December 31, 1953. Bladenboro, North Carolina. Two dogs are found dead, but these attacks were most unusual. The dogs were torn to shreds, their heads ripped off and their skulls crushed. Nothing that was known of in the area could’ve done such a thing. But this was only the start of the horror in Bladenboro…
January 1, 1954. Two more dogs are found dead, one chewed up badly. Another was found dead the next day. Two more the following day. The police were growing concerned. They ordered an autopsy on one of the dogs and found he had ‘virtually no blood left in him.’
On January 5, a pet rabbit was found decapitated. Two days later, another dog was found dead, also headless. Locals started reporting many similar grisly finds, from cows, to hogs, to mutilated chickens, to pigs whose blood had been completely drained and skulls completely crushed. One eyewitness described the attacker as ‘four and a half feet long, bushy and resembling either a bear or a panther.’ Another described it as weighing ‘150 pounds.’ And another witness said he could hear it howling in the night.
Another sighting triggered a party of hunters to go in search of the elusive monster. They found tracks that showed claws an inch long and suggested it had a mate and offspring. The day after the hunt, a few locals reported seeing a large creature they described as a ‘huge mountain lion’ wandering on the fringes of the suburbs.
Police were desperate. They attempted to hunt for the beast with their police dogs, but the dogs refused to follow the creature’s trail. Can’t blame them. On January 6, more than 800 people armed with shotguns showed up to hunt for the beast, with 1,000 people showing up the next day. Everyone was terrified. Everyone had a gun. Fear was rife.
Some thought it was a panther. Others, a coyote. Or maybe a wolf, a bear, a cougar, a lion or even a wild police dog. But was it a hoax? In a startling revelation, the Mayor of the town said it was, done to ‘generate some publicity for the town’. But was he telling the truth? Was that the end of the story?
49 years later. 2003. Near Bladenboro, a spate of dog fatalities was reported, as well as numerous household pets. In 2008, several dogs were found dead in the area. And then, on June 13, 2013, three horses and one dog were found dead in Bladenboro. The horses had puncture wounds on their necks and they were covered in sweat, as if they had been running hard. The next day, another dog on the same farm was also found dead, again, found with two puncture marks on his neck. Except that night, there was a witness. And what was her description of the beast she saw? It exactly matched the first sighting in 1953…
Was the Mayor lying to diffuse the situation? Remember, all the locals were packing some serious heat. Or was there some sort of panther and its offspring’s offspring now walk the same land? Or was it some other mysterious terrifying creature?
Whatever the beast was, or perhaps is, it’ll likely forever remain a legend of Bladenboro.
So I’ll give this creature an 85 on my patented Cryptid-o-Meter, putting it third in the list of 14, with de Loys’ Ape still bottom and the Iliamna Lake Monster still holding top spot.
The Beast of Bladenboro. A fascinating cryptid indeed.
1) An artist’s impression of the Beast of Bladenboro (credit: cryptidz.wikia.com)
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