Beware of the Wampus Cat

Posted by: Nick Redfern on November 9th, 2013

Illustration from Mountain Monsters

Kyle Germann has a new post at his “Demon Hunter’s Compendium” on the infamous Wampus Cat. It begins as follows…

“The Wampus Cat has the distinction of being one of the most feared monsters in the folklore of the South. For over two hundred years, this creature has inspired terror and panic in the hearts of the people of Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and even as far away as Florida and the Carolinas (suggesting that there may be more than one Wampus Cat, or that there are supernatural forces of an unknown nature at work in these parts of the United States).”

Nick Redfern About Nick Redfern
Punk music fan, Tennents Super and Carlsberg Special Brew beer fan, horror film fan, chocolate fan, like to wear black clothes, like to stay up late. Work as a writer.

3 Responses to “Beware of the Wampus Cat”

  1. Hapa responds:

    There are several prehistoric big cats that might, just might given rise to the Wampus legend, anything from giant Jaguars (larger, less robust) to American lions (if we assume they were maneless).

    I am a little rusty on Wampus cats, so I don’t know if they are described at times as sabertoothed, but if they are, then it makes a conundrum: Smilodon, the original “Sabertoothed Tiger” (not closely related to tigers at all) lived on wild horses, bison, some baby mammoths and Mastodons, while Homotherium, the Scimitar toothed cat, lived on baby mammoths and Mastodons mostly. One of the reasons why these two big cats died out is because their prey died out (we still have Bison, but they were not the only species of Bison to ever live in America, and if Smilodon was still alive and hunting them in near or modern times, they would have been encountered by Anglo Americans in the western expansion, would have been hunted, and they would have hit our cattle as Bison was forcibly replaced with them in the old west. Mustangs themselves were introduced by the Spaniards; the original ice age American Horses died out here in the last Ice age). I HIGHLY doubt that saber or scimitar toothed cats would be responsible for the myth, let alone survived to the present.

  2. wzolotovskaya responds:

    I have a grandmother who lives in Alabama who would always tell us about the Wampus Cat in the woods that had glowing yellow eyes and large, sharp teeth. She never mentioned it being part woman but said it ate children who wandered out into the woods alone. She really enjoyed telling this story to us and once my cousin, when he was a boy, was near the woods and she hollered out the back door that she saw the Wampus Cat and it was coming to get him, then shut the door and locked it. Once she got a chuckle out of him crying and banging on the door, she let him in. In hindsight it seems a little cruel but he’s no worse for the wear, in fact he is an avid hunter to this day. I always saw it as a story used to keep us from wandering into the woods, I never thought there was any basis in cryptozoology and I guess I still don’t. I did find it interesting that it originated from Cherokee legend because her mother was Cherokee.

  3. counter attack responds:

    I lived down south for over a decade and never once did ever hear of a wampus cat.

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