Lately, this blog has been getting lots of hits from people googling "panthers in tennessee." And some of those people have been leaving comments about their own close encounters with the big felines.
Here's a collection of all the reports I've received to date, including several recent ones:
About 20 years ago, when I was a little girl, there were black panther sightings near my home in Crossville, TN.
On November 14, 2007, my sister-in-law, who leaves close to me, heard the tell-tale scream of a panther just outside her window about 8 pm. Then, about 4 am, I was awakened by what sounded like dogs being attacked. They were yelping and sounded distressed. The following evening, I came home from work to find a beagle pup on my doorstep. I located his owner, and found that he had just brought home two pups the night before, which had escaped their pen. The second pup never returned. I am sure that it was taken by the panther my sister-in-law heard earlier that night.
November 25, 2007 7:50:00 PM EST
I was just watching a show on NatGeo about mythical creatures. I was shocked to see the black panther on the list, because my wife and I have seen one. We also live in Crossville, TN, which is weird because I noticed some one else from here posted on this topic.
The night we saw the big cat, we were inside when we heard something making a lot of noise in the garage. Our cat was going nuts, we went outside and saw this huge black cat standing in the road under a street light. It was about three feet tall and looked like it was eight or ten feet long. I was scared to death. It saw us and just turned and walked down the road and into the woods. We called TWRA Fish and Game, but they thought we were mistaken. There was no mistaking this thing, and I'll never forget the way it walked off down the road. The only picture I've seen that looked close to it was a picture of a Jaguar from South America.
I've heard people around here talk about these cats all my life, and I know for a fact that they are real.
My name is John Hall and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
December 12, 2007 11:24:00 PM EST
Two cats sighted in North Mississippi
I live in Booneville Mississippi and was working late one afternoon near a creek that runs through town here. I saw two big cats, one black and one a light brown or dirty white. They were as big as a large German Shephard dog with long tails. They looked just like the mountain lions you see on tv.
I only saw them that one afternoon and often looked for them in that area but never seen them again.
My name is jlesley at email@example.com
October 4, 2008 12:55:00 PM EDT
I am 50 and can say with all certainty there are Black Panthers in this country. I would like to know of any sightings no matter where they are. Jamie Maurer
December 11, 2008 7:26:00 PM EST
yes im from alabama and i see the panther quite regular...something doesnt seem quite right about it but im sure someone else out there has noticed certain unnatural about there sightings but if you have questions ore any other abnormal experiences with the "panther" then feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
December 19, 2008 12:39:00 AM EST
They all over middle and west TN. Some even in rural areas of metro Memphis and Nashville.
My son and I were camping Jan 07 in Shelby Forest in Millington TN (borders MS river) whe we heard one SCREAM about 30 ft from ourcampsite about 10 pm.
We were the only campers in the park and I was thankful for my sturdy camper!! Oh, the rangers said it was screech owl.
Uh...NO IT WASNT!!!
December 27, 2008 4:20:00 AM EST
Yesterday morning I was following a backhoe on the new part of wolf river Blvd. It was across the road from the dump and right past the wetland area. There is a plot of land for sale that has been built up. As I was travelling at a snails pace I was looking intently for deer commonly seen in the area. At first sight I thought I saw a black lab walking across this grassy plot. Having the time to get a good look I realized that is was a Cat by the way it walked and that its tail was much longer and had that cat like curl and swish. I got a good look at the head then and clearly saw the ears and profile. I know it was a black panther. The time was about five til ten in the morning on Friday.
It was really cool!
February 3, 2009 5:23:00 PM EST
About 10-12 years ago my husband and I were in Pigeon Forge, TN, staying at a motel high on a hill on the north side of Hwy 441. About 8 a.m. that sunny morning we saw something moving farther up the hill from our third floor window. It was definitely a cat. A really BIG cat. And solid black. It was very calm and walked up and looked down at all the development that was Pigeon Forge at that time. Then it turned and walked away. We looked down at our car -- where the camera was. When we asked hotel management about this they told us -- no way. Later we asked rangers from the Nat'l Forest about it and laughed and dismissed us as a couple of Georgia nuts! It was a black panther. I'll believe that to my grave. It was HUGE. I wish that camera hadn't been in the car.
February 8, 2009 9:59:00 PM EST
I totally agree with all you guys. I just moved back to SC from eastern TN. It was not an uncommon occurrence to hear stories of large cats and people crossing paths. It's just yesterday I 100% positively had the rare chance at catching a glimpse at a large black cat about 3-4ft body length w/out the tail walking across my neighbor's horse pasture. I got such a good look at it I sat there trying to dismiss what I had seen. I had convinced myself it was just an optical illusion and it was merely a house cat until a horse stood in the exact spot where I had seen the big cat and instantly I realized that the cat was as long as the distance from front to hind quarters of a full sized mare. Theres no getting out of this one. There is a large black cougar in the upstate of SC.
