Friday 20 December 2013

A Catford cat

Having just received this information by a female witness named Caroline, we'd like to hear more:

"I've just seen a cat strolling through the Holbeach Car Park in Catford. It had a black tip on a long thin tail, was a dusky brown colour and tall but slender and reminded me of a lynx.

i didn't have long to look at it before it disappeared behind some parked cars, but it wasn't a dog or a fox and it was much bigger than a domestic cat."

Catford, situated in the London borough of Lewisham certainly isn't known for its 'big cat' sightings and due to the vagueness of the report it's hard to really tell if this was a large predatory cat. Of course, sightings in London over the years have been sporadic mainly due to lack of green spaces although we mustn't forget that in 2001 a lynx was captured in Cricklewood after probably escaping from a  private collection although this was never verified. Whatever the case, the animal Caroline saw was not a lynx as she surmised as such cats do not have long tails, but hopefully if you're reading this Caroline you'll get back in touch to tell us more.

Monday 2 December 2013

'Big cat' photographs...

It's fair to say that a majority of so-called 'big cat' photographs are debatable to say the least, and considering the technology of today people still struggle to get anything decent on film and when they claim to do so they really do not like people having opinions on the footage/photo. This image has always intrigued us - it's a cat that was filmed around 2001 around rural Gravesend. It was broad daylight and two men, who were making a local history documentary were rather stunned, but alert enough to film this animal as it went across the road about thirty yards ahead. Many have looked at this image and believe it to be a lynx, or a Jungle Cat, or it could simply be an unusual variety of domestic, even so, what it proves as that these type of images are not good enough. It's interesting that when some people take a photo or film something, they immediately point the 'object' out and then those they've shown will latch onto that image without actually standing back and giving it a different view.

An animal in the distance, in the darkness - especially depending on the camera quality - can appear very strange sometimes. We've seen images that some are claiming are black leopards, but which are domestic cats. We've see others that some think are foxes and yet which are deer, and others that appear to show spotted leopards but are also foxes. The problem is, as already stated, when someone thinks they've got a superb bit of evidence they often fail to see beyond that, and so when their evidence is dismissed they take it to people (usually family/friends) who they know will pander to their 'evidence'. This is not a personal dig to anyone, but nature is a very funny thing and some things - certainly in different light - can appear very different in some aspects/angles/shades - to how they should originally appear. If one takes an alleged photo of a puma and then puts a photo of a real puma next to it ones eye can certainly become trained to thinking there is a comparison. In the photo presented here you can see two very large ears, and an upward curving shortish tail with a black tip. However, when we present an image of say, a Jungle Cat (see image) we can see a similarity - but that's because we are looking for one.
A poor quality camera can and does give the impression of spots, stripes, varying colouration, and people have every right to question an image that is not crystal clear. The actual Jungle Cat image here shows an animal that is 100% cat-like, but the photo taken in Kent is very much one that can be dismissed because there is too much of a blur, which in turn creates different shades. This in turn means that the alleged Kent specimen is not good enough as evidence and yet this is far clearer than more recent images we've seen which claim to show 'big cats.' The eye will automatically pick out certain features which aren't always there, again, we refer to the alleged 'big cat' caught on film in 1998 on Kent marshes (bottom image) where people claimed to see a muscular shoulder and a long tail, and yet both of these were tricks played by the undergrowth on what is more likely an Abyssinian cat.
Again, this image DOES show a cat-like animal and it's far clearer than some of the stuff doing the rounds, but as with any photo we require better evidence, the next time you put all of your faith in a trusty camera please make sure that when it snaps the next object of passing wildlife, that you eliminate everything else before concluding that it's a big cat "100%" because it's extremely likely that what you've filmed will be scrutinised and probably turn out to be something that you clearly can't see.
Top and bottom images copyright Neil Arnold.

Monday 25 November 2013

Updates and thoughts...

There have been around 14 eye-witness reports made of so-called 'big cats' in Kent in the last month up until 25th November, the most recent being near Dartford where a visitor from Suffolk stated, "I was waiting at the roundabout on the B3228 where it joins the A206. It was about 7:30 PM on Tuesday 19th November 2013. There were no other cars around and I was waiting for the red light to change. As I sat there I saw an animal run out of the bushes on the roundabout, cross the road and disappear onto the bushes on the far side of the road. It was about the size a reasonably large dog – Retriever/German Shepherd - but was shaped like a cat and moved like one. It had a very long tail which immediately made me think of a leopard and because of this and the way it moved I was sure it was a cat. It was much too big to be a fox and because of the tail couldn’t have been a deer and moved completely differently. It definitely wasn’t a dog again because of the shape and movement. It was much too big to be a domestic cat."

