Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 18th, 2008
The most frequently and quietly discussed cryptids in America are the mystery cats, the phantom felines, the so-called “Black Panthers” of legend and lore. Many people say they see them, so much so they are taken for granted in many parts of the country.
While most photographs of “black cats” taken across fields turn out to be nothing more than long-distance pictures of the neighborhood tom-cats, once in a blue moon I’m shown a photograph that has me wondering.
This week one such image came my way.
Please see the attached pdf photograph file which shows an apparent black panther. Please note the use of the words “mystery cat” and “apparent” here. This is a felid, but what kind?
It was sent to me by a Cryptomundo correspondent who notes it was taken by a game camera in South DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. He first heard about the photo in late 2005, and has been trying to track a copy for some time. He finally did, as shown.
He reports that the farmer did not want anyone to know about the exact location because he didn’t want people bothering his deer lease.
Now, word comes that near this same site, two weeks ago, a reported Black Panther was killed. But there was no big deal made of it because they just were known for being seen around there for years. More confirmation of that kill is being pursuited.
As to the photograph, the object in front of the Mystery Cat or alleged Black Panther is a bale of hay, obviously sitting at an angle to the game-cam.
The standard bale of hay measures 4 feet long by 18 inches tall by 14 inches wide.
No known, recognized, or verified forms of black or melanistic panthers, pumas, cougars, mountain lion, or whatever you want to call them are known from Louisiana. Needless to say, a find of a dead black puma, i.e. mountain lion, or classic black panther, i.e. melanistic leopard (that is not a former captive) in Louisiana would be a remarkable cryptozoological discovery.
Black ~ melanistic ~ jaguars are not native to Louisiana. There are no confirmed feral populations of escaped melanistic leopards in Louisiana.
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.