This past Monday, witnesses reported seeing a mysterious lion that suddenly appeared out of nowhere in a field in St Osyth, near Clacton on Sea, in Essex. Several people reported seeing the big cat on Sunday evening, but there have been no further sightings since then.
One witness took a picture of the lion (see photo), but as per usual, it’s a blurry mess and looks like a large house cat.
A series of phone calls alerted police to the fact that a wild creature, possibly a lion, was being seen by holiday makers and residents in St. Osyth, Essex. Police reportedly received more photos of the animal similar in appearance to the one shown in the photo. Others witnesses claim they also heard a distinct roar.
Police first checked with experts at the Colchester Zoo to see if any animals were missing. They were not. Then they checked with a nearby traveling circus, but they didn’t keep any lions.
Authorities used a couple helicopters with heat-seeking technology to search for the animal, as well as firearms officers on the ground, all to no avail. In the end, they concluded people must have seen a large housecat or a wild cat.
Ummm hmm. Let’s hear what the witnesses had to say.
A warehouse operative, Denise Martin, took a photo of the suspected lion from the windows of her caravan (camper) on the site at Earls Hall Farm. She later gave the photo to the police.
Mrs. Martin was spending the long weekend at the campground with her husband Bob, a professional driver, and her brother David Wright, a lorry driver, and his wife Sue. She said, “I was looking out of the window and we saw smoke – it looked like there had been a bit of a bonfire. When you are in a caravan you panic about smoke. When the smoke cleared, I could see this shape in the field, so I got the binoculars out. We had a look and it looked like a lion.” She further described it as tan with a white chest.
She continued, “We weren’t scared at all – it was excitement. You don’t often see something like that in the wild. One time it sat up and looked at us and we could see its ears twitching. It knew we were there and it sat down and started cleaning itself.”
Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Wright added, “The moment I saw it, straight away I said ‘That looks like a lioness’. We then phoned the police. We phoned the police before I started to take pictures. I just thought we would take them so that we had proof of what we were seeing.
Stephen Atkin, a building maintenance inspector from Louth, Lincolnshire was also staying at the campground with his wife, Gill. They were asked by other campers to verify the sighting to the police.
“My wife and I were sitting in our caravan having our evening meal when there was a knock at the window from a gentleman asking if we could confirm to the police that we are witnessing a lion, or I would say a large cat, across the other side of the field. I took the phone off the gentleman and spoke to the police and witnessed that ‘Yes, what the gentleman has just told you is definitely a very large animal, and possibly a lion, definitely a large cat.
“We just witnessed it, I would say, for about 20 to 30 minutes cleaning itself and rolling about in the field.” Mr. Atkin said the animal was the length of two sheep “put together”. He added, “It was a big animal.”
Mrs. Atkin, a hospital administrator, took pictures that she subsequently handed over to police. She added, “I did not think it was lion as its ears were too pointed but it was really big.”
Another witness said that onlookers screamed as they came face to face with the predator. Others sitting in nearby homes told how they heard it roar as it prowled the area. Rich Baker was walking with his two boys, aged 9 and eleven, when their drama began.
Mr. Baker said, “A man started running towards us yelling ‘It’s a […] lion!’ He looked so panicked you knew it was not a joke. The lion, you could see it from the side. I grabbed my children’s hands and we ran towards our caravan. My children started to scream, ‘Daddy, is the lion going to get us?’ It was one million percent a lion. It was a tan color with a big mane, it was fully grown, it was definitely a lion. It was just standing there, it seemed to be enjoying itself. There were a dozen or so people who saw it. We are staying on the caravan park down the road. It’s very busy – it’s a seaside resort and a bank holiday.”
Che Kevlin, who lives next to the field claims he definitely heard a lion roar. “I was sitting with my wife in the front room playing backgammon at around 10pm when I heard this very loud roar. It was incredibly odd to hear something like that at that time of night. We had been for a walk earlier in the day and heard a police helicopter but didn’t realize they were looking for a lion. We were trying to work out what the roar was. It was not until my brother texted me 20 minutes later and said there’s a lion on the loose in your area that we realized what exactly it was.
“It was very, very loud. I’ve only heard what a lion sounds like on TV wildlife programs, but it was definitely that.”
Another witness, Rob Hull who works as a barman at the nearby Tudor Bar social club, had heard about the lion supposedly ambling through nearby fields. He said, “I was in my car, as I had just gone to get some petrol, when I saw it in the field next to the road. It was ambling laconically along by the lake in the field, like it didn’t have a care in the world. I had already heard about it. It was already all over Facebook and Twitter.”
Social Media Mania
Once news broke of the sightings, Facebook and Twitter sprang to life to make fun of the situation. Someone suggested the elusive animal was none other than Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, while others hoaxed photos of lions in various poses that were obviously “photoshopped”.
That nonsense aside, there was another recent sighting in Britain, not of a lion, but of a black panther.
Black Panther Sighting
Also around this same time Kieran Bourne reported seeing a panther on the loose in the Cotswolds. He said he is convinced he saw a big cat in his headlights as he made his way home across Cleeve Hill in the early hours of Monday morning. He nearly hit the panther who was near the side of the road, but he swerved and saw it bound into the bushes where it disappeared.
He said, “It looked at me from the side of the road. I was coming round quite a sharp bend from Winchcombe up the hill to Cleve Hill and it was on the left hand side of the road in my main beam – I nearly hit it. It was the size of a large dog. About 2.5 feet high and about 4 feet long with a U-shaped tail curled upwards. I swerved to the right to make sure I didn’t hit it and it pounced into the bushes. I’m now 100 percent sure it was a big black cat with no markings on. It’s out there.”
What This All Means
If you caught the last blog entry about the Black Beasts of Dartmoor (see link below), or perhaps heard the radio show with guest Professor Charles Baer of the University of FL who is a specialist in Evolutionary Genetics, these new reports won’t come as a surprise to you.
It seems very clear that there are wild cats roaming the moors and farmlands of Britain. The witnesses’ accounts seem very reasonable and sound. They also don’t sound like lunatics or drunks. Let’s face it, every preschooler knows what a lion sounds like, so it’s not beyond anyone’s ability to recognize that distinctive roar. And as one man said, we probably have all heard them on nature shows.
These every-day, common sense people know what they saw. One woman mentioned a lioness, one mentioned a large mane. For these reasons I think there was a lioness and a lion in the area and different people saw one or the other of them. In the wild, it’s not uncommon for cats to live together, especially if they are a breeding pair.
As for the black panther, I have to think that man saw what he saw. In the other article and the radio show, we talked about the history of people setting these wild animals loose on the moors and whether they could have survived through today. The answer seems most assuredly, yes.
What baffles me is why the police had to go so high tech to find the animal(s). Britain has a long standing history of being a hunting nation. Get the local gameskeepers with their dogs to go find it! I thought the helicopter approach was over the top and most assuredly sent those animals far along into the next county or whatever.
So what do you think about all this? We’d love to hear from you!
Til the next time!