As the nights get darker, you can be forgiven for thinking you’ve seen something lurking in the shadows.
For some, this includes believing that a mountain lion or similar large cat has been spotted.
Over the years there have been several sightings of ‘big cats’ prowling the Worcestershire countryside.
Whether it’s urban legends, big house cats, or people who actually saw a panther, we’ll never know.
Whatever the truth, sightings of big cats have continued to puzzle people across Worcestershire.
Here are some of the sightings from the archives – are these big cats still out there?
Powick – 2019
Sally Williams and her son, Steve, spotted what they thought was a mountain lion in the grounds of St Peter’s C of E Church, Powick.
Steve even captured video of the big stray cat in the graveyard.
He added: “I was a little pissed off about it, and just a little shocked. My mum was a little scared.
Could he still be prowling around Powick?
Earls Croome – 2016
It was a story backed by an expert after a sighting of a big cat was followed by reports of deer being eaten by a suspected big cat.
Robert Ingram, his wife Nicola and a friend, were walking through lanes near Croome Court at around 1am in March 2016 when they saw a ‘gigantic, muscular beast’ soaring as high as their car window.
Several mutilated dear corpses were later discovered at Earl’s Croome, which according to Rick Minter, author of ‘Big Cats: Facing Britain’s Wild Predators’, showed many of the characteristics of a large cat having eaten the carcass.
He thought it was a melanistic (dark-colored) leopard, the official name for a form of what is commonly known as the “black panther”.
Welland – 2015
Andy Richards and his son were camping outside the Marlbank Inn in Welland when they saw what they claimed was a big cat.
At first they thought it was a black Labrador, but said as they got closer they realized there was a “huge black cat with yellow eyes” staring at them.
“We just put it on the leg, but I would have loved to take a picture of it,” Andy said.
Welland is certainly a popular place to see big cats.
In 2009, Karen Allison of the Big Cats group in Britain said, “The most common area to see big cats in Worcestershire was in the Malvern Hills, particularly near Little Welland.”
Bromsgrove – 2017
A pensioner claimed to have spotted a black panther on his way home from shops in Bromsgrove in 2017.
David Wherton, 68, said he came across a ‘muscular’ cat-like creature walking in a dry creek bed between Royal Worcester Crescent and Penshurst Road, Bromsgrove.
“It was definitely a black panther. I know what I saw.”
Droitwich – 2003
There were not one but two sightings of a big black cat in Droitwich in 2003.
In 2003, Stan Petrovic of Winslow Avenue, Droitwich was walking his dog down Hadzor Road when he spotted a large black creature.
The same week, Neil Martin of The Ridings claimed to have spotted a mysterious black cat lurking near Hanbury.
Sanctified – 2001
A panther-like creature was spotted jumping a seven-foot fence in Hallow by Rob Rosewarne.
In 2001 he claimed to have seen the ‘big black cat’ wandering in a field near Top Barn, Hallow, on his way to work from Kidderminster by bus.
“It was a complete shock to see what looked like a big black cat go over such a high fence.
“It looked like a panther.”
Over a three-year period, there were a number of big cat sightings that earned the illusory animal the nickname “Black Beast of Worcestershire”.