At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Tuesday 14 January 2014


 After I first started writing for this great blog I showed some of my articles to my friends and family. They were all very supportive and kind with their feedback and constructive criticism. After reading one of my articles, the one about Cougar sightings in our local county, a friend of mine approached via a private message on Facebook. He was very interested in the article and didn’t know that I had such an interest in reported sightings of weird or out of place creatures.
He told me that while he hadn’t seen any of the fawn or tan colored cougars around here, he did relate to me an incident that happened to him years ago, while he was still in middle school, one about an even more mysterious creature than an out of place cougar. He never told anyone, not even his parents, about it because he was scared of ridicule. Here is his story as he told it to me; his name has been withheld.
  “Back when I was in middle school, I can’t remember the exact year, I was riding on the school bus heading home one afternoon. I live out on the border of Amelia and Chesterfield Counties. As you know it was/is a very remote place with lots of woods, farms and wildlife. The bus route would pass by my house which was on the far side of the highway, drop the kids off on the near side, then make a big circle at an intersection, and then drop off the kids on the opposite side.
          One day after we had dropped off the kids on the near side, we started heading down the highway towards where we would eventually turn. As we went down the road, we passed this huge piece of property that had a large farm house in the middle. The property was a Christmas tree farm where many of us would by our Christmas trees each year. I was just staring out the window when I saw it.
   It was a huge cat-like creature creeping along through the Christmas trees. He was crouching low to the ground, but was still visible the whole time I was looking at him. What really caught my eye, besides the fact that it was so huge, was the color, jet black. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The bus kept on going and when we passed by the same place a few minutes later on the other side of the road it was gone. I’ve never seen anything like it since.”
          Naturally I was very excited to hear this. The most exciting aspect for me was the color. I had come across a few normal phase colored cougars around here before, but nothing in this color.  The concept of large cougar-like animals with a black color phase is nothing new to most people with an interest in Cryptozoology. They are reported all across America, as well as many countries in Europe, Australia and even New Zealand. What makes them more frustrating is that officially no black phased cougars are known to exist either in zoos or in the wild. So what can these things be? Mistaken identity? In some cases sure, but there are a number really compelling cases that suggest something ‘else’.
          I’m really happy that my friend was willing to share this information with me. I have asked him if he could supply me with any further details. As of this writing he has not gotten back to me yet, but I will update everyone when he does.

Editor's note: The picture at the top is of a black panther/leopard (Panthera pardus).  Such a creature is not supposed to be found in the United States, but if everything was where it was supposed to be, we'd live in a simpler world.  The first picture in the middle is of a black jaguar (Panthera onca).  These do exist in South America but they are not supposed to be found in the United States.  The second picture in the middle is the jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) which might also be mistaken for a black panther.  These have been reported from Texas and Florida.

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