Sunday 18 March 2007

Our own sightings.

On February 16th 2000 at 6:55 pm a man and his son driving near Hempstead, Gillingham, observed a large cat standing the hedgerow as they approached along a dark lane. The animal appeared in the full headlight beam as a dark brown form with sleek fur and greenish eyes. The cat turned and disappeared into the undergrowth.

At 9:15 pm KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH heard about the incident and travelled to the scene, an area of open fields full of sheep and lambs. By 10:00 pm the location was under surveillance and a farmer's field, on a bank was being monitored. At 10:45 a set of yellowish eyes appeared on the rise, some 100 yards away. The animal, which was not clearly visible in the darkness, but only in the headlights of the monitoring vehicle, came through a field of sheep. The head of the animal slightly swayed as if the animal was sniffing the ground, and then the eyes went from sight.

When the eyes failed to re-appear the car was turned into a lane and driven slowly towards the area where the original sighting had taken place. On the right side, where the cat had been sighted by the motorist, there were trees and back gardens, and on the left a rising field. Suddenly, in the left field, two yellow eyes reflected in the car headlights, they appeared like two torches and belonged to a black animal sitting on its haunches and observing a field of sheep which by now were huddled together in the corner of the field. Even in the darkness the animal and its blackness was visble against the gloom of the field. Occasionally the creature arrogantly glanced at the approaching vehicle that, within a few yards, stopped adjacent to the animal some thirty yards away. The only thing that separated the animal from the vehicle was a wire fence, only around four-feet in height to keep the sheep in. Neil Arnold peered from the open window of the car at the black mass on the field. He opened the car door quietly and walked towards the animal. Suddenly, it sped off up the field and ran across the horizon into the darkness, and didn't appear again...

....until the Monday night of March 20th, a cold and frosty evening bathed in enveloping mist. KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH had been given permission of the farmer to stake out and monitor the area after there had been a handful more sightings of a big, black cat.

At 9:45 pm KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH were positioned in the open field, among the sheep and horses, scanning the area with powerful army binoculars.

The night appeared to be non-eventful as the mist descended on the field. Suddenly, one of the witnesses pointed out a dark form over our shoulder moving silently across the field some two-hundred yards away. It was not the same path it had taken in February, this time the animal ghosted across the open field. As it descended a slope it was observed through binoculars. the animal was around five-feet in length, jet black and certainly en route. The cat faded into the mist and out of sight.

This particular black leopard was certainly one of the animals whose territory included Blue Bell Hill.

On Saturday April 14th 2001 Ron Arnold, father of Neil, was driving through an area of Medway at around 7: 50 pm when he decided to take a country detour home. Whilst travelling near the local rubbish tip on Shawstead Road, he observed an animal, slightly larger than a fox, but without an obvious tail, run from the hedgerow near the road, and up the slope of the field to the treeline of the pocket of woods. The animal sat at the top of th slope and looked back towards the witness who'd slowed the car by this point. He described it as fawn coloured and cat-like in its mannerisms.

On Friday 26th October 2001 at approximately 8:15 am, Neil Arnold was travelling towards Gillingham with a friend. Upon reaching Capstone Country Park, an area of fields and woods, something in the field on the right caught their eye. A fawn-coloured cat, no tail evident, was sitting on its haunches in the middle of the field staring across at the road as if observing the vehicles passing by. The witnesses were unable to stop the car in busy traffic. Although the sighting was brief, Neil believed he'd seen something like a lynx or caracal.

On Thursday 11th July 2002 a witness named Ian was stalked, whilst walking his dog in fields not far from Gravesend, by a black leopard. KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH investigated the sighting and Ian became a valuable contact for the investigations locally. However, his sighting was only the beginning of a spate of incidents that remain, to this day one of KBCR's most incredible encounters.

Ian, began to keep watch over the local fields, and, at 8:45 pm on the evening of August 6th 2002, took a photo of what appeared to be a lynx in a hedgerow not far from the area where he was watched by a black leopard. The incident was unexpected to say the least, although proof that several species of Kent do roam areas close to one another.

Ian was watching a hedgerow with his camera when he caught a movement 150 yards away. Unfortunately, although his snap is reasonably clear, the animal got up and fled, leaving a photo of a headless animal. The cat in the picture appears to be lightish in colour with mottled markings.

Days after the encounter KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH held watch over the area of fields and hedgerows. Despite being near to a very busy road the location was idyllic and quiet, with only the occasional dog-walker frequenting the area. Several oils were sprayed in the area in the hope of luring an animal.

On August 6th 2002 Ian filmed the creature he'd photographed. He had the privilege of sitting, for around three minutes and observing the grey cat, which, sat motionless in the undergrowth. It was a clear and sunny evening, around 8:45 pm once again, when Ian heard several birds flutter, as if disturbed from a tree line. Scanning the line he spotted the animal as it peered from the thicket. Ian decided to move closer, but the animal turned, and then disappeared into a corn field.

On Sunday 11th August KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH monitored the area once again, this time with Ian, and observed possibly the same animal. After scanning hedgerows for more than an hour, a small, grey felid sprang from a row of trees and scampered across an open field, towards the area where Ian had filmed it.

Wednesday 8th January 2003.

8:00 pm.

Ian and a friend were walking in heavy snow in the area of the sightings.

The following night they were walking through the fields when they saw a big, black cat standing in the middle of a field. The animal began to move slowly towards them, but Ian and his friend walked away briskly across a field of untouched snow.

Later that evening KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH were in the area after Ian reported his sighting. Ian's tracks were found crossing the field, but alarmingly for him, there was also a set of cat prints. The tracks were followed in the snow, the prints suggested an animal some four to five-feet in length with a long tail which at times had brushed the snow and appeared as a tubular effect behind the rear prints. The animal had walked, and also bounded across the field, at one point walking in a circle as if sniffing the ground, but the tracks were unfortunately lost on a road.

On Sunday 30th May 2003 KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH observed what appeared to be a puma within the same vicinity, adding more mystery to the area. On a night time vigil a dark shadow was observed up ahead on a track some 150 yards away. At first it was assumed that a fox was present and the form darted into a hedgerow and headed towards the tree line where the lynx was filmed. This seemed a little unusual and so with torches at the ready the animal was followed across the field. In the beam of the torch the cat padded hastily down field. It appeared to be bigger than a fox, was fawn-tan coloured with a long tail. The animal slipped into the darkness, only its eyes remaining visible in the beam.

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