Black Panthers Spotted in South Carolina

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 28th, 2007

Upstate has its share of cat tales
DNR wants hard evidence

ANDERSON – Is it a case of wild cats or wild imagination?

People in the Upstate say what they have seen or experienced was not imagined.

“Big cats has been a subject discussed about every Saturday morning for several years now at the Public Well,” said Steve Goodson, who has told his story at the local gathering place in Anderson County.

Goodson said he has sent photos of tracks to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, but has not been able to have anyone investigate.

Last spring, Goodson built a couple of ponds on his property and after a rain soaked the freshly compacted red clay, the tracks were clear and crisp.

“I sent several photos, but could not get anyone to come out and make some casts,” Goodson said. “The guy at the DNR said that it’s not a dog, it’s a cat and the track is too big to be a bobcat. He asked me not to call the newspaper.”

Larry Patterson, who lives near Pelzer, said he saw a big cat in the area nine or 10 years ago.

“I never told nobody and I’ve been living here 22 years,” Patterson said. “It was down by the Lee Steam Plant and that thing was the size of a German shepherd. It was pitch black as if someone poured motor oil all over it.”

Patterson said he also knew a retired security guard who saw one at Bargains Food Store near a trash bin that contained meat scraps from the butcher.

“He said he walked toward the Dumpster and out jumped this cat, the biggest, blackest cat he had seen in his life. He said he never told anybody about that,” Patterson said.

Myrtle Bryson of Westminster said about five months ago she lost her small dog, a Chihuahua, but could not be sure if her 2-pound canine companion was the victim of a big cat or coyotes. She did say her grandson Josh Stewart has seen a big cat in Oconee County.

Goodson also said he has heard several other stories from people who have had close encounters with big cats.

“This man and his son told me they walked up on a pair of big cats sunning themselves on a rolled bale of hay,” Goodson said. “And my neighbor has lost several baby goats down here. I know because all that was left of one was head and ears and it was left next to my house.”

Capt. Larry Holbrooks with DNR’s law enforcement division has discussed big cats several times on local radio shows. He said if someone has seen a big, black cat it was likely turned loose by a private owner.

“I would love to confirm there is one,” Holbrooks said. “I have not gotten any calls. Sometimes your eyes will play tricks on you.”

The official stance of the state DNR is that there have been no documented sightings of big cats, whether black or the traditional tawny. The department is looking for proof, such as photos, tracks or a body where a big cat might have been hit by a car.David Williams

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

22 Responses to “Black Panthers Spotted in South Carolina”

  1. fuzzy responds:

    So, then, was the guy at the DNR a scoftic?

  2. sasquatch responds:

    Well, the proof is the Carolina Panthers football team-their emblem is a Black Panther head growling on their helmets. Here in Colorado we have the Avalanche hockey team with it’s bigfoot prints on the shoulder of the jerseys. My point is; These things are known by and are part of the common mans world, no matter what the “Authorities” say exists (or doesn’t) out in the woods. I accept the word of the common man who lives in the wild areas over that of academicians who spend most of their time in laboritories in large cities; Especially when it comes to the EVERYDAY environments of the former.

  3. DWA responds:

    I always wondered about the choice of color for the guy on the Panthers’ helmet.

    Black seems the Cool Color of Choice in sports; and the juxtaposition of black and panther was, I guess, irresistable.

    (I’m surprised Jacksonville didn’t use a melanistic jaguar. Although they did a good job coloring around him.)

    But ain’t that s’posed to be a cougar?

    Yes. A black one, frequently reported in the east.


    If anybody deserves the term scofftic, it’s state DNR.

    OK, maybe we need to go on a case by case basis on that one.

