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Sighting Reported to Police: “They laughed at me.”

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 26th, 2007

There’s news of another recent Maine mountain lion sighting.

Maine Mystery Cat

Please click on the image of the Sidney, Maine, photograph, above, for a larger version.

Kennebunkport [Maine] — It was May 30 and a hint of summer was in the air. Holly Cook had finished up work for the day and she and her husband were driving home along Goose Rocks Road near the Seashore Trolley Museum with the top down on their convertible when they saw something that stopped them in their tracks.
“It was a big animal crossing the road,” she recalls. A deer? A coyote? they wondered. They drove a little closer. “It was a big cat, brown, with a long tail.”
The Cooks looked up the animal on the Internet when they got home. It was a mountain lion.
“We asked each other, kidding, ‘Is there a circus in town?’” Holly says.
Her next step was to call the police department.
“I got the response I expected,” she says. “They laughed at me.”
Next she called the state Game Warden Service.
“They downplayed it,” she says. “They said there hadn’t been any recent evidence of mountain lions.”
Things might be different now, though.
In June and July the Service was presented with evidence of at least two sightings in the state — one in Sidney, where a man was able to snap a picture, and another in Oakland, where a man actually submitted a piece of fur for testing.
The lab hasn’t finished its analysis on the fur yet, says Game Warden Service spokesman Mark Latti. But it’s not out of the question that it’s from a mountain lion. Nor is it that unusual to find them far south in the state. After all, there was a confirmed sighting in Cape Elizabeth about 15 years ago and another in Brunswick around 2001. But folks shouldn’t think that means the mountain lion has returned to Maine.
“They are most likely escaped or released animals,” Latti says, adding that the animals were most likely kept as pets or part of small zoos. “We have yet to see evidence of a native population here or anywhere in New England.”
That hasn’t stopped the sightings. Latti says there are between half a dozen and a dozen reported each year. But so far, he says, there have been no repeat sightings and no cats found as roadkill. That would be the case if a native population was present.
Experts say the mountain lion, also known as the panther, catamount, and cougar, was hunted out in the 19th century in Maine. The last confirmed killing of one in the wild in the state was in 1938.
Still, sightings abound and discussions surrounding the big cats in Maine can be found around the Internet.
According to the non-profit Mountain Lion Foundation, the cats “live solitary lives within a system of mutual avoidance.” Males can weigh up to 180 pounds, with females weighing less. They’re most active at dusk, night, or early in the morning.
The Cooks say they saw their mountain lion around 6:30 in the evening — and weeks before the spate of sightings made news in the state. They knew it wasn’t a house cat – they have one of those themselves. And as a licensed animal technician and former owner of a biotechnology company, Holly Cook says she wouldn’t be easily fooled. But despite the fact that she wasn’t taken entirely seriously by officials, Cook says she’s still thrilled by seeing the big cat.
“I think it’s great,” she says. “If the mountain lion is back, it must mean things are better.” By Laura Dolce, here“Mountain lion sighting in Kennebunkport,” July 26, 2007, Portsmouth Herald News – Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA.

Another recent Mystery Cat encounter gets the expected response. Isn’t it about time this stop, from all officials?

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.


8 Responses to “Sighting Reported to Police: “They laughed at me.””

  1. titantim responds:

    Standard comment: they are probably released pets. If this be the case then there are more big cat owners in this country than there are dog owners. Every time someone reports a big cat anywhere in the country the officials say it is a released pet. I agree Loren that it is about time to stop this madness and just tell the truth.

  2. greywolf responds:

    It is to bad that normal sober citizens that see and report strange critters get laughed at . If the police and game people were doing there job they would investigate right away with no BS..No wonder people don.t report sightings.

  3. Sergio responds:

    Oh c’mon now, nobody makes fun of this stuff. The reports of people scoffing and making fun of witnesses are as contrived as the reports themselves according to Benjamin Radford.

    This stuff happens all the time. The numbskulls on Fox and Friends come to mind, and that was on national television.

  4. ShefZ28 responds:

    This reminds me of a story I read a few years ago.

    A guy was home one night when someone was trying to break into his house. He called 911 and the operator who answered said all of their officers were dispatched and as soon as she had one available they would be sent right away.

    The guy waited for a bit and redialed 911. He told the lady who he was and said he didn’t no one needed to hurry because he took care of the issue with his shotgun ( he didn’t really).

    Needless to say multiple squad cars, an anbulance and firetrucks were dispatched immediately.

    There is a moral to the story somewhere in there…

  5. Ceroill responds:

    Well, the old canard that large cats or whatever are all escaped from traveling circuses or local area zoos has worn out, so they have to use some other excuse. The only one left is the escaped exotic pet excuse.

  6. DWA responds:

    With attentive, brave, strong and true peace officers like this on the job, sasquatch could roam shopping malls in packs by day and remain undocumented by science.

    This is the thing skeptics never seem to understand. Lots of people see stuff like this. Virtually all of it gets flushed, without followup of any kind.

    Maybe we can ask Ben Radford to provide us with an annotated list of every cryptid sighting that got any kind of concerted followup. The ten minutes’ work could keep him in trim. (As a recent thread shows, P/G wouldn’t be on the list.)

    What is so unusual about mountain lions in North America? Maybe these cops should start watching the news. Once a year or so. They are right over the border, in every Canadian province, and don’t seem to be showing up in droves to meet the new requirement for passports.

    Look, I’m sure they have lots of stuff to do other than chase cats that aren’t stuck in trees. So: they’re too busy to laugh at the people who pay their salaries, doncha think?

  7. twblack responds:

    Here is what gets my goat. If they were “ALL” released or escaped pets would they not have any fear of people. Seems like they would go right up to most people looking for food if they were pets that did not know much about stalking or hunting on its own. Just a thought I guess. Seems like they would show up everywhere if they were raised as pets. It is a shame people get made fun of for reporting these things maybe the Big Fellow knows this also and he is laughing at us for he knows he is safe!

  8. Rillo777 responds:

    If this is how sightings of known living creatures who are considered OOP by authorities are treated, why does it surprise us that the authorities laugh at true cryptids? It only goes to show how complacent modern thinking is about the world, even by those who are suppose to be experts.



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