Wampus Cat – The American Werecat
When you were a kid, did your mom or dad ever tell you to, “be good … or else?” (D.C. McGannon of The Monster Guys Podcast says: “I would always be like, ‘Or else, what?’ Hehe …”)
“Eat your food, or the boogeyman will get you.”
“Don’t suck your thumb …”
“Stop pulling Suzie’s hair …”
“If you don’t leave your brother alone … or …”
“… or the BOOGEYMAN will get you!”
Parents throughout the centuries and in many cultures have threatened children into good behavior by invoking this usually male, non-descript embodiment of terror.
Well, for D.C. it wasn’t the boogeyman, rather it was the … Wampus Kitty (or, Wampus Cat)!
“Growing up if we were naughty, or weren’t listening, or whatever other cause for disciplinary measure our parents decided they needed help with, it was time for the Wampus Kitty to make a showing. Not going to sleep, arguing with each other, staying out too late playing football, or generally misbehaving … you could count on the Wampus Kitty making his rounds. If you didn’t behave, the Wampus Kitty would come down from the trees and devour you.”
(And you wonder why D.C. is just a little off. You don’t know the half of it, lol.)
It wasn’t until years later in our constant research of the monster world that The Monster Guys realized the wampus cat was a real thing.
In Native American legend, the wampus cat was a woman who was punished for violating the tribe’s laws and turned into a mountain lion. It is believed she still haunts the forests of Tennessee and other areas in the South USA to this day.
The Arkansas Howler, a similar creature that has been classified as a cryptid, is thought to be similar in myth. Many variations of the wampus cat exist in the U.S., especially in the South and along the East Coast.
Stuck in a hybrid state between cat and woman, the wampus cat will devour those it comes across. It is also believed that when you hear this wildcat’s terrible howls, death is drawing near for someone, very similar to the bansidhe of Irish lore.
Other descriptions of the wampus cat include oversized paws, having a wet, rotten smell, and possessing eyes that can look into and haunt a person’s soul.
D.C. says, “Yeah, imagine this gigantic, black, slobbering cat-monster that was always described as lurking in the shadows or in trees, watching your every move, ready to eat children alive for even the least of offenses. Every howl at night, every scratch of limb across the roof or a window, every odd gush of wind would simply and inevitably be … the Wampus Kitty en route to shred you. It makes a kid look over his shoulder a lot growing up.”
So, remember kids, it’s not the boogeyman you have to fear when you misbehave … but the Wampus Cat, climbing down from the trees to gobble you up!
P.S., Incidentally, many sports teams and schools host the wampus cat as their mascot. Hmm … wonder what the underlying motivation is there …?
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