Apr 28, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Controversy of the U.K.'s Paranormal "Alien Big Cats"

Today's article is on the controversial subject of the U.K.'s "Alien Big Cats," as they have been famously named. Just like so many other mysterious out-of-place animals around the world, there's something very strange about the ABCs. That goes for the Nessies of Scotland and the Bigfoot of the United States, too. Yes, there have been the occasional catches of ABCs here and there, such as Lynx and other exotic cats. But, it's the large, muscular, powerful black cats that cause so much intrigue - and that are tied to so much weirdness, too. Such has been the level of interest in the Alien Big Cats, the U.K. military have gone looking, albeit with not a lot of success. And there have been debates in the heart of the British Government's Parliament. Back in 1998, politician Keith Simpson addressed this very issue in one of those debates from the perspective of one area: Norfolk, England: "I must begin by thanking the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for attending this Adjournment debate on the subject of big cats in Norfolk. My objective in asking for the debate was to establish ministerial responsibility for monitoring big cats and to consider how we can best evaluate any evidence of the probability of big cats living in our countryside. This is a subject which, as hon. Members may know, has excited a great deal of public and media interest, especially in my constituency of Mid-Norfolk.

"Over the past 20 years, there has been a steady increase in the number of sightings of big cats in many parts of the United Kingdom. These are often described as pumas, leopards or panthers. A survey carried out in 1996 claimed sightings of big cats in 34 English counties, so Norfolk's big cat has to compete with, among others, the Fen tiger, the beast of Bodmin, the Durham puma, the Nottingham lion and the cougar of Cupar. I must say that many of these sound like the nicknames of hon. Members." And there is more to come. Keith Simpson continued: Many sightings have been reported in my constituency by members of the public who were out walking their dogs or driving down country roads, often at dawn or at dusk. Usually the sighting is of a big cat, frequently described as a puma or leopard. There have also been a number of incidents in which it has been claimed that ewes, lambs and horses have been attacked - and, in some cases, killed - and have received injuries more extensive than could have been inflicted by dogs or foxes. Of course, the fact remains that, despite many sightings and some superficial evidence, we do not yet have authoritative evidence that big cats are at large in Mid-Norfolk or, for that matter, in other parts of the UK."

Note: This photo was taken by an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The FWS is a body of the U.S. Government. That places the photo in the public domain.

And there were these words, too, during the debate: "How should we regard the sightings of big cats in Mid-Norfolk? It could be merely an extension of folklore going back to the 18th century. Perhaps Old Shuck or Black Shuck, the mythical large dog which roamed our Norfolk landscape looking for his master all those years ago, has returned to haunt his descendants—perhaps, but unlikely. Perhaps it is merely a question of farmers looking for compensation on a scale the likes of which they have never seen - perhaps, but unlikely. Perhaps our thriving tourist industry in Mid-Norfolk is looking for its 819 equivalent of the Loch Ness monster or the hound of the Baskervilles to attract even more tourists - perhaps, but unlikely." The debate remained exactly that: a debate. And a controversial one, too. It has to be said that while sightings of ABCs are made time and time again, most of the creatures remain elusive. There's another side to all of this, too: the paranormal angle. That's right: there is evidence that the ABCs - specifically the large, black ones - are more than just flesh-and-blood. And that's why the government - back in 1998 - didn't make much headway: it was because they were taking the wrong approach. Of course, the government had no intention to dig into the world of the paranormal. But, it should have. With that said, here are some genuinely weird cases of ABCs.

Back in 2007, I interviewed Marcus Matthews about his then-newly-published book, Big Cats Loose in Britain. I asked Marcus: "How did you become interested in the subject of big cats in Britain?" Marcus replied to me: "It all started when I was 14. I was at the Devon Farm Park on Exmoor when a booklet in the farm shop caught my eye, which was Trevor Beer's book, The Beast of Exmoor: Fact or Legend? I bought a copy, read it, and very much enjoyed it. Then I wrote to Trevor and had quite a lot of correspondence with him. And also when I was 14, I had a sighting on the Mendips of a lynx. My mother and I were driving along and it crossed the road in front of us; it actually jumped on to a wall. I took a photo of it, but it was only in the corner of the photo that it got it. It went under a gate and into an old cattle shed. Later, we went back and found some paw prints and the remains of a dead pigeon. I also had a sighting through binoculars - about a quarter of a mile away - of a puma-like cat on Exmoor in 1987, which was in the Barle Valley, where the River Barle runs through. There have been a number of sightings there."

(Nick Redfern) The U.K. National Archives: Where the "ABC" Files Can Be Found

I was both very surprised and intrigued when Marcus told me that he had been given a report of a large, black-coated cat seen in nothing less than a huge and intricate Crop Circle, in the county of Wiltshire, England, which is where most of the Crop Circles are seen every year. I was even more intrigued when Matthew Williams - a Crop Circle creator and researcher of the phenomenon - told me of an encounter he had in a Crop Circle that somewhat mirrored the case Marcus shared with me sometime after I spoke with Marcus. It was late one night when Matthew was deep in the heart of Crop Circle country when he heard something making "strange, animal-like screaming noises" coming from right inside the formation. They were clearly the cry of a large cat; the kind of cat that should not be seen or heard anywhere in the U.K. Alien Big Cats and Crop Circles: and at the same time and the same place. If that's not weird, I don't know what is! Since 2011, I have received no less than nine more reports of people seeing  huge black cats in the Crop Circles of England; all of them in Wiltshire, except for an ABC seen roaming around Chartley Castle, Staffordshire, England in 2015. Rather notably, a Crop Circle was found in a field adjacent to Chartley Castle in the summer of 2006.

In her book, Mystery Big Cats, Merrily Harpur suggests that the Alien Big Cats (ABCs) of the U.K. may be something far more than just escaped animals. She suspects they may be Daimons. If you're not acquainted with the word, read on. The Urban Dictionary says the following of the Daimons: "Daimon is the Greek derivative for the term demon. In this sense the term 'demon' means 'replete with knowledge.' The ancient Greeks thought there were good and bad demons called 'eudemons' and 'cacodemons.' The term 'daimon' means 'divine power,' 'fate' or 'god.' Daimons, in Greek mythology, included deified heroes. They were considered intermediary spirits between men and the gods." There's no doubt in my mind that to solve the Alien Big Cat enigma we need to dig further into the world of the paranormal to get the answers. I certainly can't see the British Government using paranormal activity to try and solve the controversy. But, like it or not, that is exactly what they should be doing.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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