Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A London-related 'big cat' tale...

"Very glad to see the Beast of Sydenham is still alive and well. My husband saw it in Dulwich Woods early one Sunday morning whilst walking our two Doberman a couple of years back. The two dogs were very anxious and wouldn't leave his side!

Round about the time the man was attacked nr Wells Park I definitely could smell 'big cat' musk in our garden.. and having been 'sprayed' at a Wildlife Park visit..it's a smell you NEVER forget. The policeman who attended the incident swears it was a big cat too!"

Sunday, 2 August 2015

South-East London Leopard Sighting

"My ex came to visit earlier in the week (end of July 2015), and was woken up around 5am by some pigeons on my balcony. She went to my kitchen which overlooks ****** ***** at Sydenham and was amazed when she saw a very large black animal walking along the road. She is fairly certain that it was a panther. My kitchen window looks north, and straight down Seeley towards Sydenham hill station. The animal was on the left hand pavement looking from my kitchen, ver...y near to the entrance of the old early Victorian Kingswood House. Apparently a car drove past it and the animal froze but made no attempt to hide. If the driver had been looking he would have seen it for sure! It walked off in the direction of the station. To the right, and only a few hundred yards away is the ancient Dulwich Wood."

"I also saw a panther In the early 80's when I was returning to Farnham after a gig in London at around 2am near Wisley on the A3. I had stopped by the lake next to the A3 to have a pee. I got into my car, and pulled back onto the road. As I accelerated, I saw an animal coming towards me also on the road, I passed it on my side of the car and had a very clear view of what I was certain at the time was a large black panther. It completely freaked me out as only moments earlier I had been outside.
I wonder why more people haven't seen them as it seemed quite confident and could easily have darted into the side of the road."

Over the years I've received sporadic reports of a large black cat in and around Sydenham. I received photographs a few years ago of a domestic cat that had been eaten by a large black cat and in the same week a jogger, running with his dog, was chased by a "panther" at Dulwich Wood. Although the story from 2005 of the man who claimed to have been attacked by a black leopard was most certainly a hoax; it is very likely that a melanistic leopard does roam the area. If one looks at Sydenham on a map you'll notice several wooded parks dotted around the area, and it's also worth noting that I often receive reports from Bromley too which is just four miles from Sydenham. If one takes this into consideration then a black leopard around Sydenham could also have a territory that covers parts of Surrey and Kent; taking in West Wickham, Chislehurst etc.
Although I'm often dubious of reports of 'big cats' being seen more central to London it is worth taking into consideration that Brixton is only four or so miles from Sydenham!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A leopard in '60s London...

Here's a fantastic piece of footage from the 1960s showing a woman walking her pet leopard down the streets of swingin' London...the react of the poor dogs is priceless as is the inclusion of the woman in a leopard-skin fur coat! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/good-to-share/10596046/Prowling-the-streets-of-London-with-a-Leopard.html

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Forest Hill sighting...

"I saw a cat like creature in Forest Hill. I was in the Millennium Albion Woods and it ran past us, we disturbed it. I was freaked out as I was with my kids. It was not a deer, muntjac are supposed to inhabit this green area. I know what deer look like, this was a black feline animal, very swift, it was large too, so not a domestic cat.  It all happened so quickly and totally unexpected so it was difficult to make much out. What really caught my eye was its black colour, it moved very quickly like a cat, I would've expected small muntjac in there I have seen them elsewhere and this was not a deer. It was too fluid and powerful. It's size I would say was appx three foot from head to back legs. I can't say for sure I saw it's tail I'm afraid. It happened in an instant my kids didn't see it at all. It was bigger than a domestic cat, much bigger, obviously very shy. It reminded me of TV programmes I've watched about pumas or lynx. I thought, "I saw a deer it can't have been a big cat" but my eyes told me it was a cat. I'm convinced. I had never known of their existence until I got home and did a bit of research which is where I came across your stuff. It happened at about 11.30am on Tuesday 28th October, 2014. In the Albion Millennium Gardens in Forest Hill off Albion Villas Way".

Friday, 17 October 2014


Author Della Farrant has just had published HAUNTED HIGHGATE (The History Press), a fascinating a collection of weird and wonderful stories from the Highgate region. A review/interview will be coming shortly but until then you can purchase your copy from Amazon by clicking HERE

Monday, 13 October 2014

'Panther' sighting in Surrey?

"I have literally just seen it too whilst out on a run (12/10/2014 at 1pm)!

I was running along Rickman Hill Road in Coulsdon, when I saw what looked like a large jet-black dog cross my path about 100 yards ahead. I couldn't get a glimpse of its head but had very large paws and a long tail that curled upwards at end. Having originally assumed it was a dog I carried on running, expecting there to be a driveway that it had walked into, but it was just dense woodland!

Just arrived back home and searched online and found this post, turns out I'm not going mad!"

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The beast of Svendroog Castle

The beast of Svendroog Castle - For those of you who followed 'big cat sightings back in the '60s and '70s, there was once much fervour and chaos created in the vicinity of Shooters Hill when it was claimed that a large cat was on the loose. Although the panic died down after a few weeks due to lack of evidence the area became cemented in big cat folklore. Of course, the best thing about such cat flaps (excuse the pun!) is when one still receives reports from these areas decades later.

This morning (25th September 2014) I received an interesting email from a lady who I had met many years ago whilst conducting a talk around that particular area. She had been walking with her husband on the morning of the 25th September 2014 near the ominous-sounding Svendroog Castle when they both observed a huge black cat sitting on its haunches and staring into a clump of undergrowth as if stalking rabbits, as a domestic cat would with mice. Now, when one considers that in 1963 it was rumoured - but completely false - that a cheetah was on the loose at Oxleas Wood - it was nice to hear that the couple had in fact observed a black leopard. The animal then quickly turned and disappeared into vegetation before the woman in question could get a photo.

I hope of course that this sighting will not urge some 126 policeman, armed with 21 dogs, an array of soldiers, RSPCA and ambulance staff to take to the woods as they did back in 1963. Amazing to think that these 'authoritative' figures covered over 800 acres in search of a creature that they knew nothing about, and was likely to have been a puma judging by reports so where the cheetah came into the affair is anybody's guess - although I have my theory, as mentioned briefly in my Mystery Animals of the British Isles: London book.

I am still amazed that authorities are called out to look into routine 'big cat' sightings and I do wonder as to why they pick and choose certain cases over others; after all; it's very rare for them to be called out to rescue a child from the jaws of a salivating leopard but now that I've dubbed this creature the 'beast of Svendroog castle' I'm sure the local populace will be having nightmares for weeks and keeping their pets...and children locked away as the curtain of dusk falls...mind you if one visits Svendroog Castle you could just imagine some strange lord of the manor keeping a leopard or two in his dank basement centuries ago. Photograph shows the hunt for the 'beast of Shooters Hill'.