Reports of large cats are nothing new to many of the highland areas of the U.K. For decades, large cats and cat-like creatures have been seen around the Bodmin Moor area near Cornwall in Southern England. While some recent claims have been made that the “Beast of Bodmin Moor” is merely an abnormally large house cat, several large animals have been eviscerating sheep and other livestock around the Scottish highlands lately, reviving curiosity in the U.K.’s massive mystery cats. Now, several sightings of a large panther-like animal have been reported in central England, deepening the English big cat mystery.
According to the Burton Mail, one of the sightings occurred outside of Ashby, a small town in North West Leicestershire, England. Local resident Emma Adam was walking with her mother-in-law when she spotted a black cat gnawing on a small animal, only the cat was larger than most dogs.
Adam told the newspaper that the memory of the anomalous encounter still frightens her to this day:
As we were coming along the path, I saw something lying down and I was trying to figure out what it was. I kept looking at it, and I realised its head was going up and down because it was eating something, ripping it apart. My mother in law and I froze, and we just walked backwards. Luckily it didn't see us. People were saying why didn't you take a picture of it, but in that moment you are too frightened to take a picture. I always thought they would be very stocky, but this was much thinner. I don't dare to go out on a walk in case I see it again.
A week later, the same newspaper received a similar report of an usually large black cat in Swadlincote, just a few miles west of the first sighting. An anonymous eyewitness described the creature in that sighting as a “jet black cat around one and half feet high” which ran quickly into the woodlands surrounding the town.
Whether these sightings are evidence of a lineage of abnormally large feral cats, escaped zoo animals, or some unknown species of large indigenous cat remains to be known. One thing is for sure: the Beast of Bodmin Moor appears to be alive and well.