Somewhere out on lonely Bodmin Moor prowls the deadly Beast of Bodmin, seeking to prey on anyone foolhardy enough to roam the moor by night…
All right, let’s say the Beast of Bodmin isn’t really, there’s no such thing, all the stories are baloney. But does that mean there never was a Beast? If not, where did all those stories come from? Welsh tales written down a thousand years ago, after having been handed down from one generation to the next over several centuries–did they do that just to confuse us, ages later?
I wonder how many hikers would take a dare to walk the moor at night.
Well, scarier than that!
In the early Middle Ages it was “Palug’s Cat,” a giant cat that lived on the island of Angelsey and knocked off some 180 warriors before Sir Gawain finally killed it: so says Welsh and French lore of the 12th century.
You’d think that would’ve been the end of it–but no! There are still stories today. The Beast of Buchan haunts Scotland, and has been reported there since the 1930s. The Beast of Bodmin has haunted Cornwall since 1983, scaring hikers and mauling livestock, despite a British newspaper’s “investigation” that supposedly revealed it to be an ordinary cat (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/beast-bodmin-moor-mystery-solved-4812877).
Over here we’ve got Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and Chupacapra. Over there they’ve got giant wild cats–and there are no zoo or circus cats missing. Indeed, there are similar “big cat” stories from Australia–lots and lots of them. Australia has no native cats at all, and only small wildcats are native to Britain.
Why do people keep on saying they’ve seen big cats in places where there are no big cats? Who thought up the old, old story of Palug’s Cat, and what inspired it?
God made the world a bit more complicated than we like to think sometimes.
Is there a dangerous wild cat stalking the moors of Cornwall, Bodmin Moor in particular, preying on livestock–and the odd hiker?
Here in New Jersey we have the Jersey Devil, but over there they’ve got the Beast of Bodmin, said to be a large cat like a leopard: although maybe it’s something much more exotic than a leopard. Something prehistoric, even.
The authorities looked into it and in 1995 reported that there was no evidence that such a creature existed anywhere in Britain. Almost immediately a boy found a leopard skull in Cornwall, in a river. Examination confirmed that it was indeed a leopard skull–that had once been part of an imported leopard-skin rug.
But wait, there’s more!
Have they all forgotten the great medieval legend of Palug’s Cat ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cath_Palug )? Yeah, I’ll bet they have! According to old Welsh and French sources, this was a great big cat that lived on the Welsh island of Anglesey and ate knights for breakfast until King Arthur’s foster-brother, Sir Kay, came along and killed it.
Now, what ever made those people tell that story, eight hundred to a thousand years ago?
Meanwhile, please feel free to hike on Bodmin Moor at night, all alone. Just whistle a happy tune and tell yourself, “There ain’t no Beast of Bodmin, there ain’t no beast of Bodmin…”
And everything will be all right.