  4. bigbird responds:

    I have lived in SC my entire life. I speak from experience, and I can tell you that large black cats (panthers) do in fact exist in the Carolina region. I have personally witnessed such an animal on two different occasions. I know what I have seen, and I have heard of many other sightings, some of which were reported by people that I know personally. There are several “hot spots” for such sightings, including a town close to were I live named Pelion, were it is widely accepted that panthers are a part of life. The local H.S. mascot is a black panther, and you can consume liquid refreshments at “The Panther Parlor”. There are other hot spots around SC were I am sure the large cats exist. SCDNR is very laughable. They don’t know squat. Large black cats are a part of life in SC, no matter what the DNR tries to tell you.

  5. titantim responds:

    I live in Anderson county, SC and can tell you the big cats are there. I have seen them 7 times since the mid 80’s. Many people that live in the small town of Antreville have seen them.I have seen them deer hunting several times, but the best view and the one that made me sure I wasn’t seeing things was one night coming home from work. I saw eyes on the side of the road and started slowing down. When I got to it it started across the road and stopped on the yellow line and stared at the car. I stopped the car literally less that 20 feet from the cat. It was beautiful, jet black and probably 110-120 lbs. I watched it for about 2 minutes and it went over the bank on the other side of the road and was gone. The DNR could have evidence if they would investigate the calls they get. Myself and my neighbors at the time all called the DNR and they told us we were seeing bobcats or just seeing things! Just a month and a half ago, a Georgia biologist reported a black panther stalking him on the Chattooga river, on the Oconee, SC/Rabun county, GA line. If you can’t believe a biologist when he sees one, who can you believe?

  6. Debbie responds:

    Why is it so hard for the supposedly intelligent DNR to believe there are black cats roaming in certain places? They used to be here in abundance, no problem believing that, so why not believe a few are still here? Over their head, I guess?

  7. SteveA responds:

    I live in Marlboro County SC, and we have had several reports of large black cats in this area as well. Of course, we have been told no bears are in this area. That said, two weeks ago, a wildlife trail cam, posted by a deer hunter, snapped a real good pic of a large black bear, right near the Pee Dee River. The argument is always presented as well, there are never any bones around. There are far more birds in this country than most other animals. How many birds, others than those hit by cars or shot, have you found just lying on the ground? I dare say not many, if any.

  8. Bake Neko responds:

    When I was going to Trident Technical University in North Charleston I had a friend named Glennis who said he saw a large black cat. He lived in a country area that was close to the Charleston district. He said it terrified him and he called the animal control. I didn’t think much of this thinking that he might have made it up. But seeing as how “black panther” like cats have been seen in other many areas of the Palmetto state, he may not have been yanking my leg. The first thing that came to my mind was “cougar”. But I’m pretty sure there are no cougar populations any where near the Charleston area. Quite perplexing.

  9. JoelSullivansIs responds:

    I moved to Sullivans Island from Chicago back in late 2005. It was not long after that I encountered a very large black cat at close range. I was walking on Ion Ave on a clear bright day and saw something under a elevated semicircle drive way. I wasn’t clear what it was at first – I thought maybe it could be a large dog – I stopped and looked. Then he came right out from under and stared directly at me – even showed his teeth and growled at me. I swear that thing was going to attack – I couldn’t have been more then 30 feet away – completely unobstructed view – I described it as a black panther. Just moving their I thought maybe these were native. This is when everyone begin telling me they did not have black panthers/cats in SC. I still say now what I said then – TRUST ME, YOU DO.

  10. theblindman responds:

    I live in North Myrtle Beach SC near the waterway. We have a small pond out back, the other afternoon around 6:00 I was sitting on the back porch and a large black came out of some woods and sat down and rolled over, then it went into some tall reeds and I have not seen it since. About a week later my wife saw a large cat, she described it as dark grey with some white on the face, a large long body and a thick long tail. The cat I saw was dark black with a tail about 30″ inches long. I am sure it was a Black Panther, as some call them.

    My neighbor spotted a large track on his property. We are thinking about setting up a camera out back, if we get some pics. would like to see them?