There have also been two reports recently of a large black cat in rural Maidstone towards Lenham.

Even so, despite so many sightings a lot of evidence being put forward, especially in regards to photographs and video footage, is extremely poor. What usually happens when some people claim to have filmed a 'big cat' is that they state quite categorically that their evidence is open to debate but when you tell them it's inconclusive they dismiss you out of hand and then venture to other so-called 'big cat' groups in the hope that others will find their evidence compelling. Sadly, despite the numbers of trigger cameras in woodlands all over the UK literally every piece of footage or photograph I've seen where the witness claims to have seen a 'big cat' - is inconclusive. ALL evidence should be put under scrutiny but if you don't like your evidence being analysed then please DO go else where.

The sad thing is that I've often been scalded in the press by detractors and yet I'm one of the only people 'out there' in this field who believes that most 'big cat' evidence isn't good enough. Nothing bugs me more than someone who sits in doors whilst letting their expensive set of trigger cameras (which are all set up in the wrong place) do the work. It's as if they simply want to film a 'big cat' to make some money out of it, all the while advertising the alleged areas of activity to would-be hunters. Only recently a chap from Ashford bought three trigger camera's after claiming he'd seen a "lion-like" creature near local woods. As I was quick to mention, if there was any type of 'big cat' around, especially a lion - which is nigh on impossible unless it's recently escaped from a zoo, and then in this case it would be tracked down and recaptured/shot/tranquillised, then it would be leaving evidence.

If you think you've caught a 'big cat' on film, please be aware that if you pass it around from researcher to researcher, not everyone will agree with you unless that image is crystal clear. By being non-biased about a specific piece of evidence does not make a researcher any less of a person, in fact it makes them open minded  and that's how researchers should be. Any big cat enthusiast etc, should be willing to have their evidence looked at, and those that claim to see and film 'big cats on a regular basis should be dong more field work in order to find evidence because clearly your trail camera's are not up to scratch hence the poor images. We really hope that someone does get a crystal clear image of a leopard/puma/lynx et al sniffing around a camera but until then, the distant images of blobs, shadows etc are not good enough.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

British big cats

The British 'big cat' situation has been hotly debated for a few decades now, and this debate will no doubt continue regardless of whatever evidence comes to light. However, it's a 'scene' which brings with it a variety of individuals, most of whom - whatever walk of life they come from - simply having the aim of wanting to know more about these animals and prove they exist. Of course, the British 'big cat' situation also brings with it its fair share of sceptics which is understandable but the saddest thing of all are the amount of cranks involved who crawl out of the woodwork. We've always been of the opinion that there's no such thing as bad publicity but it really is sad when some people feel the need to personally abuse those involved in this research. When one considers that children, as well as adults show an interest in this sort of thing, it's rather worrying when internet trolls, bullies, or whatever you want to call them, feel the need to hide behind pseudonyms and continually slag off those who like to spend their time doing this sort of research. 

The main issue of course is that no evidence is considered good enough for some, and that's fair enough, everyone has an opinion on what can and cannot be but isn't really pathetic when numerous individuals feel the need to actually take time out of their 'busy' schedule to direct personal abuse at those who simply like to go out and look for evidence on this sort of thing. Everyone loves a mystery, but we really do feel for any young generation of folk who've only just started in this field, because there really are some hilarious cowards out there who spend all of their time spouting negative rubbish without realising that their emails etc are quite easy to trace back to source. We've always found it quite flattering that some individuals take time out to spread such negativity, there's certainly no such thing as bad publicity but some people really do have a bee in their bonnet when it comes to 'big cats' and those involved with searching for them.

No-one is claiming to be an expert especially when we are dealing with a situation that has not been officially recognised in the UK, but there's nothing worse than those who a) refuse to look at any evidence presented, b) are so wrapped up in their own ego that they can't find the time to be civil. It's no wonder that the police have been contacted on several occasions about certain internet 'trolls' - all evidence is open to debate and healthy discussion but when things get personal it's a sorry state of affairs. It's no wonder some people are hesitant to not only report their sightings but also take up their own form of research. It seems that a number of scientists and the like are coming on board to analyse certain evidence etc, but there will always be pathetic people out there who can only resort to petty remarks to pump their ego - of course, these are the sort of people with nothing better to do and certainly do not have the decency to say things to people's faces, but thanks to some good old fashioned research and nice people there's no hint that the British 'big cat' situation and its researchers are going to go away, because despite what the cynics say, the evidence is mounting.

