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California Cryptid Cats

In December of 1967, sightings of a strange cat began in Ventura County, California.

On the 12th of that month and year, Henry Madrid was installing a fence at the Ventura County sewer plant when he spotted a black panther. Madrid kept his eye on the cat and called the sheriff department. Sheriffs arrived and spotted the cat as well. They chased it towards what appeared to be a flat field, but was really an area of sludge covered by a crust. Their car got stuck, and by the time a tow truck arrived to get it out, the cat was long gone.

On December 23, a man went hunting for the panther. He found what he was after, but then was trapped on a 600-foot cliff! It took rescuers four hours to get him down.

Sightings of the cat continued into 1968. On January 9, Kenneth French and his wife spotted it. Kenneth watched the cat while his wife called the sheriff. But, by the time she returned, the cat was gone. "It's pretty embarrassing to have people think you go around seeing black panthers!" Mrs. French said. "Whatever kind of black cat that was, it was bad luck."

More on sightings of black panthers and other mystery cats from California, and the rest of the United States, can be found in my book Cryptid U.S.: Tales of Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, and More from Across America. 

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