|Cryptozoology, BioForteana, Zoological Oddities, Unusual Natural History|
BioFortean Review, (January 2007)
Historical Note: An Ohio What-Is-It
From: Recreation, vol. XI (July - December, 1899), p. 448.
"What is It?"
I should like very much to know the name of the animal described below. I went out coon hunting one night with a party of friends and two dogs. The dogs struck a hot trail and were close to the animal when we overtook them. We were in a cornfield and the dogs were in a small piece of woods, when something jumped the fence from the woods into the cornfield and came within 15 or 20 feet of us before it saw us. It was white, with one black spot as large as my hand on its back, and was built apparently somewhat like a fox. It was as tall as a small hound, had a bushy tail and a gait like a cat.
One of the party thought it was a dog and whistled for it When it heard the whistle it stopped short and then sneaked behind a corn shock. The dogs came up just then, and it went back into the woods. It didn't seem at all afraid, but took its time to it. It jumped to the top rail of a high fence and over without effort.
The dogs soon caught up with it, and one of the party who was in the woods happened to be within 15 feet of it when the dogs jumped on it, but it turned around and hit each dog on the side of the head, turning them end for end. The dogs wouldn't follow it any more, but lay down with all the sand knocked out of them. They are fierce fighters usually, and one of them is pretty heavy, but they were completely whipped. They were scratched on the sides of their heads when we examined them. The animal uttered no sound and didn't seem to fear the dogs.
People living there had heard some strange animal yelling at night, and it had been seen twice beforeonce by an old lady, after dark, who at first thought it a lamb, and again by a young man, who told what an enormous cat he had seen.
I enclose a clipping from a county paper also. Can any one tell me what the animal is? It has not been seen since that night, I believe.
George G. Hibbard, Athens, Ohio.
There is no such species of animal as you describe on this continent. The brute may possibly have been an albino lynx, partially white, with a bit of his natural color on his back, which would appear dark or black in the night. The degree of courage you attribute to him, however, is unusual, if not entirely unknown, in this species. The lynx usually gets away from dogs as fast as he can and never fights unless compelled to. There is absolutely no possibility of this having been a specimen of a new species. The fauna of your State, in fact, of all the States, is well known and well defined by scientists, and there are no missing links. Editor.