WHEN you are walking through the countryside and you come across a puma it gives you quite a shock! The appearance of pumas and other big cats may be dismissed as escaped creatures from zoos or the strong imagination of witnesses but some researchers believe something more supernatural may be afoot.
In 1983 there were a series of sightings around Britain and particularly at Stokenchurch, Chinnor and Bledlow Ridge. The Thame Gazette's front page of June 13th told how Bob O'Neill, of Greenwood Avenue, Chinnor, came across a large cat while walking along a footpath with his grandaughter behind Chinnor cement works. He went to scare the animal away from his granddaughter, Rachel. But the animal flattened its ears, dropped its belly to the ground and continued to advance. The cat got close enough for Bob to hit it twice on the nose with his walking stick before it ran off. Other sightings that year were to occur at Stokenchurch, Bledlow Ridge. Armed police hunted the animal but it always escaped capture.
The fact no one has ever caught one of these big cats is the main reason why paranormal researchers are interested in the subject. A subject they class as alien animals. As Janet and Colin Bord explain in their book Alien Animals: "These mysterious visitors are never caught, and rarely leave the normal traces of excreta or the remains of kills that a hunting big cat would be expected to leave."
Parallels can be drawn with ghosts or even The Loch Ness Monster: hundreds of reliable witness accounts but each time the animal just vanishes. During the army's hunt for The Exmoor Beast (a large cat which attracted national fame) the creature was trapped in a barn and the barn surrounded. When the army went into the building it was empty. It has even been suggested that these are creatures from a parallel universe that slip in and out of our dimension. Certainly even this bizarre explanation goes someway to explaining the mysterious beasts that vanish as quickly as they arrive arrive.
Strange Wycombe, detailing legends and folklore of Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, has been out of print for some time but a few copies of the 1991 edition are still available. See Strange Wycombe page for more details.