Language Turns Cat into Panther then Back Again

The strangeness of this case turns out not to be from the paranormal or from the legendary creature itself, but from the reactions of those around it.  In Sydney, Australia, rumors that one of the elusive and possibly supernatural big cats had been discovered dead and then subsequently buried elicited an immediate response from a team of cryptozoologists who posted their findings to their blog.  The discovery, while disappointing in the end, does raise many questions about how the rumor sprang up and from where the witnesses were getting their information.

The blog Center for Fortean Zoology recently posted a story where a rumor had been spreading that one of the elusive ghostly cats had been discovered dead and then buried in the northernmost tip of Sydney Australia.  The dead cat had been discovered after one of Geoff Nowland’s dogs had been brutally attacked by a mysterious creature.  Fearing that the animal would soon become a health hazard, Mr. Nowland reportedly buried it and then started spreading the tale of its discovery and the background around it.  Of course when cryptozoologists discovered the news report they went down in search of this strange animal.  Ultimately they discovered that the real strangeness came not from a genetic mutation or ghostly cat, but rather from the words “Felis Catus.”

Keep in mind the story happened in Australia, and imagine an Australian expert in zoology saying the words “I would say it is a big Felis Catus.”  Ultimately the reporters apparently misheard the words and printed “I would say it is a big fearless cat.”  While the zoologist had expressed that the animal was somehow mutated or crossed with another breed giving it an unusually large size, it was indeed a Felis Catus, or to the rest of us a domestic cat.  In this case it seems there was neither a hoax involved, nor any suspicious attempt to make a paranormal story out of nothing.  Ultimately it was the folks at the Center for Fortean Zoology Australia who set the records straight.

We can only wonder how long the story could have run if it hadn’t been for the vigilance of individuals such as Mike Williams of the CFZ had attempted to ensure the real version of the story was heard.

Of course the mystery of big cats may not have been solved in this case, but it certainly left to speculate on in other cases.  For years big cats have been seen by hundreds of witnesses stalking the countryside in conditions once thought impossible for the creatures.  Earlier in 2010 we reported on dozens of cases of people spotting big black cats everywhere from Australia to the UK to the United States and yet in all of these we have yet to discover a new panther skeleton.  This is not to say, however, that they have not been found in the past.  And there is little doubt in the cryptozoological field that they will be discovered again.