Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 22nd, 2010
The recent sightings of tigers in Dallas, Texas may sound unusual, but placed in context, they are not.
In the fall of 1967, in West Rock, Connecticut, of all places, witnesses reported seeing a “baby tiger” on the loose. Several police officers
searched but found nothing. Was it all a case of mistaken identification?
Jack Bowman of Kentucky shared with me his barnyard sightings of a
large striped cat during the early 1970s. John Lutz has a report in his files
of a large felid being seen with brown stripes near Marlington, West
Virginia in 1977. It was spied by the crew of Train #62 of the Cass Scenic
RR on their way to Spruce Knob in late June, 1977. Lutz interviewed the
entire engine crew, railroad fireman, and engineer separately. Each had the
same story. The great striped cat loped across the track, 30 feet ahead of
the train at 1:45 PM.
There have been others, which can be drawn from my files. Here’s
On July 27, 1986, near Nicholson, Pennsylvania, Carl Eastwood was
walking along State Route 92 at 6:00 am, when he observed a large
striped cat that looked similar to a tiger. It ran from some bushes about 50
feet from him, then turned around and ran back out-of-sight. Later in the
afternoon, state police using a helicopter, spotted the tiger, but the officers
lost it in the thick woods of Wyoming County. The next day, in Wyoming
and Susquehanna Counties, Pennsylvania, state police continued the tiger
hunt with a search of a ten mile perimeter focusing on the two bordering
counties. Authorities used a deer carcass to lure the cat, but to no avail.
Police contacted the Bently Brothers Circus and Buk Young, who collect-
ed large felines. However, Young and circus officials maintained that their
cats were not missing.
On July 29, 1986, a Newton Township, Pennsylvania schoolteacher,
Gary Steier claimed that he and his family saw a large orange cat in high
grass about 200 yards away from their porch. Steier reported that it was
big, orange, long, and lopping. The following day, in Jackson,
orange and black stripped cat. No tiger was ever found by the police.
Miami Township, Ohio, police searched for a tiger on the loose on 26
May 1994 after receiving a call from Galen Emery, 43 of Centerville, of
the animal on the prowl in a field near Washington Church and Spring
Valley Pike around 9:25 a.m. Despite the fact police finally said the cat
that Emery had videotaped was only a domestic cat, Emery remained
adamant about what he saw. He said he worked in the office facing the
empty field off Spring Valley Road for two years, and had seen and taped
coyotes, deer and groundhogs from only a few hundred yards away. And
he knew a thing or two about the size of objects in videos; he is a profes-
sional video producer.
Then on June 1, 1994, Clearcreek and Springboro, Ohio, police
responded to a call of a possible tiger on the loose. The call, received at
14:16, was from Debbie Couch, a resident on North Ohio 741 near
Pennyroyal Road. Couch claimed she saw a large, orange animal run from
Ohio 741 into the wooded area behind the runways of the Dayton General
South Airport, located just north of the Springboro city limits. She went
on to describe what she had seen, which led police of both departments to
believe that there could possibly be truth to the “rumor” (as the press was
now calling Emery’s May sighting) of a Bengal tiger.
Next we learn, according to police, that early in November 1994,
three Hillsboro, Ohio residents saw a lion running through Highland and
Clinton counties. The lion was last reported on Turner Road in Clinton
county, where police said they had found footprints.
“We haven’t got anything that’s substantiated,” Sheriff Tom Horst
after sundown, “the dogs just went crazy,” Hawk said. She was cooking
supper when her 4-year-old son, Joshua, said, “there’s a wolf out there.”
Hawk peered out the window and said, “No, its too big to be a wolf.”
“I was amazed,” Hawk gasped.
Clara Stroop said she saw an animal sniffing around her mobile home
on Turner Road later the same night. “It looked like a cougar or a female
lion,” she said. She lived two miles from Hawk, just across the Clinton
County line. Stroop pointed to a small bush at the corner of her home to
show where the animal stood. “It let out a great big roar, and then it went
off running into the woods,” she said. She watched the animal demolish
her plastic trash cans, and showed a visitor the neatly sliced remains.
It came calling again a few days ago and, again, “It let out a great big
roar,” Stroop said.
“I don’t let my kids go out at night.”
A couple of hundred feet away, neighbor Kris Goad inspected a big
fresh paw print left in the mud just beneath her bedroom window. The
print matched the plaster cast at the sheriff’s office.
Lynchburg, Ohio, pharmacist Lance Lukas almost turned the mysteri-
ous animal into road kill just before 9 a.m. on November 19th as he drove
west along Anderson Road in Dodson Township, not far from the other
sightings. “Just about hit it,” Lukas said. “I saw a catlike animal, 4 to 5 feet
long, with a long tail, low to the ground and moving fast.” Its tannish-yel-
low coat looked like that of a leopard without spots, maybe a little smaller,
he said. Whatever it was, it left the pavement with a bound big enough to
carry it straight into a cornfield and out of sight in a heartbeat, Lukas said.
~ Mysterious America, pages 140-142.
Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation’s Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures NY: Paraview Pocket – Simon and Schuster, 2007.
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