“I don’t care if you believe or not. We have seen it … This is a famous story that has haunted Sydney for years about the mysterious black panther of the Blue Mountains.”
Popular Australian television and radio host Grant Denyer is telling anyone who will listen to him that he and his wife have seen the mythical Blue Mountains panther outside their home near the … well, you should be able to figure that part out. Denyer even has a video of the creature he describes as being “10 times bigger than a normal domestic cat.” Does that make Denyer 10 times more believable than others who claim to have spotted the large black cat that the Australian government and most wildlife officials say doesn’t exist? Does being the “Most Popular Personality on Australian Television” help? Winner on Australia’s Dancing With The Stars?
“I was doing the dishes, looking down the paddock and I saw it and I said, ‘The panther’s back’.”
Chezzi Denyer backed up her husband’s story in her appearance on Denyer’s radio show, 2DayFM. By “The panther’s back” she’s referring to her claims that she first saw the black panther on their property more than three years ago when she was pregnant and Grant was skeptical. That’s no longer the case now that he’s allegedly seen it himself. (See the video here.)
Stories of a mysterious alien black panther in New South Wales date back to the 1800s when there was a period of exotic animal breeding and trade. This coincided with the beginnings of the traveling circus and stories of escaped cats from trains, tents and ships bringing them to Australia. During World War II, American and Australian soldiers were said to have kept exotic cats as mascots, leading to more escape stories. While there have been many sightings, tracks found and photographs and videos taken, there have been no bodies, spores, fur or other DNA evidence.
"The sightings and other evidence presented, mostly from the Hawkesbury region, are at best prima facie evidence."
The myth of the Blue Mountains or Lithgow panther is so strong that the Department of Primary Industries of the New South Wales Government commissioned four enquiries into the reported sightings during the years 1999, 2003, 2009 and 2013. While it found over 560 reports, many by reputable witnesses, in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains and Lithgow area since 1998, the findings started with ‘inconclusive’ and the latest report was "There is no conclusive evidence that large cats exist in the wild in NSW." While believers cried “Cover up!”, the government stuck by its assessment that the sightings were usually large feral cats.
“I don’t care if you believe or not.”
What did Grant Denyer see and record on his admittedly far-away video? Should he keep looking or stick to talking and dancing?