I’m excited to hear your input on the matter, for some reason it won’t let me attach the video in this email but I will send it in a separate email with “Georgia panther” as the subject.
Thanks for your time.

TCH Comment: I will not be charting this sighting as it took place in Georgia; however, I wanted to include it so as to show that the “black panther” phenomenon is not limited to Texas. The video included in the report was indistinct so I did not post it here.

Reported August 5, 2018

Hello Sir,

I am a degreed horticulturist, native Houstonian, and spent high school and college years in Angelina County. I also was, and am again, a secondary science teacher.  I currently teach AP and academic science classes at Seven Lakes High School, Katy ISD.  At the time of this incident, I was in my second year managing a private research farm NE of Monaville, in central Waller County.  There are wooded creeks and the Brazos River bottom within a few miles of the site.  I lived at the farm with my wife.

It was early March, 2001, when my dogs, two black labs and two great Pyrenees, awakened me with raucous barking at 4:30 a.m.   I slept lightly until it was light enough to see, about 6:30, when I went out to see what they had.  They were continually barking all that time. We had chickens, geese and ducks at the farm at that time.

Behind the houses was a tank, or pond, for livestock. I approached the direction of the dogs and realized they were at the pond's edge.  I walked up over the bank of the pond and saw the four dogs had cornered an animal against the water's edge.  The dogs were lunging and then backing away, barking all the while.  I was some 75 yards from them.

The creature was at first sight what I took to be a black bear. (As absurd as that idea was, what else could it be?)  But it wasn't.  It was round and flat of face, small pointed ears, a short muzzle, and a bit larger than the size of the male Labrador; he was a good hundred pounds. It was black by all appearances. It was not a bobcat; I've seen many bobcats and this creature was three times a bobcat's size, if not greater.  Its behavior was to have its back toward the dogs, and its head toward the water.  It was on its haunches, but silently swayed its head and neck back and forth.  It would turn its head occasionally to face the dogs, looking over its shoulders.

I was shocked.  I knew I needed a picture, and ran back to get my camera.  I found it, but it was out of film.  By the time I got a roll loaded it was full-on daylight.  I ran back out to where they were, the cat--and I believe without any doubt it was a feline--had run off and the dogs had, too.  I followed tracks across a pasture in the dew from my truck. They all took off to the SE, toward Little Cypress Creek, had crossed the fences, and we're gone. 

Later the dogs returned, unscathed.  A few days later I asked a neighbor about this incident, his reply was "You saw the black panther.  There's one that's been spotted for several years here in the Brazos River bottom."

I know the official explanations for what I saw.  I also know, clearly and undoubtedly, as a research scientist and teacher, that a large black feline was cornered by our dogs that day in Monaville.

Regards, cCc.

TCH Comment: What an amazing account from a highly qualified witness. I know well the frustrations that were 35mm film game cameras. They were extremely limited in their usefulness and caused me many painful moments during the early days of my cryptid research. It is too bad this cat did not show up before the camera had used up all of it film.

Monaville is an unincorporated community in Waller County centered roughly at the intersection of FM 359 and FM 1887. The Brazos River flows just to the west of the community. The area is very rural and lightly populated. Numerous stock ponds – large and small – dot the landscape in the area. Possible prey species such as deer and feral hogs are plentiful. Sightings of large, black, long-tailed cats have been reported up and down the length of the Brazos for years now. This report has been added to my sightings distribution map.

Reported August 16, 2018

Mr. Mayes,

I enjoyed reading your book, Shadow Cats.  You did a great job.

I grew up in Rockdale, in Milam County.  During my high school years, some upstanding people would report having seen such cats, usually in a tone of amazement bordering on awe.  The sightings were often as simple as driving down a dirt road and having a black panther cross the road.  Everybody believed they were there, but it was about a once in a lifetime experience to actually see one.

Later in life I became aware that game wardens and “scientists” would argue that black panthers did not exist.  It was very hard to square those arguments with a lifetime of hearing relatives and friends swear to having seen the cats.

In about 2000, I bought a small piece of land in Bastrop County on the West Yegua.  I moved a junky trailer out there to live in while I made land payments.  Built a small deck on the front.  By and by, I adopted a cat that had been dumped in the area.  One evening, after dark, I went out to sit cross-legged on the deck and pet the cat.  As domestic cats do, it put up with the petting for a little while and then uncurled and got up to sit in the classic upright Egyptian cat statue pose.  It seemed focused on something out in the yard (low weeds) in the security light.  After a few minutes, I began to get curious about what it was looking at, and examined the general area.  To my surprise, one of the shadows in the yard did a 180 and started low crawling away.  Under the security light, I could see it was a black cat with a very long tail.  Probably 3 1/2 to 4 feet long from nose to base of tail, but seemed light, perhaps 40-50 pounds.  It low crawled to the high weeds at the edge of the tank and disappeared. I doubt it was just curious - my little cat might have ended up as the evening meal.

It’s a very odd moment to see something that you have heard about all your life, but had begun to think was as unlikely as Sasquatch.  It’s also very difficult to dispute the evidence of your own eyes.

A few years later, I left my place one morning to run into Bastrop for something.  It was about 10 AM on a gray morning, very overcast.  As I turned a corner on Stockade Ranch Road, I saw a big black cat crossing the road.  I gunned the truck and tried to close on the cat to get a better look.  This cat was bigger than the first one I had seen. It was crossing pavement so I noticed something I would not have otherwise. The paws on the cat were huge, bigger than I would have expected.