At some point a 'big cat' may be caught on film, clear as day, but ideally we need to get the scientists etc more involved, but of course, not every piece of evidence can be analysed, and not every zoologist can give their time to spend day after day holed up in the countryside looking for such cats, but there'll always be sad individuals around who are gutless but thanks to these hilarious people, more and more people are taking to the woods looking for evidence. People want to learn, and that can't be stifled.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest large predatory cats ARE roaming the wilds of the UK, and there will always be people out there to dismiss not just the evidence, but those who conduct their search. That's life, but for those of you who wish to seek such animals, remain positive and remember, there are idiots everywhere...and where would the world be without them?!

Monday 4 November 2013

Platt 'big cat' sighting

On the 30th October 2013 at 9pm a female motorist observed a large cat crossing the Gravesend Road at Platt. The report was received from her partner who wrote:
"After speaking to my girlfriend the next day in more detail about the sighting (after I'd sent the email) she said that it crossed from one side of the road to the other.  It went across the road from left to right, running from one set of trees, onto the road and then through the broken fence into the darkness. 
From the car it was about twenty meters away and the size was un-mistakenly bigger then a domestic cat and was no where near the same shape or had the same movement as a fox or other wild animals. 
My girlfriend couldn't give a direct speed but said it moved fast and the colour was that of a shadow (dark) and she is absolutely convinced that it represented that of a Puma/Leopard. 
If the animal was a domestic cat I'm sure that she would've missed it at this distance, she wouldn't of seen it with as much accuracy and she wouldn't of been as shaken up by the sighting."

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Recent activity

"I live at Lydd on Sea right on the seafront and this has been playing on my mind for a while.  Early one morning (approx 5.30am), I let my dog out for a toilet and heard a really strange noise.  It was like a child roaring (strangest way I can describe it like a quick rah! like a small child would make but quite deep).  My dog barked and ran indoors.  We have the nature reserve running behind our house and right out across the Marsh. A while later I had taken my daughter to Primary school in Brenzett and had returned using the dungeness road, I noticed a police car parked opposite the Dungeness Power Station and a Police officer stood by his car, armed with a rifle. Now perhaps I am over re-acting but i put 2 and 2 together and thought that maybe I was not the only person to have this experience.  I had to take my dog to the vets that morning for a pre-arranged appointment and when I said to them about it, i was told there were reports of a large cat within our area, even a report of a sheep carcas found up a tree.  Also when walking my dog with my children in the summer (along the old railway track towards the 'concrete ears' behind Romney sands), we witnessed large scratches on a tree and broken branches (it was not a large tree, more like a small apple tree or similar).  A friend of ours has mentioned that their neighbour encountered a large cat when walking her dog up the train tracks one evening a couple of years ago."

There has also been received a batch of other reports recently, one being from Tonbridge regarding a large cat-like creature slinking through the undergrowth.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

A pair of leopards

There has been a recent sighting in rural Kent of two large black cats together. The animals, described as black leopards, could well be two cubs, two adults, or an adult with a cub and they were observed by a female motorist as they crossed a country road. This isn't the first time two black leopards have been spotted together in the area, and certainly not the first time there has been a suggestion of breeding populations in Kent with reports of several black leopards together emerging from areas such as Higham, Gravesend, Sevenoaks and Dover over the years.

A strange skeleton turned up recently in Worthing in Sussex leading witnesses to believe a dead 'big cat' had been found although it was more likely that the carcass belonged to a dog, but one that may well have been eaten by a large cat. Some argued that the skeleton belonged to a fox or even a foal.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Folkestone black leopard and more...

As usual there have been a number of reports received this past few days, one being from Folkestone, in broad daylight and concerning a young black leopard, witnessed by a woman who used to work at a zoo. The cat in question, described as "no bigger than a Collie but with an extremely long tail and moving fast and low to the ground like a leopard" was flushed out of undergrowth by her dog as she strolled along the Downs. This had been the second day-time sighting of a black leopard in the same area in two weeks. It's likely the cat had not long left its mother and may well have been foraging for food, such as rabbits, in the undergrowth. As the dog entered the foliage the cat speed away with the dog in hot pursuit.

Whilst speaking of Folkestone we came across an intriguing mention of a 'leopard' on the loose as mentioned in the Sheerness Times Guardian of 31st August 1962. We've often stated that despite some thirty years of research regarding so-called 'big cats' in the south-east that we've never received a report of a leopard of normal pelage - only melanistic. However, the report from the STG gives no mention of a 'black cat' or 'panther' and adds, 'Police at Folkestone searched in vain for a leopard. They received a message that a leopard had been seen lurking in a back garden at Shaftsbury Avenue (Folkestone). Inquiries were made at a touring circus in the area but no leopard was missing.' A search for the animal proved fruitless.

