This month’s Cryptid Creature Design by Mel Ayers features the Beast of Bladenboro.
The first encounter with this “vampire cat”, as it is known to some people, occurred in 1953 on December 29th. After hearing a dog bark and cry, a local lady of Bladen County, North Carolina stepped out of her home to check her surroundings and saw a giant, cat-like creature prowling her neighbor’s yard. That night, all remained calm. But two days later, on New Year’s Eve, a local farmer found a couple of his dogs dead, the blood drained from their bodies.
The dog mutilations didn’t stop as more witnesses reported seeing the creature throughout Bladenboro, describing it as a hybrid of a bear and a big cat. Reaching a length around three feet, the beast had the face of a powerful feline and a long tail. When word of its presence hit the press, hunters flocked to the area in an attempt to claim this creepy cryptid as a prize, but authorities put end to the search before anyone bagged a trophy . . . or killed another human.
Some thought the Beast of Bladenboro was the extinct species of the Carolina panther. But the coloration certainly didn’t read any species of panther. Eyewitnesses said the pelt of the vampire cat looked more like the common house cat—the tabby. It is also well recorded that Carolina panthers are, in fact, extinct.
So what is this feline beast, really?
In my thought process, this cryptid needed to be bulky like a bear yet slender like a cat. These attributes are quite contradictory though, so I tried my best by giving the creature a thick chest, neck, and head along with dense, strong forelimbs and long sleek hindquarters. Keeping the face feline was key, but it’s a vampire cat so I decided to give it vampire fangs…or saber-toothed tiger teeth.