  11. wateree_gal responds:

    I live in Kershaw Co. SC near Lake Wateree. A couple of months ago my husband saw a huge black cat walking along tall weeds in a field near the Heath Springs area on Stoneboro road. He said it was about 100 feet off from the road, so he slowed down to get a good look at it because it was way bigger than a house cat. It was almost as tall as the tall weeds. He thought it was strange seeing a cat that big & jet black. It did not walk like a dog. I thought it was strange so I tried to look up wildlife in SC, but it does not list panthers. I stumbled across this site & sure enough our thoughts were confirmed that we aren’t the only ones who thought it was a panther. Bobcats are not jet black to my knowledge. I don’t know if they are nocturnal but this was during the day when my husband saw it. If anyone else in my area has seen one, let us know please, thanks!

  12. responds:

    I live in Holly Hill about 50 miles from charleston,for years we have heard about the black cats.I never really trusted anyone i just thought you would see more of them around.About a year ago i was taking down a old barn a few miles from my house and i took a break and i look out and there was a huge i mean huge black panther or somthing i have saw pictures of panters before and this thing was bigger solid black huge tail his eyes literally was softball size i was froze so there are huge black cats im sure he lives near that area still i would love to get one of these motion cameras to take pictures of him!

  13. Southern Vixon responds:

    I Live In Aiken County And Out At SRS Plant Ther Are Panthers Out The The Wildlife Out There Is Protected And No One Is Allowed Out There Well My Dad Works There And He Has Come Across 2 Big Black Cats Crossing The Road I Dont Understand Why These Experts Are Saying Its Impossible For These Animals To Thrive Or Exist Here There Just Not Looking In The Right Places

  14. rrwill65 responds:

    I have obeserved two black panthers in the Wateree Swamp. Each was approximately 3 feet in length from head to rump, and the tail was the same legnth as the body. I estimate the weight to be 75 to 100 lbs. The first cat I saw in 1989 actually sat below my climbing tree stand, which had me about 25 ft in the tree. I observed the animal for about 3 minutes, before it heard me move my rifle, an ran into the cutover it had come out of. I again saw a large black “panther”, after deer season, the same year. I had a ground level sighting as it crossed a logging road, going from my right to left. Again, the cat was at least 75 lbs and about 3 feet long, plus a tail as long as it’s body. These days were before camera phones, and it was not until 1990 that I began riding with a camcorder in my truck. I swear on my childrens life and the life of my mother, I witnessed the black panther in the wateree swamp, and anyone who doubts is wrong.

  15. helcat responds:

    I live about five minutes away from the Darlington Race track back up in the woods. There is swamp land in front of me, a very large farm feild behind me, and lots of woods. I heard my dog barking wildly just a few days ago and when I looked out to see what she was barking at I watched this huge black figure with a very large, thick tail jumping into the woods in front of me. I would not have believed what I had seen had I not of found its paw prints in my garden. The prints are way too large for any dog in this area and my dog is on a tie out. This animal has paid a visit this past Saturday night, he seems to like walking through my garden so I am getting some really good prints off of him.
    About twenty some odd years ago my boyfriend at the time and myself were on our way to Hartsville from Florence on the backroads where Hoffmyer meets 401. We saw a huge pair of yellow eyes and as we watched it came closer into the headlights of the car. We saw a big beautiful black panther. It totally unnearved us both and we did not talk to anyone about what we had seen until now.

  16. CColeA325 responds:

    This happened in the early to mid 90s. Five of us were playing golf at Pineland Plantation (Later renamed Sumter National) near I-95 and Hwy. 378 in Sumter County. We were on the 17th green putting when a large brown or gold colored cat with a long tail walked across the fairway around 90 yards from the green. He walked across there in no hurry like he owned the place. I would estimate the cat weighted 50 to 75 lbs. It did not resemble the pictures I have seen of cougars. They seem to be longer and more streamlined than this cat. This golf course was like an animal preserve with plenty of deer and wildlife living there. A cat this size would have no trouble finding food. What kind of cat it was I don’t know, but I will never forget seeing it.
    My sister carried my dad to Columbia today Aug. 19, 2009. She was coming back through Wateree swamp on Hwy. 378 this afternoon. She said she saw a big cat dead beside the road with a long tail. She wanted to go back and get a closer look, but my dad wanted to get on home. She is sorry now that she didn’t go back and see the cat. She said it was big and gold colored with some stripes. There seems to be to many sightings by people in many parts of the state for us not to believe we have some big cats living among us besides our native bobcats. MonsterQuest on history channel motivated me to post these sightings tonight.