There has been a great deal of controversy created over the years regarding which species of cat actually inhabit the wilds of Britain. Lions, cheetahs, tigers, as well as jaguars are highly unlikely unless as escapees which are often recaptured or shot dead. Reports of normal leopards seem sporadic across Britain, with some researchers claiming that such cats would be more difficult to see which is highly unlikely when compared to the melanistic variety which at night would melt into the darkness. Black leopards may stick out more when crossing a field in broad daylight but in their countries of origin such animals are incredibly secretive, more so than those of normal pelage. We've never seen any hard evidence whatsoever to suggest that there are leopards of normal pelage roaming the south-east of Britain. Reports of so-called spotted leopard cubs can be often explained by reports of Leopard Cats, and whilst the very occasional report does come in of cats having unusual colouration, a lack of consistency means that such reports cannot be taken seriously until more people come forward to report such an animal.

Thursday 26 September 2013

More sightings across the south-east

Over the last few weeks there have been numerous reports from across Kent, Sussex and Surrey, with a recent report of a big, black cat at Surrey made by a witness who was lucky enough to have two sightings of possibly the same creature. For more info on the Surrey 'puma' sightings etc go to the sister site of this one by clicking HERE There have also been reports recently of a black leopard prowling Hildenborough. The witness in question had seen the cat on 21st September 2013 at approximately 10:30 am, this being the witnesses second sighting - her first being in July of 2013 in the same field.

Monday 9 September 2013

Margate black leopard sighting

"Hi I found you blog today and would like to report a sighting I had of a panther in Margate Kent last night 08/09/13.
I had just picked my daughter's up from the local pub (The old charles) at around 22:00 hrs on North down road and had driven up West park avenue ready to turn right up queen Elisabeth avenue. As I started to turn right I had to pull in tight almost doing a 3 point turn in the road as there was a large car transporter parked up just past the turn point on the road. 
My head light's caught a small red fox running out of the hedgerow with the fear of god in it's face, It looked petrified.
A second behind it was a huge jet black cat the size of a medium dog chasing the fox. It caught my head lights and slowed to a stand still letting the fox escape. Then turned and disappeared back in the  pitch black park.
 The panther was something like you get in Africa but was black and not spotted. I've seen spotted panthers in Africa whilst on safari but this was more menacing."
Margate doesn't feature heavily in regards to sightings of exotic cats but at night a large cat can prowl anywhere mostly undetected, especially if following the line of the coast.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Black leopard at Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells sighting of black leopard - 7/9/2013: "I feel rather silly and questioning what I actually DID see earlier, but there is no doubt at all that a saw a large black cat striding across a wheat field next to the A21 heading Northbound out of Tunbridge Wells (maybe 3 miles north of the industrial/shopping estate), and was around 10.30am in good light so it could not be mistaken for anything else.I am pretty sure it was a puma, as was pitch black and walking with its head sunk quite low.It certainly wasn’t an animal I have ever seen before in the wild."

Thursday 29 August 2013

The legend of the 'beast of Blue Bell Hill' continues...

On the 27th August 2013 at approximately 7pm a woman, accompanied by her two young children and their friend, were visiting a part of rural Maidstone. Her son had been running alongside a hedge when he appeared to spook a large black cat which suddenly bounded along the tree-line to the top of a field. The area in question is one we've looked at for many years. The witness in question was extremely unnerved by the sighting, stating: "It was massive, bigger than an Alsatian, jet black, muscular, very long tail - at first we considered walking near to where it was mooching about but it then came towards us so we hurriedly got back into the car."

Friday 23 August 2013

Black leopard/domestic cat comparison

One theory often put forward by sceptics in their argument regarding the possibility of 'big cats' in the wilds of the UK, is that such animals are more likely to be domestic cats. Despite the similarities it must be made clear that there is a HUGE difference between a black leopard and a domestic cat, and yet, whilst worryingly some witnesses clearly do not know what they are seeing, please click on the link HERE for a comparison and you'll see a vast difference. The head, ears, and tail of a domestic cat are far different to a black leopard, let alone the eyes, size, and general gait. If you're still not sure what you've seen then take a look at the website.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Friday 16 August 2013

Strange occurrence at Southfleet

"At 11.50 pm last night (14/8/2013)I was woken by a strange sound , I didn't know what it was , I lay there in the dark and heard the same sound again about a minute later ,( coming from outside , all my bedroom windows were open) I can only describe the sound as a deep purr or growl, I heard my father in the bedroom next to me get up , he had obviously been woken up by the sound also , whist i was frozen in my bed, my father got out of his and looked out of the window and at the end of the roof below him he could clearly see a big black cat with broad shoulders  with a long thick tail coiled around him, the cat sat there for a few moments, then  got up pounced off the roof and swaggered off into the darkness.The sound it made which woke me was very disturbing , I have never heard anything like it in my  life."

