A few years back now, I was told about a big black cat sighted on an open playing field - right on my doorstep in Lynemouth, Northumberland. Alas, this was before I had acquainted myself with preternatural research so inevitably, I missed the chance to investigate the subject at that time. Since then I had thought very little about the sighting – until now.
On Tuesday, January 5, my partner Kelly returned home from visiting a friend who lives on the “other side of the line” (a local derogatory phrase used to describe the opposing side of the village, which was divided by a railway line until the 1980s - it worked both ways of course!) Anyway, Kelly went on to tell me that around the same time the cat was sighted her friend had encountered the creature in roughly the same spot. She claimed the “panther” was stooped low to the ground, with its tail “pricked up - as if it was hunting for prey”.
Therefore, the following Saturday – January 9, to be precise – I decided to take advantage of the recent snowfall, which had plagued the country for the preceding week: if the beast was still lurking in these parts, I might stand a good chance of tracking some footprints or better still, capturing a snapshot of the animal against the snowy backdrop – or so I thought.
Well, this is were it gets weird. Armed with a digital camera and notepad, Kelly and I headed out towards our back gate where we were met by one of our neighbours, Anne. Anne happened to mention that she too was heading out with her camera as a local man by the name of Colin Cooper had apparently been out walking in a field and found some curious-looking footprints, which he had subsequently photographed.
By this juncture, I was positively bemused by the situation that had arisen: what were the chances of bumping into someone looking for the same thing at exactly the same time, on the exact same day? It wasn't like we were going blackberry picking, was it?
I asked Anne if she would be so kind as to take me to meet the gentleman who had taken the photographs; she gladly obliged.
When I arrived at the man's house, I introduced myself to Colin and explained the situation, whereupon, he invited me into his home to view the pictures. In honesty, due to the small image display on the camera, I was reluctant to express an opinion of what I thought the footprints were, although I did request he e-mail the pictures to my account for closer review.
As we headed over to where Colin had taken the photos, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manoeuvre through the winter wonderland bestowed on our journey. So much so that I ended up stumbling onto a concealed pond, which decided to give way as I ventured over its icy depths. Luckily for me, it was only knee-deep and I squelched home (miserably) in boots filled with freezing-cold, stinking pond water. On a brighter note, it could have been a lot worse!
Unfortunately, I failed to locate any evidence that suggests an ABC is actively inhabiting the rural borders of our village, although I will certainly be keeping my ear to the ground in the future.
I have still yet to receive the desired pictures from Colin, although I will be sure to keep you all informed of any developments with this case.
If anyone knows of any ABC sightings in and around Lynemouth, Northumberland, please feel free to contact me via my e-mail below.