Beast of Bodmin Moor
The Beast of Bodmin Moor is a mysterious big cat who is said to roam the moor, which became the centre of big cat sightings with occasional reports of mutilated slain livestock.
Tales of mysterious large animals are scattered around Britain, with sightings as far apart as Kent and Scotland, however most reports centre around Bodmin Moor.
Photographs and even films had been taken of these beasts, but there has been little physical evidence to support the sightings. Locals in mid-Cornwall believe the animal could be just one of a number of big cats roaming the area. Around 60 other big cat sightings have been recorded in the area since 1983. Experts believe there is a population of big cats in and around mid-Cornwall, however, a government report (1995) concluded, "there was no evidence to show big cats existed on the moor".
Recently a 14-year-old boy discovered a skull with large fangs, in the River Fowey on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Could this be the remains of the beast? Is there more than one beast?
The skull was taken to the National Museum in London for analysis where it was discovered to be a leopard skull. It was also discovered that the animal did not die in Bodmin Moore as a large insect egg sack was found inside the skull. This egg sack could only have been laid in a hot country such as Africa or India. On closer inspection, it was found that there were cut marks and evidence on the back of the skull indicating that it had been removed using a sharp blade. The cut marks, the back of the skull, the egg case and the species identity finally answered the riddle of the beast's skull. This leopard had been killed for a trophy, then as a hoax, it had been dropped in a Bodmin river, where it was eventually found.
Best evidence yet?
Recently, falconer Martin Whitley of Dorset took this photograph whilst on a Hawk Walk with American tourists near Hound Tor. Mr Whitley claims that there is "definitely nothing supernatural" about the animal which completely dwarfed a German short-hair pointer.
"We watched it for about 400 yards as it came closer. It was in no hurry and seemed completely indifferent to us. There was a group of kids on a nearby tor making quite a racket and it ignored them too."
Experts from the British Big Cat Society have studied the picture and ruled out a Cat:
"I wouldn't completely rule out a dog or a pony, but my money would be on a hairy wild boar"
Danny Bamping, British Big Cats Society