March 26, 2009 9:18:00 AM EDT
about 20 years ago when i was 13 we were having a party and we heard an awful scream like a woman, and at the time my family was renting a trailer about 200 yards from the house and after the scream we saw a black panther jump from a tree onto the top of the trailer.we lived on a farm and since then we have had calves missing and one of our dogs got scratched up bad.and latly about a month our so ago one of my parents dogs went missing.From:Jefferson County, Tennessee
June 29, 2009 10:05:00 PM EDT
In 1999, one evening in the spring I happened upon a mountain lion sized black cat at the head of the Big Dry Run finger of Watauga Lake. I had just left my lake place on Sugar Grove Church Road heading home at about 8:30pm. It was just getting dark. As I started around the curve at Big Dry Run Road and Dry Hill Road I saw Huge eyes on the right reflecting my trucks headlights. I slowed wondering if it could be a deer. When I reached within 30 feet of the animal, it looked as if a huge black hole sat on the shoulder. The animal reflected absolutely no light from my headlights except the eyes. The most unusual thing about the eyes was the wide space between them, much further apart than a dog or deer, and large. Within 4 or 5 seconds the animal stood and turned to jump off the road bank into the brush down by the lake. When I saw the shape of it with the huge long tail, I knew there was not doubt as to what it was. It had to be either a black cougar or black panther. Since that time I have read and been told of the possibility of the cat being actually a black jaguar. My email address is email@example.com
September 19, 2009 8:49:00 AM EDT
i live the southern alabama, and about 4 years ago me and a buddy of mine were riding our 4wheelers 2 go check my game camera for some deer pictures and when something caught our eyes up in a tree about 70ft up at first we thought it was a black bear but after getting closer we knew it was a black panther it was such a weird feeling of it watching us with his bright yellow eyes. if i were 2 guess i would say he was around 100lbs
October 9, 2009 3:45:00 PM EDT
I live in Lookout Mountain, TN, and on October 25, 2009, at 9:20 pm, I was letting my dogs out at the corner. My two year old suddenly froze and his hair went straight up in a way I'd never seen before. I looked down the street and there was a large, black creature about 6 feet long that leaped across the street, only touching it once. I didn't know much about them, but after researching I made 2 reports. I was still shaking from fear 3 hours later, and I'll never again feel safe walking the dogs at night.
November 1, 2009 11:26:00 PM EST
I am a fifty three year old female grandmother from upper state South Carolina. My daughter called and asked me to pick my granddaughter up from school one day in October of 2009. She attends Tigerville Elementary. The route between my home and the school is very rural and hilly. ON the way I spotted a huge black panther walking on out next to a small pond. I stopped my car an observed because I had never seen one. I told my friends and family and they told me I must be mistaken because no such creatures exist around here, but, I KNOW WHAT I SAW!
January 17, 2010 1:48:00 PM EST
ga. here cumming hwy 20 west 30040 saw a black cat on the road side in a pasture several cars stopped and watched 6-7 seven feet long mid day it had no fear of us at all was close enough to see yellow eyes head was not mountain lion type a little different also within a mile of a river swampy place.stan in ga.
May 23, 2010 8:23:00 PM EDT
I am a male 42 years old. I feel pretty special sometimes becuse i have seen a black panther 3 times in my life so far. The firest time i waqs in my early teens. I was spending the night at my grandpas house in Corinth MS. He woke me up at like around 3am and said put your clothes on, i have something you will want to see. So i did and he walked me down the the creek side just behind his house. The dogs had tree'ed a black panther. It was about 25 feet up laying on a big oak tree branch. It was hissing and grawling. Showing its teeth. I was 11 years old so that would of been around 1979. Then in 1993 me and some friends where camping out on my grandpa's property near where i saw it back in 1979. I was in my grandpa's old house (he had passed by then) and my kids and wife come running into the my house and said its the panther. We all went outside and he was along the deer line. My german shepards were with us and they didnt much care for it and was backing up. My wife and kids went in the house because they said if the dogs are scared then they dont want to be outside. I watched it for a few min then wnt inside aso. Then in 2003 i was deer hunting at White Oak WMA near Savannah TN. It was like 5.30 am and i was walking in to my deer stand. Up ahead of me on the trail i could here what sounded like something after some turkeys. I kept walking up the trail and when i got to about where i thought the sound was comming from I shinned my flash light up the trail. And only about 6 to 8 feet ahead of me stood a black panther. Big yellow eyes,Very musculer body and solid black. It was a big cat, but not as big as a panther you would see at the zoo, I woukld say it was inbetween a zoo panther and a large Bobcat. We both looked at each other for a few seconds, then it turned and pranced away. I felt blessed and scraed. Had i not had my 30-30 rifle with me i would have went back to the truck.
