During the late
1800s, numerous articles were written about East Texans who were attacked and
on some occasions eaten by black cats.
1874, the Galveston Weekly news printed a gruesome story about an attack. The
article told of the horrible death suffered by a black man who had set out to
deliver provisions to a purchaser in a Louisiana parish by wagon.
only been gone about 15 minutes when his team of horses came running back without
a driver. Others on the scene immediately set out to find him.
to the article, the body of the man was lying in the road and a huge black panther
was standing over it, relentlessly gnawing on one of the shoulders. The search
team retreated and returned with a gun. Upon their return, they found the panther
still deeply engaged in devouring his victim. They fired their guns but did not
manage to kill the man eating beast. They watched him disappear into the Pineywoods.
article written in 1881, tells of a panther attack near present-day Lumberton,
located in Hardin County. Two black men were returning home to Beaumont
from a camp on the East Texas Railroad and were attacked by two fierce panthers.
The article recounts how the two men saved their own lives by clubbing
away at the two angry beasts. The fight was said to have lasted over 20 minutes
between the hungry cats and the two men who were determined to survive. The cats
finally retreated, however, both men were said to have very little clothing left,
as the beasts had shredded their clothes right off of them.
article published in the Galveston Daily News near the turn of the century, describes
a moonlight encounter of a young boy and a black cat. A steam boat captain was
taking a load of supplies up the Sabine. He ran into low water and was forced
to anchor until water levels rose.
The captain had brought his 14-year-old
son on this particular trip. One evening while they were anchored the young boy
heard his dogs baying. The moon was particularly bright and the boy quickly saw
what it was his dogs were barking at. A large black panther was perched in the
branches of a cypress tree.
The boy fired a shot and the cat fell to the
ground. His dogs immediately rallied around the cat. Unfortunately, the cat was
merely stunned. The cat began defending himself with all of his might and every
claw and fang he had.
to the old article, the boy grabbed a pine knot and struck the panther across
the head, killing it in a single swipe. The Captain had the panther mounted for
his son, which he hung as a trophy in the captain’s pilot house of his steamer.
Over a century and a half later East Texans are still reporting black
Palestine man will never
forget the time he saw a calf carcass hanging in the tops of the pine trees along
the trail he was riding. In or about 2009, the man and his family were on a trail
ride through a densely forested area. He said the horses became spooked and started
dancing around anxiously through the trails. The nervous horses began to lather
with sweat in the East Texas heat
When he finally calmed his horse, he stopped in the trail
to let his horse rest for a moment while the others went ahead. It was at that
time he felt something warm and thick dripping on him and his horse. When he looked
up he saw the remains of a calf draped across branches at least 20ft in the air.
He and his family wasted no time leaving the area.
woman from Houston County says she saw a black cat during the early 1980s. She
lived east of Grapeland on
a large hill overlooking a large hay meadow and three ponds. She was a registered
nurse and often put in long hours at the doctor’s office where she worked. Most
evenings she made it to her home around dusk, just as the sun leaves the sky and
sinks into the darkness of the Pineywoods.
One particular evening as she
approached her house she noticed something different about an old, dark- green
Cadillac that was parked in a grassy area across from her front yard. As she drove
along the dirt road approaching the hill she noticed something large on top of
the old Cadillac, from about 150 yards. She could not imagine what it was but
as she neared the hill, approximately 50 yards closer she noticed something that
appeared to be twitching. That twitching motion reminded her of how a cat twitches
its tail occasionally as it lounges around.
Her heart began to throb as
she realized what was lying on top of the old Cadillac. She slowed her car but
continued up the hill. She had never seen a black panther but had heard plenty
of stories, which she had always believed were only tall tales told by old men.
she crept up the hill in her car her heart raced as she realized she might get
a close up glance at the legendary East
Texas beast. Just as she topped the hill the black beast lifted its head and
locked its eyes on her. She stopped her car and stared as the stealthy cat made
haste. She drove up to the Cadillac hoping to catch another glimpse of the creature
before he disappeared, but it was too late. He had vanished into the thicket without
the winter of 1999, a couple was traveling home along a back road in Houston County
that passed a goat farm. The goat farm reminded both of them of black cat tales
and they began to discuss the illusive black panther. Neither was sure if they
believed the black cat banter, as neither of them had ever seen one.
to the couple, about half a mile past the goat farm entrance something bolted
across the red dirt road in front of them. A dark object appeared to practically
fly across the road. The woman said she was certain creature did not even touch
The man began to fumble nervously but quickly in the back seat,
on the floor of his extended cab Nissan. He kept a spot light in his truck for
various reasons, but this was about to be a first. He grabbed the light and shined
it into the field just in time to see what appeared to be a black panther running
full speed across a field.
The couple estimated the cat to be six feet
long, not including his tail. They said he bounded across the meadow and cleared
the winding creek bed twice with ease. Both said the cat never stopped and never
Tales of mysterious creatures are on tap in East
Texas. While not everyone has seen evidence that certain creatures, such as
black panthers exist, many area residents believe the big cats are still hunting
and thriving in the Pineywoods. For those who have heard their cries coming from
the forests that is all the evidence they need. For others, the proof lies in
the look on the faces of those who claim to have encountered or seen the black
The Pines With Dana Goolsby"
August 19, 2011 Column
Ghosts & Legendary Creatures | Texas
from Texas' Past | East Texas