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Herne Common sighting covered by Canterbury Times

Puma sighting at Ashford

A puma has been spotted at Ashford - the sighting took place on the 9th August 2013 at 9:40 pm by a female resident who whilst upstairs noticed a large cat sitting under the tree opposite her home. The woman fled downstairs, slowly opened her front door and saw the cat nonchalantly walk off. She described the cat as "caramel coloured" with a paler belly and along tail. In the past few days there have also been sightings - of black leopard - had Sidcup, Maidstone and Sevenoaks.

Friday 9 August 2013

Puma sighted three times

In an area of rural Maidstone, currently under investigation, several witnesses have reported seeing a puma on three occasions over the last few months. The witnesses - all male - were working for a farmer when they observed a large cat through night vision binoculars, and then during daylight as the animal sped across a field as they turned into the area in a vehicle. So intrigued were they by the animal that they decided to leave a selection of dead rabbits and visits out and returned a few hours later to find them gone. This isn't the first time a puma has been seen in the area, and there were rumours that in 1987 four pumas were released not far from the location. These of course would be dead by now, but it leaves us wondering just how many of these animals are around.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Sightings updates...

Despite the lack of activity on this blog there have still been a number of reputed 'big cat' sightings over the last month. One of the more recent comes from the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells, as follows: "I thought you may be interested to know of what I believe to be a big cat sighting. I am a regular cross country runner, and yesterday morning at 06.30, I was running to work when having just passed through a farmyard, I glanced to my left up a short track that leads to some stables, and standing facing me at about 40 metres distance was what very much appeared to be a very large ( 3 feet tall ? ) cat - ginger coloured, with white "beard like" facial colouring. By the time I had stopped running and retraced the few yards to go back to the track to look again, a matter of no more than 3 or 4 seconds, it was gone. I jogged up the track to try to see it again, but it was nowhere to be seen."
After a quick search on Google the witness stated that the animal he'd seen was a lynx.

The area in question is an intriguing one as over the years black leopard, puma and lynx have been seen there. Vegetation is dense this time of the year so any large cat could remain in the area undetected. There have also been sightings recently at Sheppey (under investigation), rural Maidstone, Gravesend, and Sevenoaks, a majority of these reports concerning melanistic leopard. The above mentioned sighting also confirms the elusive nature of such animals. A lot of people sceptical to the possibility of such animals roaming the UK often ask "why haven't I seen one?" as if people have a right to loiter in the woods for a few minutes and then stumble across a shy, elusive puma. Even domestic cats when in the mood can prove to be elusive characters, so for an animal with a vast territory - which mainly hunts at night - to be sighted, takes a lot of patience or in most cases luck. The strangest however are the persistent yet sceptical queries regarding "lack of evidence" despite the fact that paw prints, scat, and sheep-/deer kills are regularly found across the UK, but the sad fact is, a lot of people are unsure as to what to look for.

Friday 19 July 2013

Big cat in Essex

On Wednesday 17th July 2013 a man and his daughter driving in a car on the M25 junction 28 (Brentwood) spotted a massive black cat stalking through a field 150 metres away. The time was 9pm when the cat was witnessed moving slowly through the field. The witnesses in question knew the animal was an extremely large cat as they'd observed one previously in Kent a few years ago. The animal they described was a black leopard (panther) which in the past has been dubbed the 'beast of Brentwood'. However, despite the tacky headlines, such animals have been seen throughout Essex over the last century but things came to a rather embarrassing climax last year when witnesses claimed to have seen a lion on the loose at St Osyth even though such an animal could not survive in the UK wilds. Of course, the 'lion of Essex' became perfect headline fodder for unreliable and sensational major tabloids who had a field day with a fuzzy photograph showing a domestic cat in a field. However, over the years both black leopard and puma have been observed throughout the county. The area in question has been know for its deer population so it will be interesting if such a carcass turns up. One of the witnesses added: "We had a very clear view as it was on a hill. There were no other animals grazing in that field but in the field next to it were lots of deer."

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Sighting update...