The cat was crossing from Stockade Ranch to a low area across the road. I did not realize it then, but found out later it might have been hunting. At that time, the Stockade kept its round bales in a small pen in that pasture so the cows would not tear them up.  I was later told that the big black cats like to get on top of round bales and then pounce on the rat population below.

Sorry this email is so long.  Great book.  

Marshall Enquist
Round Rock, Texas XXXXX

TCH Comment: I found both of Marshall’s accounts interesting; however, I will only be charting the second account on my sightings distribution map. I do not doubt Marshall’s story, but the low light conditions during the first sighting make a misidentification possible. Again, I think it is quite possible, likely even, that Marshall is right and saw a big dark-colored cat. I just am making a true effort to keep a very high standard as to the sightings I catalog on my map. I have no qualms at all as to his second sighting as it took place in broad daylight. I found Marshall’s observation regarding how big the cat’s paws were very interesting. I have heard this from several black panther witnesses. Did these people see a juvenile cat that had yet to “grow into” his paws or is this a trait common to these large black cats? There is actually a small cluster of sightings in the immediate area where this sighting took place. It may very well be an area that bears watching more closely.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, these are older accounts that I received this summer. There are multiple reports that are much more recent that I am going through now. I will have a post prepared on those accounts very soon.

In the meantime, please email any black panther reports – or sightings of any odd or out of place animals – to me at

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Year in Review and Future Plans

2018 is rapidly coming to a close and I thought I would take a moment to review some of the bigger events of the past year and give you all of you an idea of what my plans are in 2019.  

The past year has been a really good one for me in many ways. The biggest event was the publishing of my book on the black panther phenomenon, Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America by Anomalist Books. The publication of the book was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me as I have always wanted to write a book. While I did self-publish a children’s book titled Patty: A Sasquatch Story several years back, this was different. Anomalist Books is a traditional and respected publishing house specializing in non-fiction tomes on cryptozoology, the paranormal, and other esoteric topics. To go through the submission process, have the work accepted, and then published was a lot of fun for me and extremely educational. To add to my excitement, the book was well received and has done very well. Because of the success of Shadow Cats, I have had the opportunity to speak at author’s gatherings, library fund-raisers, book stores, numerous podcasts, and radio programs including the massively popular Coast-to-Coast A.M. with host George Noory. The year ended with Loren Coleman choosing Shadow Cats as one of his top ten cryptozoology books of the year. It has all been pretty heady stuff to this rookie author.

Another highlight of my year was my participation in the NAWAC’s long-term field study in the area of interest we have dubbed “Area X.” This year’s operation was dubbed “Operation Intrepid” and ran from May 19th– September 23rd. I served as the team leader for Team India and was in the bush with two fellow members from July 14th– July 21st. While there were no visuals of our wood ape quarry that week, the three of us managed to record the clearest “whoop” vocalization I have ever heard in person. The vocalization emanated on a hillside no more than forty yards from our location in camp. The call was heard multiple times on two separate nights from approximately the same spot on the hill. The thick brush prevented us from getting a look at the caller – even with high-end night vision equipment -  and the steep incline kept us from being able to effectively investigate during nighttime hours. Even so, the vocalization alone was enough to cement in my mind that the target species is indeed in the area and we are conducting operations in the right place. 

I had another fun experience just last month. I was contacted by Prometheus Productions about helping with an upcoming television program (Prometheus produces the hit series The Curse of Oak Island and many other popular shows). Initially, I was going to be a sort of consultant on an episode that was going to be looking into a cryptid very well known in the Ozark Mountains; however, after learning that I had actually seen one of the odd, hairless canines that the media has dubbed the chupacabras, plans changed. Instead, I will appear as a witness on an episode featuring that cryptid. This was the second time I have had the privilege of being involved in a television shoot of this sort (My first experience was on the A&E Network’s Lowe Files). It is always interesting and fun to see how these shows are shot and the interactions that go on behind the scenes. It was good fun and I will keep everyone posted on when the series and, more specifically, when the chupacabras episode will air.

The year was not without its frustrations. Teaching and coaching full-time left precious little time for the blog and I have accumulated a large back log of black panther sightings that need to be vetted and mapped. Also, I started work on a new book detailing the investigations and experiences of the NAWAC this past summer, but have been unable to make any progress on it due to the time demands of my job. I am not looking for any sympathy here, but the little free time I have had through a very good football season and, at least thus far, a very bad basketball season has been spent trying to catch up on sleep or family responsibilities. It has left little time for me to tap away on a keyboard. This situation is nothing new. Longtime followers of the blog know I have lamented my lack of time to write in the past. I have given the matter a lot of thought and decided that I will be hanging up my whistle at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. While I need to continue teaching (those pesky bills continue to roll in monthly), I do not plan on coaching in the future. This decision was really not that difficult to reach. The coaching part of my life has become extremely stressful as the athletes have become increasingly self-centered and uncoachable. It is a constant battle to get them to act right in class, pass their classes, and practice hard. Dealing with the parents has been even worse. These factors in combination with the fact that I want to write more have led me to the decision to retire from my coaching duties. While I will not get any immediate relief from the time demands of coaching, as I must finish the school year, the light is at the end of the tunnel. No later than the end of May 2019 I should see an exponential jump in my free time. That will allow me to get back to investigating mysteries of the cryptid kind and continue my efforts to write.

So, there you have it. I will be getting back to writing and blogging very soon as long as the good Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise. I thank all of you who have patiently hung in there with me and the blog despite my lack of activity. I hope to reward that patience with new posts and a new book soon. 

My best,