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Illinois’ Phantom Panther Invasion: Location Updates

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 21st, 2012

Of course, the reality is that they aren’t too “phantom” anymore.

Author Brad Steiger passes along the news that “two more cougars were confirmed in Illinois. That makes four in different areas in the last month.”

Here’s a montage of the trailcam images:

“All four of Illinois’ confirmed cougar sightings this fall: Clockwise from top left: Jo Daviess County, Morgan County, Pike County and Calhoun County. Photos courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Brett Charlton and Mark Cobb.” Source.

Cobb’s photograph is one that has received a good deal of press. The date stamp is 10/28/2012, and the photo was taken in the woods of west central Illinois, 30 miles west of Springfield near Jacksonville.


This cougar was captured by a trail camera in northern Calhoun County. Ironically, the photo was taken on a road named Wildcat Hollow, not far from Panther Creek. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


Eureka High School teacher and coach Brett Charlton captured this picture of a cougar on a trail camera he uses to monitor wildlife on hunting property he owns in Pike County. Photo courtesy of Brett Charlton.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.


10 Responses to “Illinois’ Phantom Panther Invasion: Location Updates”

  1. finfin responds:

    Several years ago… maybe 10 years. a friend came over to visit us here in Southern Illinois. She sat in her truck and honked the horn we came out to see what was wrong and she got out and went inside. She said a big cat had jumped over the hood of her truck and she was afraid to get out.

    About 7 years ago someone I know wrote an article about a big, tawny, panther outside their farm house. She said that it jumped up in the pickup bed and sniffed around. She lived around Keensburg, Illinois. I sent a message to her and asked about her story, but I have not received a reply.

    My daughter asked me where they came from and I told her my theory is that they have always been here.

  2. jayman responds:

    I grew up in Quincy, in west central Illinois, and I remember – it was around the late 1950s or early ’60s – there was a rash of cougar sightings near the small town of Liberty, a few miles east of Quincy. The reports were on TV and in the Quincy paper, but whenever anything to do with wildlife came up, they would trot out a local guy they called a “naturalist” – I have no idea what training he had – to give his opinion. He of course pontificated that cougars had been extinct in Illinois for more than a century, implying that people were seeing things, and that was that. BTW Liberty is in Adams county which I think borders Pike county. So they may have been there all along.

  3. Goodfoot responds:

    The ones who won’t show up at a given location are the ones with no legs. These things either have made an amazing comeback, or we’re wrong about what really is amazing.

  4. uscitizenveteran responds:

    Yep, that’s a cougar all right. Seen a few of them while hunting when I lived in Montana back in middle 60’s. Actually saw one tracking behind a hunting partner from a distance. Luckily he made it back to the truck before the cat made it to him. It freaked him out when I told him about it.

  5. Goodfoot responds:

    Yeah… it SHOULD have freaked him out! Those those things will stalk you, and when you’re finally aware of it, it’s WAY too late. Silent as feathers, them mountain lions. I remember several years back, wildlife control “cornered” a young one up a tree near the NM State Penitentiary in Santa Fe. It was a cub, more or less. The supervisor was out of state at a meeting/convention and he couldn’t be reached. If they had, he pretty clearly would have told them to tranquilize it and relocate. Instead, these underlings shot the cub dead as a doornail. Couldn’t have weighed more than 70 pounds; there was no population to speak of nearby (since they wisely locate prisons away from human habitation). What a shame.

  6. DWA responds:

    The things state officialdom says “no way” to are the things to bet on.

  7. Goodfoot responds:

    DWA: I couldn’t agree more. As for the motives to habitual lying… well, that’s a bit more obscure. I was hearing stories of cougar sightings in Roanoke County, VA, thirty or more years ago. The mantra from the wildlife “experts” was the same as always: there AIN’T none. Must be the moonshine talkin’.

    The REAL experts are the folks who are out in the wild areas regularly: hunters, woodchucks, even fishermen. They regularly have the “boots on the ground”, as opposed to office-bound, party-line spewers. But I always wonder where, exactly, those marching orders come from. I suppose the most frequent reason is DEECEE.

  8. kentuckycowboy2 responds:

    Here in eastern KY my wife & I have saw one twice in the same location back in the Summer . Both times it or I assume it was the same animal ran across the small country road we travel on . I’ve not seen it anymore since but have been keeping a camera in the Jeep in case .

    A neighbor who’s passed now told us years ago that he had seen cougars while hunting in the hills here as well .

  9. Goodfoot responds:

    Probably haven’t seen it BECAUSE you have the camera! Just joking, but a camera DOES seem to be a jinx, doesn’t it?

  10. mintfang responds:

    @Goodfoot: Yeah! I’ve been seeing some flying saucers by my house, but when I take my camera I don’t see ‘em. I agree, it is a jinx!



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