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Black Panthers Seen in the Piney Woods: Fact or Fiction?

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The legends of black cats living in the Piney Woods of Texas have long been told, but whether they’re fact or fiction remains to be seen. Black panther tales dating back close to two centuries speak of an eerie scream like that of a woman said to accompany a sighting of these dark and mysterious beasts in East Texas. Although the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has stated that black panthers do not exist in the Lone Star State, those who have spotted something dark, sleek, and strange (which a TPWD biologist has said is more likely a black hog or an otter) are filled with fear at the sight of it.

Tales of missing pets or livestock, their disemboweling, and sometimes their remains being found hanging high in the trees have fueled beliefs by East Texans that a black beast of some sort resides in the Piney Woods. They say the cries people hear are piercing in the night, and one you wouldn’t soon forget if it happened to fall on your ears. But why or how is it that such stories would begin to unfold?

Black Panthers Seen in the Piney Woods: Fact or Fiction?

Photo: Pixabay

Before World War II, the gulf marshes of East Texas were enormous fields of sea cane. It’s said that as the evening light disappeared, black panthers would emerge from the sea cane marshlands en route to higher ground, in search of a meal. It was also said that their prey could consist of livestock or humans. During the Civil War, the East Texas families of Confederate Army soldiers would tell how their windows were barred and shuttered at night in an effort to keep out panthers. Over the course of the late 1800s, there were a number of articles printed with respect to “panther” attacks, including some victims who were said to be eaten, but it should be noted that many of these, unless otherwise stated, were likely cougars, rather than black panthers.

Black Panthers Seen in the Piney Woods: Fact or Fiction?
Photo: Needpix

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