Due to lecture commitments and writing the blog has been rather quiet but there have been numerous reports of late, all black leopard, from Staplehurst, Gravesend, Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury and Sevenoaks. We are currently in the process of analysing what looks to be leopard scat which was found recently not far from rural Sittingbourne, hopefully we can update you soon. A majority of the reports we've received over the last two months - and there have been nineteen of them - have concerned motorists travelling at dusk with an animal crossing the road. Motorists, alongside dog-walkers, seem the most likely people to see 'big cats' in the wilds, due to being in more remote areas, with some motorists taking lonely back roads. Sadly, a photograph doing the rounds recently on the internet showing a cat slinking alongside some bins is nothing more than just a normal cat - despite a handful of people claiming the cat is "unusual". The cat is far from unusual, because it IS a domestic cat, but as usual, witnesses do at times get excited by blurry photographs. For more intriguing 'panther' footage we recommend the recent Louisiana 'panther' story (with images) to show how authorities, and the public in general respond with regards to so-called 'big cat sightings. The footage can be viewed HERE and whatever the animal is, it's large and does not resemble the 'bobcat' the authorities claimed has left tracks.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Hilarious tabloid coverage of so-called 'big cats' in Britain...

With the usual "lack of evidence", "figment of the imagination" theories!!! From The Guardian

Friday 17 May 2013

Black leopard sighting at Staplehurst

Email received 17th May 2013: 'Found your blog on the internet this afternoon.  I saw a big black cat in a field alongside the A229 about two miles below Staplehurst, at about 1pm today.  We were in the car, my husband driving, so he didn't see it, and there was nowhere to park at that particular spot to go back and look.  It took me a while to get the words out - I have never seen anything like this before in the fields around here, although I do not dispute that they are around.

There is a lot of woodland around this specific area, and a free-range chicken farm just down the road on the other side.  The field is on the left of the A229 if you are traveling south, Grandshore Lane borders the bottom edge of the field, but I saw the cat at the top end of the field, just on the edge of the crops and about 12 feet out from the hedge/woodland.  It was about the size of a labrador, and was moving slow, quite low to the ground (a lazy loping movement) towards the road.  Smooth coated, with a long thick rope-like tail and square-ish head.  Definitely a cat, not a dog.  I have domestic cats myself, even quite a "big" cat as domestics go, but this was definitely not a domestic cat.

Sorry I cannot provide any proof - or corroboration - but there really was nowhere safe to stop and even so it may well have slunk into the woods and disappeared by the time we doubled back.

Will keep a better look out in future!'

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Black leopard seen on Gravesend marshes

During the week ending 3rd May 2013, a black leopard was seen on marshes at Chalk, near Gravesend. A woman who resides in the village had awoken at midnight to fetch an indigestion tablet when she saw a huge black cat in her garden. The animal slinked off towards the marsh. This had been the woman's second sighting of an animal she described "bigger than a large dog", as she'd seen possibly the same animal six months previous.

Several reports have been received over the last few weeks, most of these involving the usual towns such as Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Ashford.

Friday 5 April 2013

Was it a 'big cat' in London? Or was it an April Fools joke?

Every now and then we receive a handful of 'big cat' reports that seem just a little strange - mainly due to the fact that they are said to have taken place in an extremely built up area. London is, of course, an incredibly crowded city, but there are a few large green spaces dotted about the place, even so, how can we explain the following possible sighting of a 'black leopard',

"I was walking to work in New Cross South London and looked to my left and saw a long black tail hanging down from the roof that covers the bins outside our block of flats. I then looked up and saw the biggest black cat i have ever seen - this was no domestic cat. It was very built with strong large leg muscles/joints that you could see very clearly from the rear view. It was just perched with its tail dangling down.
I completely freaked out and ran so fast as i was the only one in the area at the time and terrified of being spotted by this animal.
I have reported it to the police, who checked the area and can no longer find it. (They had suggested it was a large stuffed animal) - i guess we can now definitely rule that out.
I am disappointed that I wasn't taken more seriously by the local police who asked me almost straight away if I had been drinking when I first reported it.
The point is I was a meter away it was perched just above me and it was morning so I did not see this in the dark or at some distance and it was intimidatingly big.
The thought that it is now roaming around somewhere in the area is very scary and I am very nervous to walk home. "

One only has to look at a map of New Cross to realise how built up this area is, most London-related sightings tend to come from towns such as Bromley, but when one consideres that in the past there has been sporadic reports at Nunhead, Dulwich, Sydenham, it is clear that these areas are part of one particular animals territory. Little else is know from the sighting, maybe the witness got it wrong, as so many seem to do, but a large, predatory and very elusive cat moving at night could simply end of anywhere when one considers the network of tunnels, alleyways, back streets and green areas that run through London's outskirts. However, due to such sightings being so sporadic it is difficult to pin-point any route this animal would take and due to a lack of consistency we have to wonder just what people are seeing.

Some witnesses are adamant that they are seeing large exotic animals, in this instance we can only file the report, look around the area, and hope that more sightings occur.
Sadly, the story made The Sun newspaper, leaving some to believe it was nothing more than an April Fools prank.
For more information on 'big cat' sightings around London you can read Neil Arnold's book MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: KENT. Available on Amazon.

