School Fears Black Panther Attacks

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 22nd, 2010

Here’s an idea for a future science fair project. Create a poster putting one black dot or dark push pin on a map for each of the black panther sightings in the general area of your school or the school holding the fair. The student scientist might be surprised as to the high level of interest that such a poster presentation would generate.

A situation reflective of this is occurring right now (late May 2010) in a small northern California community that most people might associate more with another cryptid of the hairy hominoid kind than of black panthers. A series of new melanistic large cat sightings have caused a graphic warning to be issued worthy of any science fair poster presentation.

I was contacted by Steven Streufert, the owner and manager of the used bookstore named Bigfoot Books, located in the tiny community of Willow Creek, California.

Streufert wrote me late overnight: “This black panther thing is bigger on the east coast, but my kid’s classmates at Trinity Valley Elementary School in Willow Creek have seen them on the forested edge of her school campus (see attached photo of warning sign).

“The Dept. of Fish and Game rejected the idea as ludicrous, and assumed it must have been a bear. They say one has to attack before they will take action. But adults and the children have seen them on multiple occasions, both black and normal colorings. It is a bit scary to have cougars lurking on the edge of the playground, but black ones is even stranger.”

This warning was posted on a local grocery’s bulletin board by concerned parents, about the situation at the Trinity Valley Elementary School, Willow Creek, California. The sign has since vanished. Streufert Photo.

Then Streufert added the note that a local guy from Salyer, California, had sent this message yesterday: “Here have been documented sightings of black panthers in the vicinity, including a small one that hung around near the old JJ’s barber shop.”

Black panthers, melanistic mountain lions, and black cougars, whatever you want to call them, are not suppose to exist in the United States and Canada, but people keep on seeing them. California, as we all know, is well-known for its long history of cryptozoological Black Panthers.

There just are not suppose to be any “black panthers” – i.e. melanistic large felids – in California. Yes, mountain lions exist there, but black mountain lions are not verified zoologically. Black leopards and black jaguars are known, however, they do not naturally live in California.

But California’s Black Panthers are a cryptid population with a well-established legacy, for example, that inhabits several pages of reports in my book, Mysterious America.

Mysterious America’sChapter 12 discusses the flap of sightings beginning in 1972 of the melanistic pumas seen on Mt. Diablo and the booklet at the time, which already talked about the “Black Mountain Lion of Devil’s Hole,” often seen in Las Trampas Regional Park. A new 2008 wave of sightings took place near there, as well as in the nearby East Bay Hills in 2009.

Why should anyone be surprised that in the inland, rural area of Willow Creek the locals are having their own black panther close encounters now? But there will be those who do have doubts (especially the state wildlife folks, apparently). Perhaps the student observations will only be taken seriously after a young person is hurt?

Yes, that certainly seems worthy of a science fair certificate.

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.

6 Responses to “School Fears Black Panther Attacks”

  1. kgehrman responds:

    A melanistic cougar would be a great find. I am sure they exist.
    Just hard for me to imagine not one but several children seeing a creature that is a master at concealment.
    I wager its a black house cat mixed with the imagination of the short people.
    But of course I could be absolutely wrong. I hope so.

    This is unconfirmed, but I have heard a cougar was dyed black and used in the movie Cat People. Not all the scenes, but just one for some logistical reason. I’ll have to watch it again to look for it.

    There are cougars here in San Diego, but very few people have ever seen one outside of a cage or zoo.
    We know that they are around because they have eaten a few of us. The irritating part is that once a mountain lion eats or attacks a human its hunted down and killed within days by rangers. I think the world needs more top of the chain predators.

    I have often wondered how many Mexican immigrants have fallen victim to them. No this is not a joke about Mexican food. I am sure they taste the same as Gringos.

  2. shumway10973 responds:

    I know for a fact that cougars live up that direction in large numbers. Right now, in CA, we are only allowed to hunt and/or kill a cougar if it is a threat (mainly to farm animals). Then you must have proof. Their numbers are sky-rocketing. Then take into account that they have a territory (lone animals) of multiple acres per cat. Then factor in that the ones in and around people especially are birthing 2 kittens (that are more likely to survive). If anyone could find the official numbers for cougars when they went on the protected list and then doubled it each year…you will get an idea of just how many there are in this state alone. There are so many that some have moved into the larger cities like Los Angeles, and not just the newer, mountainous areas. I’m talking down town. The Dept. of Fish and Game has no money to pay the man-power necessary to capture and relocate every single cougar people “see.”

  3. JungleHusky responds:

    Politics aside, this appears to be the result of a dislocation of wildlife likely caused by logging or semi-natural events. It could also be the result of animals trying to move away from a potential earthquake hotbed, although if that was true, black panthers would not be the only creatures seen moving throughout California. These strange sightings could also be the result of food populations for panthers, such as raccoon populations, decreasing which could mean more foraging for food. Anything is possible.

    Quick search found this list concerning what Panthers eat.

  4. m responds:

    So many people have seen them – – – and not 1 photo???

  5. rpgstarwizard responds:

    While I was living on Coastal Oregon, there were all sorts of tales about various big cats.They were believed to be dropped of by people in California when the cats became too big, or other reasons. Around Langlois , Cape Blanco and environs there was black cat, many smallspotted cats, and even a lion.

  6. Bigfoot_Books_Steven_Streufert responds:

    My local source here in the Willow Creek area had this to say about the BLACK MOUNTAIN LION situation:

    “JJ’s is in the panther road area. the first settlements as one drives into Willow Creek after topping the hill. On the left. I can’t remember who I spoke to at the time, but she stated that she’d seen a small one. big cub sized I took it, on a number of occasions and that it had been reported to the Fish and Game. (those would be the folks to talk to, not the FS). Also a good and trusted friend of mine. Native/Injun told me he was climbing a bluff one day near Tish Tang and came face to face with a full grown black panther and almost fell down the bluff.

    In addition ANOTHER friend of mine… big hunter back in the day said he’d seen one out in the woods, up near Board Camp I think it was… this is going back quite a ways and my memory doesn’t serve me well on it. But that’s three independant sightings. All 3 were convinced of what they saw, and one saw the cub on a number of occasions and reported it as a hazard.

    I assume it’s a cougar, just a black one, and there may be more than one. Panther and Cougar get used together.

    I also remember my kids seeing cougar on the bottom of Enchanted Springs road, where we used to live, and near Panther Road.

    There is a possibility that the “Cub” is actually a fisher, which look a lot like a big cat/otter and are blackish. Those are also prevalent, I saw one last year and thought it was a black panther at first as it ran away from me. I’ve skinned one, so I’m well acquainted with their looks. even so, it ran and moved like a cougar. except the tail was held lower and legs shorter.”

    Adults and kids have seen these creatures at the school. These are people who live in the mountains and woods, who would not be likely to mis-identify animals.

    Steve, Bigfoot Books, Willow Creek

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