Alabama Man Attacked By Black Panther

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 5th, 2010

The Associated Press, WHNT, WSFA, WKRG, and other media reported on the afternoon of Saturday, December 04, 2010, that Frank Harmes was recovering after being attacked by a panther near his Marshall County home, Alabama. Harmes says he was walking his dog around Greenbriar Cove behind his home near Morgan City when he heard something behind him and turned to see a black panther.

Harmes lives off of Royster Drive near Morgan City. Harmes says he moved to try to scare the panther away, but instead it attacked, ripped his pants, and clawed his leg. He says he stabbed the animal twice with a knife and it ran away. He reports the attack took place on Wednesday.

Residents of the area near near Union Grove have reported seeing the melanistic mystery cats in the past, saying they sometimes come out looking for food. Harmes says he will undergo a series of rabies shots because of the attack.

Marshall County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. Its name is in honor of John Marshall, famous Chief Justice of the United States. As of 2000 the population was 82,231. Its county seat is Guntersville.
Marshall County is a dry county, with the exception of three cities within the county, Albertville, Arab, and Guntersville. Marshall County is home to numerous outdoor recreation areas including Lake Guntersville State Park, Cathedral Caverns State Park, and Buck’s Pocket State Park.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

8 Responses to “Alabama Man Attacked By Black Panther”

  1. David-Australia responds:

    Question from a dumb Aussie: Just what is usually meant exactly by a “black panther” in the North American sense, please? A cougar/puma/mountain lion, or what other? If the former, I read that a melanistic version of the puma was not believed to exist. Thanks.

  2. John A. Lutz responds:

    David-Australia questions “what is meant by the term “Black Panther” in North America”??

    In reality, Black Panthers continue to be a mystery to both veteran field researchers as well as state & federal wildlife officials who have been & are in constant denial of their presence for decades.
    Yet Black Panther sightings continue to generate intense interest with the American Public as well as the 40% of wildlife sceintists who actually believe “large black cats exceeding 50 pounds or more ARE definitely roaming various regions of the U.S”.
    A few BLACK cougars (pumas) have been caught on film in Central & South America.
    1 Black adult Jaguar was caught on a trail camera in northern Mexico in October, 45 miles south of the Rio Grande River & the Texas Border. This was the 1st time a Black Jaguar was filmed so close to any U.S. Border…resulting in this question: Have Black jaguars moved into the U.S.?? and 2) Could black jaguars be mistaken for black cougar & be a “Black Panther”??
    Since I am the Director of the Eastern Puma Research Network in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, here are some statistics people should be made aware of:
    23% of all big cat sightings reported to us in states east of the Mississippi River are of large BLACK CATS with estimated weights exceeding 65 pounds.
    12-15% of witnesses are professionals with college/university backgrounds as teachers, while another 20% are trained observers with wildlife, forestry management or law enforcement backgrounds, meaning they are witnesses who know what animal they are seeing.
    Documented reports from the files of the Eastern Puma Research Network were featured on History Channel’s MonsterQuest Documentary Series in 2007. 1 primary report showed a large BLACK CAT, we referred to as a Black Panther, seen & filmed by a Pennsylvania deputy law enforcement officer in November 1978. The set of 3 pictures were filmed from a distance of 1,000 feet, making it vitually impossible to see a ordinary housecat from such a great distance, as several skeptics & the PGC critics claimed.
    If you have a black housecat, try it for yourself with a camera…see if you can locate your cat at such a great distance..
    If you want seek more facts on large BLACK cats & ordinary cougars/mountain lions inhabiting the eastern U.S., go to our NEW website at

  3. scosmo451 responds:

    Interesting facts, John.

    Here in southern Missouri, I, personally, have only heard them described as “black mountain lions” by locals. We definitely have some mountain lions, though maybe not a breeding population. A relative recently hit one with her truck, but it wasn’t black.

  4. oldpine responds:

    I saw this on the news last night and was surprised that it was covered as a straight report rather than broadly hinting that the victim was

    a) mistaken,
    b) crazy,
    c) lying.

    I suppose that the wounds on his leg and the fact that he will be receiving preventative treatment for rabies is a factor. Most surprising is that the Alabama Wildlife Commission or whatever they are called was not quoted as saying that it had to of been an “escaped” animal,that is the stand of most states east of the Rocky Mountains. Perhaps the official climate is beginning to change, here in Missouri just this past week the Department of Conservation confirmed that a photograph taken on Nov.26 of this year in Platte county did in fact show a mountain lion in a tree. This was only the eleventh “confirmed” sighting out of over 1500 reported to them since the species became extinct in the state back in the 1920’s, although they are saying that all eleven confirmed big cats were from somewhere else and either just passing through or were young animals looking for new territory. They made their position clear in the June, 2006 issue of the Missouri Conservationist magazine, which is available on line (just do a search for the magazine or for mountain lions in Missouri).

  5. jtmkryptos responds:

    just a note to the conversation-

    melanism and albinism are both possible in any given species, bot usually those Extremely rare individuals of animal mutations don’t survive, unless that mutation is usable to the species in some way. you can decide how this effects the whole debate on black panthers.

  6. sonofthedestroyer responds:

    I have seen a black panther myself here in the UK.
    Large black cat sightings vary. Some look like gigantic mutant domestic cats (check that mutant black cat that was shot in Australia). Others look like black pumas. And others like black leopards and jaguars.
    Being a wildlife enthusiast, the one i saw walking along the edge of a field was most likely a black male leopard.
    I reported it to the authorities here but got no reply.
    It is well known to many of us in the UK and Australia that governments are involved in a coverup. What the reasons are, we can only speculate.
    The concept of large black cats in the USA is less fantastic than in the UK and Australia. Afterall it is well established that Pumas and Jaguars live in the USA.

  7. Allan1000 responds:

    Wow…I live in Blount County, AL which borders Marshall County where this attack occurred. In the summer of 2009 we had reports of pet cats and calves disappearing. Soon “big black cats” were spotted, presumably black leopards or jaguars. But maybe true black panthers (pumas, cougars, mtn lions) who knows.

    I was new to the area and was told that this sort of thing happens every so often: someone gets a leopard/jag and turns it loose when it grows up and they can’t control it any longer. (In fact in another neighboring county we had a tiger on the loose for a while that was eventually caught)

    I haven’t heard anything recently about the 2009 big cats but I wonder if this attack could be related.

  8. AthensHunter responds:

    I deer hunt 4 counties over and members of our club have seen big black cats (call them what you want) in the past. They are not black bobcats as the tails are very long and they are much bigger. We are used to judging the size of game in the woods and they are not house cats either. We have seen them 7-8 times over the years.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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