Thursday 21 March 2013

KENT URBAN LEGENDS - A new book by Neil Arnold

What happens if you dance naked around the Devil's Bush in Pluckley, Kent's most haunted village? Do 'big cats' roam the local woods? Does the Devil appear if you manage to count the 'countless stones' at Aylesford? Is Bloody Mary more than just a childhood rumour? Does a phantom hitchhiker haunt the dark lanes of Blue Bell Hill? KENT URBAN LEGENDS is a new book by full-time monster hunter and folklorist Neil Arnold, a strange, quirky and downright weird collection of tales reputedly true yet never proven, passed down through generations and best told around a flickering campfire.

Chinese whispers, playground murmurs, internet rumours, and friend of a friend tales are the most potent in that they can embed themselves into a local community despite the fact such yarns are not true. Stories can spread like wildfire despite lacking any detail, causing a snowball effect that can affect an entire village, town or city. KENT URBAN LEGENDS looks at a number of stories not just related to the county of Kent, but legends which have spread across the world, varying depending on the storyteller. Have you heard the one about the famous footballer who paid the mortgage of a couple who had booked their wedding on the same day as his? Have you heard about the girl whose hair was so dirty that all manner of creepy crawlies took up residence and eventually burrowed into her brain? And what about the woman who chomped down on her Chinese takeaway only to find the remains of some animal? These type of stories are known the world over, and you can guarantee that there's always someone you know who knows someone else this has happened to.

Urban legends come in all shapes and sizes, but for the most part they are tales of horror - confined to mist-enshrouded lanes and eerie woods, but with KENT URBAN LEGENDS you'll also find out what happens if you play a heavy metal record backwards, or if some horror movies are cursed. You'll also find out if the Chelsea Smilers really did slash the mouths of school children in the 1980s, and what really happened to the woman who had a Killer In The Backseat of her car. Whilst tales of the Bunnyman, The Hook, and The Babysitter & The Man Upstairs may seem to have their origins in the USA, Neil proves that there's more to these scare stories than meets the eye, and delves into similar tales from Kent often involving lone female motorists and cavorting couples brave enough to venture into the night. From video nasties, to phantom viruses, from chain letters, to tales of monstrous bogeymen and out of place animals, KENT URBAN LEGENDS is one book you won't want to read before camping, driving, babysitting, or eating a meal! Be warned...the bogeyman is real after all!

KENT URBAN LEGENDS is published by The History Press, with a foreword by Janet Bord (Alien Animals), is an essential book to be read by candlelight!
Available from Amazon and all good bookshops, priced £9.99

Monday 11 March 2013

The Lion of Essex and other UK 'big cat scares'

Neil Arnold's unedited article concerning the Essex 'lion' scare, and other UK 'big cat' hysteria can be read in the 2023 CFZ Yearbook available on Amazon. For more info the on contents of the issue read more HERE

Thursday 7 March 2013

"I wish I'd had a camera..."

Well, it seems that for every sceptic quick to dismiss reports of so-called 'big cats' there is a witness who comes forward to report another. On Wednesday 6th March 2013 there was a sighting of a black leopard at Sandy Lane, Ashford. A male witness observed the cat, which stood just fifty yards away, at 7:00 am as he was working in the area. Again sceptics will argue that "he should have got a photo" but it must be worth ading that when someone is out working, the last thing they expect to see is a 'big cat.' The witness said: "Something caught my eye and I was drawn to the head and ears of an animal that was at least the size of an alsatian dog - the animal had a long tail, appeared jet black and was looking in my direction. It was about fifty yards away, I could see it wasn't a dog or domestic cat, and I turned away for a few seconds and then looked back and it had gone. I went home and looked on the internet and saw a picture of a 'panther' and that was definitely the cat I saw." A few days previous there was a sighting at Folkestone of a similar animal, this time a female witness whilst visiting her daughter, had been having a cigarette in the garden when she spotted a large black cat mooching through wasteland just a few yards away. The animal slinked off into undergrowth. The witness stated, "If it had been a domestic cat it would have been relatively small considering the distance but this thing was huge, and was built like a big cat. I wish I'd had a camera..." If we could have a pound for every time we heard a witness say "I wish I'd had a camera..." but this is a natural reaction. However sceptical you may be to the existence of such animals roaming our wilds, not everyone sleeps, drives, or has a cigarette with their camera at the ready. Most sightings reported last only a few seconds, and in most cases involve animals in the distance. Unless a leopard walks up to someone we're pretty much of the opinion that a majority of photo's and pieces of film footage will be heavily criticised, which is understandable. And so, we have to rely on other evidence - and yet even faeces, paw prints, and sheep/deer kills are arrogantly dismissed, leaving us asking the question, just what evidence will be good enough? A dead cat? Well, lynx, jungle cat and leopard cat have been shot or run over, still not sufficient evidence? Hopefully the number of trigger camera's set up in woodlands across the UK will get a convincing photo, but even then we're sure that the sceptics will argue that the animal on film is an escapee from a zoo.

