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.
He had 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.
According 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
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
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.
According 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 cat sightings.
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 and humidity.
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.
As 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 a
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.
According 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 road.
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
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 looked back.
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 beasts.
"In The Pines With Dana
19, 2011 Column