September 3, 2010 10:05:00 AM EDT
im from manchester TN a couple months back i was headed home around 1:00am and i saw somthin running along the road when i caught up to it looked to be three times the size of any bob cat ive saw and was jet black with a very long tail and huge green eyes. i was driven about 50mph and it kept up with me for a good ways before darting into the woods. i didnt know what to make of it never saw anything like it before in my life around here
September 15, 2010 10:28:00 AM EDT
I live in Waxhaw, NC on the southern border about 5 miles from South Carolina. Recently (within the last 3 weeks) I saw what I think was a black Panther. I live on the outskirts of a small town in the country. We are surrounded by thousands of acres of open land. One evening around 11pm, I walked outside to take thee garbage out. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large black image streak across the yard and climb a tree. It happened so fast that I was not able to focus. I got a flash light hoping to see what it was but by the time I got back out, there was nothing there. It was definitely large, moved with grace. I have a 105lb black lab and this was much larger to me.
November 29, 2010 8:02:00 PM EST
When my husband was a young man, around 92, he was walking in the woods in Ashland City. He sat down on a log to rest, noticed his shoe untied and bent over to tie it. When he looked up, he was staring into the green-yellow eyes of a black panther about 15 foot directly in front of him. He sat still for a period and both looked at each other. Then the panther leaped off an vanished as quietly as he had come. All my life I have heard stories of my grandparents and uncles saying how they heard the terrible yowl of panther that sounds like a woman screaming in the woods. My parents have told me memories of picnicing around the country near Knoxville as a child when suddenly a Grandmother or other would yell "painter! get the youngins!" and all the parents would swoop the kids up and cart them off somewhere. I have never seen one with certainty, though one windy fall night I opened my back door to close the screen and saw the outline of a large black body and two green cat eyes locked onto me.
December 2, 2010 2:36:00 AM EST
I live in middle TN,about 12 miles east of Nashville. a town called Old Hickory because the town is directly on the Old Hickory Lake .About a month ago my stepfather and I were down at the boat dock unloading the boat into the water. all of a sudden to our right we both saw a massive black cat sprinting full speed and takle a whitetail deer off in the distance! the cat held the deer in a choke hold in its mouth and then drug the kicking deer into the bushes! we both jumped into the boat to crank up the old boat to head in that direction to maybe see more?! the black cat had Bambi for breakfast and was out of sight!!
December 9, 2010 11:04:00 PM EST
I was hunting In claiborne county november 28 . A place i have hunted for last 10 years . Caught movement out of corner of my to see a black panther,setting on the ground i was shocked ,scared , just had all kinds of emoition going thru my mind.Scary because I could not hear it walk thru the leaves.I pick up gun and started following it thru the scope, I felt like there was to many tree saplings to shot and afraid if I would miss it,it went up the hill in a thicket,grab cell phone and started texting to let someone know where i was ,because of being alone. I set for thirty minutes on a log watching everything. I heard the wood peckers start squaking at the top of the ridge so I figure it got wind of me and moved on . this was 9am ,only thing on my mind was it out that time of day it was looking for something to eat.the squirrels went to the very top of tree and started growling noise. the woods have been died all 4 weeks I hunted there ,no deer ,no dogs that always barked as i went across the fields, i had something last year jump out of a tree behind me never seen it but could tell it was heavy the way it landed.woods went died silent that day,not first time i had this happen ,but first in daytime where i could see it. heard them scream before dark before down next to river.I got people around there tell me about there seeing some hearing them.Had one stalk me while walking out from hunting at night . So what people may think they are around. thinking about setting bait and a camera out try to get pictures, have realize I need a new hunying place,If you want more info email me Tnbass7@hotmail.com
December 10, 2010 11:09:00 PM EST
Back in 2007 when I was driving a truck on I-40 eastbound, about fifteen miles from the junction with I-75, a black panther leapt across the road with two huge bounds. There is no doubt what-so-ever in my mind of what I saw. It's tail was identical to that of a standard puma, but this "cat" was pure black. absolutely no question in my mind.
February 17, 2011 10:07:00 AM EST
We live in E. TN close to Norris Dam up interstate 75 30 miles North of Knoxville. I have not seen this for myself, but 2 of the 4 of my kids have confirmed two sightings on our place within the last month while playing in the pasture near our horse barn. We're on 35 wooded acres and back up to another 20 acres and a valley in the Cumberland mounains. The neighbors have said they have heard rumors but no one has confirmed a sighting. At first I didn't believe the kids, but after seeing all these comments I'm becoming a believer that there could be black panther roaming the nearby woods. I asked the kids if what they saw was brown or brown and black and they said no it was solid black and the size of our Pyrennese dog.
February 28, 2011 10:53:00 AM EST