by Nancy Thompson
I live in Eastern Kentucky (Lawrence County) and all my life I have heard members of my family talk about sightings of the Black Panther.
My grandmother talked of seeing them while walking home after dark. My grandfather has seen them while out working the farm or while in the woods hunting. My father spoke often of seeing them in the woods after dark when he went fox or coon hunting.
About 10 years ago a neighbor and his wife stopped by my home, asking to see my daughter’s black house cat. After seeing him they promptly told me what they saw the night before in the road above my house was much larger than him.
About the same time, both of my children (ages 10 and 15 yrs. old) heard our dog barking outside in the yard. After seeing the dog still tied they both told me they saw a huge black cat sitting near the creek in front of the house.
My mother had repeatedly seen them while driving home from church. I have never heard of anyone seeing a Puma, Mt. Lion etc. We do have Bobcats, but there is no way to mistake a Black Panther for a Bobcat. Wrong color scheme there.
I actually saw a Bobcat early this spring in broad daylight walking the fence line, across the creek. My mother called the local game warden at that time and told him about all the new sightings and he quickly brushed it all aside. He told her there are no “Black Cats” in Kentucky….haven’t been any since Daniel Boone.
She was irritated that he didn’t take her seriously and quickly informed him that her name was now “Daniel Boone” and he needs to get out of the office and into the woods a little more often. We had the same problem when people first started seeing Black Bear and Coyotes in the area, but those were quickly accepted are being here.