Call of the Cryptid: Beast of Bodmin Moor — Phantom wildcat of Cornwall


Wikipeda maintains there’s “no verifiable evidence” of large wildcats in Bodmin Moor, England, but many locals and a BBC story make it seem definite!

Beast of Bodmin Moor – Real or Not?

Let’s face it: Not all cryptid stories are believable. Some have hardly any supporting evidence, and covering them can seem like a joke. However, in my short time researching cryptids, I’ve already found some creatures that sound highly plausible. The so-called “Beast of Bodmin Moor”— a type of large wildcat — is one such animal. In fact, I’m close to not even calling it a “cryptid” at all, because evidence favoring its existence is rather compelling. Some claim to have spotted large cats in Cornwall, England, and other places nearby.

Skeptics Could Be Wrong on This One…in Fact, They Probably Are

Oddly enough, the easiest skeptical source is the Wikipedia article on the cryptid. That article doubts the Beast of Bodmin Moor could maintain a breeding population, adding that “climate and food supply issues would make such purported creatures’ survival in reported habitats unlikely.”

While some of us are automatically skeptical of cryptids, this Wikipeda page is flat-out wrong when it says there is “no verifiable evidence” of a big cat. Although cats have been called the “unofficial mascot of the Internet,” it’s not merely trendy, fanciful thinking that large felines could be roaming the English countryside.

In fact, in 1994, BBC 2 reporter Phil Fairclough reporter had a special called Search for the Beast, with some dramatic visuals of sheep slain by the “Beast of Bodmin Moor.”
A local named Rosemary Rhodes even captured compelling footage of a large, panther-like animal. If that’s not enough, it’s not the stereotypical blurry footage you so often find in cryptid cases.

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The special consults London Zoo’s big cat keeper, Douglas Richardson, who verifies it was not a house cat, but a black leopard. However, Marc Chandler of the Dartmoor Wildlife Park says he’s 100% sure it’s a puma.

Others still maintain it’s a black panther. Basically, unless you’re a cat specialist extraordinaire, you might not know what specific kind of animal appears in the video. However, one thing is clear: It is indeed a big cat.

The Attacks

Although big cat attacks are rare, a local named Jane Fuller says she was attacked by a huge black cat under a full moon! Her account is one of the scariest portions of the documentary. While the Wikipedia article suggests the Beast of Bodmin Moor couldn’t thrive in the area, BBC argues that it’s “wild and remote” with plentiful livestock. In addition to sheep, a large cat has attacked at least one farmer’s pony, and the man even shows the animal’s wounds in Search for the Beast.

People may be skeptical because the British tabloid, The Sun published a photo of the creature, revealed to be a mere house cat. Also, some accounts seem less credible than others, such as when one person referred to a “terrifying scream that sounds unusually human.”  Accounts like that sound more on the “campfire tale” side to me, and I doubt I’m alone.

However, the attacked sheep are real. Also, Cornwall Police Officer Peter Keene says local police officers have seen the creature. Farmer Robert Goodenough shows the unusual, cat-like scratches on sheep carcasses, and that the bones have been stripped clean. There’s also footage of a headless turkey found up a tree. It’s gruesome, but it’s clearly evidence, and there’s sufficient reason to doubt that somebody just planted it up there. Quite simply, it pairs together well with the other evidence shown.

Where Do These Big Cats Come from?

This isn’t the Beast of Bodmin Moor, but it’s so cute and ferocious! Rowr! It’s actually a baby panther at the Tierpark Berlin zoo on July 13, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

BBC 2 posits the animals were dangerous exotics kept as pets and they either escaped or were released into the wild. In fact, people are still keeping and sometimes releasing big cats in the area. So, why the element of mystery to begin with? Why is this even considered a “cryptid?” It’s because, for whatever reason, some people doubt the stories. However, the documentary has audio of an anonymous caller admitting to police that he released a puma!

Honestly, does all this sound like “no verifiable evidence” to you? Are these farmers staging these sheep mutilations to get their names in the paper? Probably not. In fact, we know of a similar problem with a different animal in the Florida Everglades: Large snakes. Long story short, I feel comfortable saying BBC 2 has verified this creature’s existence, despite some strange, lingering doubts.

Conclusion: This Creature Is Real and Skeptics Can Be Wrong

This cryptid is entertaining, but it needn’t be particularly legendary or spooky. Sure, you can check out Adam Stark’s 2016 film, The Beast of Bodmin Moor,  but I’m ready to call this a verified, de-mystified animal. It probably never belonged on a “cryptid” list to begin with!
See, although I’m often a skeptic myself, I know that sometimes skeptics can get it wrong. In fact, they may even have some quaint motives for denial.

Where I live, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) controversially denied the presence of mountain lions in the region for years. However, it seems their presence has become undeniable.  The DNR has basically come out of the closet and admitted the big cats are around.

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I have reason to believe this, too, as my own mom says she saw one while out on a walk!  Would my mom lie to me?  I suppose it’s possible, but not likely in this case.  Anyway, The Beast of Bodmin Moor is certainly real, and someone should update its Wikipedia page.

What are your thoughts on The Beast of Bodmin Moor? Let us know in the comments!