North America

Wampus Cat

Wampus Cat

Photograph by Flickr user Natalie Manuel.

The legend of the Wampus Cat is still told in the mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina. A long time ago, it is said, a Cherokee woman spied on her husband and the men of the tribe as they were away on a hunting trip and told sacred tales around the campfire that women weren’t supposed to hear. She hid by wearing the skin of a wildcat, but was found by the tribesmen. The tribe’s medicine man cursed her to always wear the skin of the cat, essentially turning her into a cat monster. She was doomed to roam the mountains, wailing for her lost humanity. Those who wander the mountains at night are very likely to hear those screams. A few sightings of the Wampus Cat claim the animal resembles a cougar but walks upright, with red glowing eyes and fangs that put other cougars to shame.

Interestingly in the community of Burnt Hickory, in Dallas Georgia, the tale has lived on as well. Stories and sightings are still reported to this day. Some even say that their particular brand of Wampus Cat is the result of genetic experimentation.

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