Bodmin Moor is one of the last remaining unspoiled areas in the South Western part of Cornwall and much of its medieval and prehistoric past has remained untouched by the passing centuries. The Moor is largely dominated by dramatic granite tors which tower over the sweeping expanses of open Moorland. Marshes and bogs on the high moor drain into shallow moorland valleys before the rivers cross onto softer shales around the moor and carve themselves deep river valleys, providing shelter for rich, damp oak woodland.
Historically, Bodmin Moor was a landscape which engendered fear and awe, but which has also provided inspiration for writers, poets and sculptors. It has generated folklore and legend with fact and fiction at times blending into one another as tales had been passed down over the generations.
There is no doubt that Bodmin Moor is a creepy place, and should you happen to find yourself alone as dusk settles in, try not to think about the numerous legends, horror and mystery attached to this wild and rugged landscape. Most of all … try not to dwell on the thought of its beast.
The beast is a result of over sixty sightings that depict a black panther-like big cat—perhaps three to five feet long—sporting white-yellowish eyes; this is combined with claims of the beast mutilating livestock. The evidence was vigorous enough that in 1995; the government ordered an official investigation into the existence of such a beast. This report concluded that no verifiable evidence was presented of a big cat on Bodmin Moor, though it was also careful to state there was no evidence against it, either.
Not long after the report was published, the public was astonished when a young boy discovered a leopard skull lying on the banks of the River Fowey. This discovery fueled interest into the big cats again as some wondered if it had escaped from a nearby zoo. The natural history museum soon discovered the leopard skull to have been imported into the country as part of the leopard skin rug.
Again the controversy disappeared although sightings were being reported regularly until 1998—video footage was released that clearly showed a black animal (possibly a big cat) around 3 to 3 ½ feet long—the video described by the curator of Newquay Zoo and wild cat expert as ‘the best evidence yet’ and that big cats do indeed roam Bodmin Moor—yet another batch of information that was submitted to the government by local MP, Paul Tyler.
If the beast does exist (and many really believe it to) perhaps the animal is a big cat who escaped the zoo or possibly even a private collection that wasn’t reported due to illegal imports; some believe the animal to be a species of wild cat that has been believed to come extinct in Britian more than a hundred years ago. Some who read the reports that describe growling, hissing and even the sounds like a woman screaming are quick to blame the paranormal, yet sightings continue.
The British Big Cat Society (BBCS) says there is real evidence that pumas, panthers, lynxes and other big cats are breeding in Britian. A spokesman has recently stated that photographs, paw prints and fur samples have long shown that big cats live in parts of Britian.
For reports on recent sightings and eyewitness reports, I encourage you to visit http://www.beastofbodmin.co.uk/ who also offers you an email to write to if you have any information, news, pictures or even video of the beast.
The Beast of Bodmin | Cornwall Guide. (n.d.).
Bodmin Moor, Cornwall – The Bodmin Moor Pages. (n.d.).