  17. CSmith responds:

    A few years ago I was driving thru the Greenville watershed area above the North Saluda Reservoir. It was late at night, probably around 11pm. At the intersection known locally as Chestnut Springs I saw what I first thought was a black bear. But, as I got closer, probably 20 yards from the animal, I could see in the head lights the long tail, the long hind legs, and a squarish head. I was seeing the animal in profile as it slowly strutted across the highway. It disapperaed into the brush off to the right side of the road. This animal was glossy black, looked like a cat, and was about 2 or 3 times larger than the bobcats we see frequently up here in the mountains. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. I would say I saw a black mountain lion, but I am told by the experts that it’s impossible for a mountain lion, puma, whatever, to be black. Maybe these cats up here don’t know that!

  18. NNtrancer responds:

    I live in a subdivision at the northern tip of Lancaster County, suburban Charlotte. A neighbor reported seeing a black jaguar on his front porch early last summer and since then I understand others have seen it in our neighborhood as well. I looked in the field behind my house, which had a dirt road, and found large cat tracks 4-6 inches in length. Then, on 20 December 2010, I was walking my dogs at around 10:30 at night when they stopped and started barking furiously at a copse of trees on a small hill near the entrance to the subdivision. I didn’t see or hear anything, but then, a large black animal came out of the trees and slowly sauntered, cat-like, around the side of the hill and disappeared. It was too dark to identify exactly what it was. But I did return the next day and found tracks that had broken through the frozen crust of dirt and embedded perhaps an inch deep. It was obviously a heavy animal, but the tracks were too indistinct to make an accurate identification. I then heard that a neighbor spotted a large panther at roughly the same location in the same time frame and it scared the bejebbers out of her.

  19. tonez596 responds:

    11/18/11 5:50am about 1 mile down the road from harolds country cafe in yemassee. i saw a large black cat with a thick tail crossing the road in a fast walk type of gait. i will never forget it.

  20. Cat Biker responds:

    Several years back I saw a black panther (all black) while bicycling on Bushy Park Road in Berkeley County. You may know this is a rural/industrial highway with many deer and wild hog as well although very close to the city of Goose Creek and the US Naval Weapons Station in addition to DuPont, Bayer, etc.. It was on a long straight way near the SCANA LP gas facility. I had biked to the Cypress Gardens Boat Landing from North Charleston and was coming back home when the panther entered from the pine forest and stopped frozen right in the middle of the highway, straddling the yellow center line only several hundred feet ahead of me.

    I stopped the bike and he was frozen and staring right at me (and I at him/her) for well over a minute (maybe two) before he moseyed into a swampy area and I assume over the railroad tracks — I had to bike back through there to get home. I have been riding this road several times a week for 16 years, but have not seen another BIG CAT — I have lived in SC my whole life and had never seen anything like this before. It was broad daylight – about 10 AM and there were absolutely no obstructions. I would guess the Panther was 4-5 feet long without counting the tail which seemed another 3 feet long.

    I wish I had brought a camera/phone to capture the Big Cat, but alas… I phoned DNR immediately upon arriving back home but they denied the existence of Big Cats in SC — and were not interested in where the cat was sighted or any other details. It was an amazing experience which I will never forget — we DEFINITELY HAVE BIG CATS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.

  21. Cat Biker responds:


  22. greg7css responds:

    I grew up in southern Cherokee County (Gaffney). I saw a large black cat there about 7 feet long from head to tail about 20 years ago. Since then I have known a handful of people that have seen them as well. The most recent was a few weeks ago so they are still around.

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