; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Texas Encounters: Big Cat Cryptid / Possible Canine Shapeshifter

I received the following narrative today:

Believe it or don’t, these things happened, and I have never been able to explain them away.

To briefly open, I am 60 years old this month, a stable homeowner, married for 26 years. I have raised one wonderful daughter, worked all of my life, paid my taxes, have a small loyal circle of family and friends and a good reputation for honesty. I have never had hallucinations. However, I have always been open-minded about the natural world. I have always had a closer connection to animals than to most people. Cats are especially drawn to me, and I love them. We still rescue strays when we can.

Then, I was 10 years old and walking my German Shepherd dog Nikki on my usual route to my elementary school on a Saturday in broad daylight. We rounded a corner and there was a gigantic black feline. I have owned and loved cats all of my life and know a normal cat when I see one, and this was not. These days, I label it a cryptid.

It was crouched with its bottom in the air. It was enormously muscled with a short manx cat tail. It had gigantic strong hindquarters with extraordinarily long hind feet. Its short pitch black fur gleamed with health. Its eyes were literally the size of tea saucers, round, golden and calm. I, who know cats extremely well, would call it an amused stare. Not a feline expression that I had ever seen until then or ever since (I believe that cats mostly definitely possess a type of sense of humor, but it does not show that way in their eyes). It did not show any aggression or menacing body language. It just crouched there and laughed(?) at us with its eyes.

It did not seem to be quite as long or as tall as my dog Nikki (it was crouching, so hard to tell), but I believe it weighed every bit as much as Nikki in sheer muscle mass (maybe 80 pounds).

After a few transfixed seconds, Nikki proved himself a sensible fellow this time (he was a dog who tried to attack a coiled and rattling rattlesnake) and quite silently and methodically turned around and walked away, and I, still holding his leash, followed him in kind of a trance, neither of us looking back. We walked steadily back to the school, straight up my block toward home. No straining or pulling on the leash whatsoever.

When we were halfway up my block, (my home street ended at the school, so it was across a small street and 4 houses up), I turned around and saw that the giant cat had followed us to the top of the schoolyard. It stood crouched in that same position (rear end up, head turned to the side to look at us) on the low rock wall surrounding the school, watching us with its great round golden eyes.

I never saw it move, but I know it must have been tracking behind us the whole way home – and I know it could have easily caught us. Also, I know that Nikki must have heard and smelled it following, even if I did not, but he never gave a sign. I think maybe Nikki saved at least his life, if not mine, by remaining so calm and I just followed him. That feline could have taken both of us. In hindsight, the calmness of both Nikki and me seems to add an integral type of mysticism to the encounter.

To preempt the usual questions: No, it was not an overgrown domestic manx, a mountain lion, a bobcat, a puma, a lynx or any other wild feline species. There are no pictures of that cat anywhere and never have been, because I have looked for years.

Weird, but true.

I will try to keep this next encounter compact, but it was complicated (I know you must get millions of these e-mails). I told you the first one about the gigantic black manx cat from El Paso. Here is another:

My dorm friend at UT Austin and I walked to a small park as dusk was falling, to practice our guitar lessons. We had not taken or drunk any type of mind-altering substances.

We were walking down a steepish street when I noticed that down the sidewalk from us someone had placed an impressively true-to-life, life-sized statue of a large german shepherd dog right across the sidewalk, facing the street, and completely blocking said sidewalk. I thought that was so odd, but my dorm mate did not seem at all surprised, so I tried to shrug it off. Until we got a bit closer and realized that it was not a statue but a real german shepherd lying so motionless that only his breathing gave him away, with legs stretched out in front of him, hind legs straight next to his rear, tail straight out behind him, and staring straight ahead across the street with ears pricked forward. I was getting uneasy about this because the dog did not twitch an ear or move his head one bit to notice us as we approached him from up the hill – just stared straight ahead of him. This did not seem like normal behavior and I told my dorm mate, who again shrugged it off. She had never owned pets, knew little about them, and did not particularly like them. I, however, grabbed her arm and made her cross the street with me rather than get any closer. I looked at it across the street and it did not move. I stared as we walked by on the other side, and it was looking right in our direction, but I could not tell if it ever looked directly at us. I looked back at it as we proceeded on down the hill, and it never moved.

