The Beast of Bladenboro

Beast of Bladenboro creature design by Mel Ayers
Digital Creature Design by Mel Ayers

It’s been a busy month of research and writing around these parts. Catching the tail-end of August, we bring you the Beast of Bladenboro.

Oversized Feline or Rumored Panther?

The first encounter with the “vampire cat”, as it is known to some people, occurred in 1953 on December 29th. A local lady of Bladen County, North Carolina heard a dog barking and crying. When she stepped outside to check her surroundings, she saw a giant, cat-like creature prowling around 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 feline creature throughout Bladenboro, describing it as a hybrid of a bear and a big cat, reaching a length around three feet. Those who saw the beast-like animal said it 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 had the chance to bag a trophy . . . or kill another human.

Vampire Cat or Tabby?

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 say 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?

Designing the Vampire Cat

No one knows exactly, but my thought process behind designing this cryptid was that it 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.

Mel also created a coloring page that you can access here.

Had you ever heard of the Beast of Bladenboro? Do you think it’s possible big cats still live East of the Mississippi?

If you like this creature design, you can check out more of Mel’s cryptids here. And if you’d like to see her original creature designs you can find them on her Instagram @Melcabre2.

You can also have our new zine An Introduction to Cryptozoology and Six Legendary American Cryptids written by T. S. Mart and designed by Mel Ayers by signing up for our free newsletter. Read more about it here, or simply sign up. No obligations. You can cancel at anytime, but we try to put out worthwhile content about cryptids, creatures, and creation.