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Tigers In Mysterious America

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
some examples.
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.

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.


3 Responses to “Tigers In Mysterious America”

  1. SIRUPAPERS responds:

    There are four thousand tigers in the wild and five thousand in captivity, the possibility of an escape going un-reported is very likely…save for one thing: animals kept and bred in captivity are unfamiliar with foraging for themselves and often turn to dumpster diving for food. Large exotic pets eating out of garbage cans do not go unnoticed and are usually tracked down quickly. Since most urban dwellers are removed from daily contact with local wildlife I think the occasional missID is to be expected.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    A tiger that was born and raised in captivity is going to face quite a few problems as well as pose a number of potential risks when released into the wild.

    Captive bred tigers are known to pose challenges for release into the wild for several reasons. One is that tiger mothers teach their young how to hunt and kill. Hunting efficiency in tigers is a learned skill that takes many months of practice and observation with the mother tiger. In a captive environment, not only do many tigers reject their young, which causes the young to be hand raised by humans, but also there is no need to hunt and therefore no reason for them to learn or teach this skill.

    This lack of hunting prowess in captive bred tigers is going to pose several problems. First off, taking down large prey is dangerous business, even for an animal as formidable as a tiger. Contrary to what many may think, large prey items such as deer and even livestock are strong and hard to take down, and have the potential to cause grievous injuries on their attackers. It is not easy. Injuries are bad for business for predators. A bad injury can mean loss of territory, starvation and death in the wild. This is why tigers in the wild, indeed most predators in general, tend to go for weaker prey. Now factor in a captive bred tiger with no hunting efficiency and no idea of what it is doing, and it is bound to get itself badly hurt or even killed trying to take down its own prey. It will have the instincts to attack, but not the skill to do it well.

    So, now you have a tiger that is going to quite probably get itself hurt trying to take down large prey. This leads us to the next problem, which is that the tiger may decide to try for easier, weaker prey, such as dogs, cats, or people. This happens in the wild quite often with old or injured specimens so a captive bred tiger released into the wild in an area where humans and their pets are present could easily go this route. That or at the very least it may start rooting around in garbage or hanging out near areas where it smells food, which are likely areas where people are.

    This leads to yet another problem which is that many captive bred wild animals, such as tigers, are imprinted onto humans. They have relied on us to feed them and care for them, and so have lost much of their natural fear of us. In fact, they tend to equate humans with food. Due to this lack of fear, they are not going to be wary of humans and may even be quite bold to approach us. It is one of the reasons why feral dogs are so dangerous.

    So now you have a hungry, quite possibly injured tiger with nowhere to go that has no fear of humans and is not afraid to approach us. It is not a good situation for us, and it is not a god situation for the tiger.

    Release programs for captive bred tigers are carefully planned by trained professionals and even then they are not always successful due to the inherit problems associated with such programs. An escaped exotic pet tiger or one released by an irresponsible owner is a danger to itself and those around it.

    If there are such tigers at the heart of these sightings reports, I do hope for the sake of local residents and the animals themselves that they are found and captured for everyone’s good.

  3. shumway10973 responds:

    So much for Britain being the home of the mystery cats. One would think tigers would be easy to see, but if there is a handful doing the brown color bit…that might cause some alarm. Captive tigers (if from a caring place) could easily be like that black “panther” trying to get into the house. Any cat person could see it just wanted to be home with food. It would be difficult for them to “resort” back to hunting anything substantial enough to not go hungry.
    Did past zoos and circus (not to mention the people owning before any laws against it) either allow or never looked for the tigers that “escaped”? get enough of them finding each other (let alone any other large enough cat) and we will start breeding. When the #’s are down in most species, the closest thing(y) will do the job just fine. We have massive coyotes at the family ranch because the red wolf bred with the coyotes. We also have king snakes with rattlers and/or fangs because the rattle snake #’s dwindled enough that mortal enemies mated. There’s no guarantee what the babies have–poison or no poison.



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