I stayed uneasy, but we left it behind, reached the small park and climbed on the picnic table and proceeded to strum guitars and sing “Hey Mr. Tamborine Man” (good times J). Shortly, a tiny striped manx cat appeared, not a kitten, but very small (yes, it truly was another manx – same build as the giant one I saw in El Paso with the long hindquarters and long back feet, stubby tail, but it was tinier than normal). It immediately began running round and round our picnic table faster and faster. I was freaking again. I had no idea what it was doing, had never seen a cat do that. Then it stopped, reversed itself and started running faster and faster round and round our table in the opposite direction.

Then it shot up a tree directly over our heads, crossed its paws, laid its little head on its paws and looked directly into my eyes with round golden eyes. Its expression was so wise, with a scary (to me) glint that I interpreted at the time as anticipation. However, as I well knew, this was not a cat expression – they can be wise and they can anticipate, but they do not express it through their eyes like humans do.

I had had enough. I felt like a bulls-eye had been pinned to me. I told my buddy that I wanted to get out of there. When I told her why, she was just puzzled. She felt nothing unusual about any of it. Night was falling and I scanned the park around us. Lo and behold, about a half-football field away a creature skulked from behind some bushes, crossing a small space to disappear behind some other bushes. It was canine, but I can tell you now – it was not a recognizable dog to me. It was not shaped like a house dog and it did not move like a dog. It was larger than a coyote. I had an impression of severe scruffiness. I could not see its face at all clearly, only that it was a weird, creeping, stomach low to the ground canine. I had never seen a silhouette like that, including wolves that I had seen in books and zoos (not much tv for me at that time).

At that point, a figure of a man(?) emerged directly from behind the bushes into which the canine had skulked. Night had almost fallen, but I could see that he was very tall, had long ratty seeming hair and a long ratty beard, I could see his clothes were literally in tatters, and I could see that his fingernails were very long on hands that hung down by his sides. I could not see his eyes. He shambled (and I use that word correctly, implying some kind of walking disorder) directly towards us across the park. The canine did not re-appear.

I had heard no noises from the bushes at all, so I concluded he could not have been attacked by the canine in the few seconds they must have met behind the same set of bushes. As he came closer I saw ratty hair and beard, his long fingernails and tattered clothing more clearly. Alarm bells were going off non-stop in my head. I decided that we were seeing a werewolf and took off running leaving my pal behind. She followed me. We ran out of the park back to the bustling UT streets.

Finally, headed for the dorm, we were crossing a very short crosswalk when I noticed that an old, arthritic, grizzled white dog was slowly crossing from the other side. I looked at it as it passed right by me, as I do all animals, and it stopped dead in its tracks, crouched awkwardly on all four legs and stared directly into my eyes with totally blind eyes – milky blue-white with no pupils. I stared back unbelievingly. My heart was still thumping from running and my mind was still shocky over all that had just happened, and now it was still continuing with people and cars all around us. It craned its head to look over its shoulder at me, not turning its body around, still in this awkward, painful looking four-legged crouched position. I leaped away from it and headed for home. People did notice this incident and stared at the dog and at me.

At this point, I heard a horn blaring and whirled back around to see that a car had driven right up to the crosswalk, inches away and with lights full on the dog, and was honking and honking its horn to move it out of the road. It did not seem to notice the car, the lights or the horn. It just squatted and it was still staring after me. People were standing and staring at the dog.

I ran back to my dorm and went to bed. It changed my life forever, but I stopped telling anyone. I had never heard of cryptids. I eventually concluded to myself that we ran into something to do with magic.

I discovered cryptids finally several years ago, and went straight to the internet. I cannot find anything like the experiences I had online, but I am thinking perhaps there was one or more of what they call shapeshifters? Or, maybe it was magic?

Anyway, sorry this is so long. I have contacted Ken Gerhard and he seems interested, but I know he is busy with current cases, as you probably are. However, if you ever find time and have any theories, I sure would like someone who knows about these things to comment about them.

Thank you,

Miriam Pashby
Round Rock, Texas

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