The following is from actual events. I grew up on a farm in the Westside community. By the way, I was a Deal. My daddy always had hunting dogs. Our smokehouse was only about 25 ft from our house and behind it we had a dog pen. I can't say the exact year but I figure it was 1961 or 1962. That spring our bird dog, Queen had a litter of puppies. One night she barked all night, we didn't worry about it because we assumed it was a raccoon or opossum. The field behind our house and the smokehouse had been freshly plowed by daddy. The next morning, we noticed that there were very large tracks leading up to the fence. Then looking further, we found 2 more sets of tracks. One pair was smaller than the other two. You could also see where they had rolled in the fresh dirt and could tell they had a long tail. Later that afternoon, my Uncle Clarence Deal came over and we showed him the tracks. Right away, Uncle Clarence said it was a puma cat or mountain lion.
That same year in the fall, we were just getting through eating supper. Back then, all the windows and doors were open. We washed our hands on the back porch. I went out and was washing my hands and I heard something down in the branch that sounded like a women screaming.It sounded like she was being tortured. It made my hair stand up on my nect and I got chills, it was that eerie. Mama was already washing dishes and as usual didn't care to listen but Daddy came out and we listened. It was awful scary. We didn't know what to do because if someone was being tortured we knew they needed help. We didn't even have a telephone at the time so we couldn't just call someone. But after a few minutes, it just stopped. We listened for a while longer but did not hear it again. Early the next morning, we went down to the branch but could not see any signs of anyone being there. Then we discovered that when a puma hollers, it sounds just like a woman screaming. So we then knew what it was.
For the next few years in the spring and fall, we always saw signs of a puma. Also heard them in the night. Then one night, I saw one with my very own eyes. We did not have air conditioning and my bed was right up to the window and many hot nights, you would just hang your head out close to the screen trying to get a little breeze. One night, I woke up hot and turned over to hand my head out the window and there was a puma looking right at me. I froze and didn't move until it was gone. It was only there for a few seconds but I remember how gold the eyes seemed to be and the coat was slick and smooth. It was beautiful. Needless to say, I didn't put my head out that window anymore.
As far as the black panther goes, yes they are around. It was approximately 1974 when my brother attempted to catch one. He borrowed a big steel trap from my uncle and baited it with dead pigs. The trap was too small (and it was a big trap) to hold him. He was longer than the trap and so he could get the pig and still escape because the trap door could not close on him. My parents had a garden in this area and you could see huge tracks there. We worried it would get Mama when she was back there by herself. Several people who lived in the community would see it run across the road late at night. My brother and his wife followed it one night because it was going down the middle of the road. And they said it was very big and very black and had a long tail. This was all in the area of Wolf Pen Creek.
You know how thick the woods were back then and there are plenty of thick woods around here today and you can never be sure what can be in there.
I have one more story but will save it for another day. Sorry this was rather long.
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