Thursday 21 February 2013

'Beast' of Blue Bell Hill seen at Detling?

A large black cat was seen on 19th Feb' 2013 by a motorist sitting in traffic on Detling Hill. The animal sped alongside the edge of a wood and out of sight. Sceptics could argue that it was simply a domestic cat, but considering the animal was in the distance it was reported as being of some considerable size, its description matching another black leopard report from Alkham Valley made by a doctor recently. On this occasion the animal, which was some 80 yards away, was described as being 'colossal' in size compared to a domestic cat and sped away with grace.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Puma sighting

A puma has been sighted during the morning of 18th February 2013, near Crundale. A woman walking her dogs observed the cat which sped across a field. This has been the 13th sighting this month received by KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH, but only the second pertaining to puma.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Was there a leopard in the tree?

This report comes from 2nd February 2013 by an Ashford lady: "I was out walking my 3 dogs with my 16 year old son at 6pm this evening. We were walking on a footpath alongside the river Stour, between Ashford rugby club and the M20. There were mature trees to our left, between us and the river. We heard movement in the trees accompanied by loud cracking and breaking of branches. I was convinced that there was someone in the trees. because of the loud noises. The noises could not have been made by a fox or rabbit. My son then froze on the spot and then told me to start running. When we stopped he inquired if I had seen the eyes. I hadn't. He described them as big and yellow and a good height off the ground. My son's impression was that he thought he had seen a very large black cat. I immediately dismissed i,t as I felt that if it had been such a creature, that it would have attacked the dogs. My son was completely convinced and very frightened by the whole incident. We feel we should report what my son saw and I certainly have no explanations for the sounds that we heard." There has also been a report of a smaller cat, with a banded tail, from the Bethersden area of Ashford. A Mr Smith emailed to say: "I have just stumbled upon your website having had a strange encounter a couple of weeks ago that has intrigued me. I was driving down Pluckley Road in Bethersden and had just turned left out of Mill Lane at about 8pm when about 40' in front of me, crossing the road from left to right was what I first assumed to be a large dog fox. I almost instantly changed my mind as the animal was very obviously a large cat with a banded tail? It was night time plus the whole encounter lasted a mater of seconds so I couldn't describe colouring with any certainty other than it appeared to be similar to a domestic tabby cat. I know most people would say that it was probably a trick of light and that I mis-judged the cats size, but I am a land Surveyour by trade and are used to gauging sizes and distances on a daily basis. Also by the time the animal reached the other side of the road and disappeared into the hedgerow I was very close. Could you let me know if there have been any similar sightings locally? I know that several people in the area have witnessed large cats before, but I think these have been described as black? Also, do you have any ideas as to what type of cat I could have witnessed?"

Monday 14 January 2013

Paw print

This interesting paw-print photo was taken near High Halstow in Kent recently. Sadly the witness only photographed one print (there were several of these). None show claw indentations and all show a lack of symmetry with the two central toes. Opinion seems divided on these prints. Of the 19 people who were originally sent the photo, 14 thought it was made by a large cat, the rest stated the possibility of a very large dog.

There has been a sighting recently of a large black cat at Thannington.
"Back in July 2012 my husband saw a large black animal (larger than a fox) crossing the road outside of Chartham just past where Cockering Road joins Milton Manor Road on the way to Thannington, Canterbury. Tonight he saw the same size and type of black animal (about a labrador size) at almost the exact place at around 5.15 pm travelling downhill in the direction of the river Stour (last time it was travelling uphill away from there at around 9pm in the evening). He was sure it wasn't a fox or domestic cat or dog, by it's size, the way it moved like "big" cat (it wasn't in a hury this time, last time it raced at speed across the road, too fast for our native and domestic animals), and he was certain it was black. My son (of 17) was also in the car tonight and verifies the description, as last Saturday we saw a black panther at Wingham Wildlife Park and he said it was similar to this. They also commented on the way its eyes shone yellow in the car headlamps."

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Possible puma sighting at Hamstreet.

Report received 8th January 2013: "On Saturday 6 Jan at 18:00ish - We were travelling along Birchett Lane toward Hamstreet, about 600 yards short of the main road a large cat crossed the road in front of the car, it was light in colour, larger than a Fox, long fat tail curved up and very distinctive head and ears, it's paws were large and flat (if that makes sense?)."