One of the two articles recently uploaded on www.uncannyuk.co.uk gives a brief outline of the so-called Alien Big Cats that are so often reported prowling round the countryside.
Almost every county in Britain seems to have had reports of people glimpsing panthers, pumas or whatever they might be in the fields and hills. My own small county of Flintshire is no exception.
A few years ago I was talking to a young chap called Callum who told me he had seen a strange animal one evening in his home village of Cymau. Cymau is very much a rural village, on a B-road from the main road connecting the towns of Mold and Wrexham. It is in a fairly wild corner of pastoral Flintshire, surrounded by wooded hills.
Callum told me that he and a few friends were walking along a path that skirts 'the park', an open area in the village with a few swings and a slide. It was early evening. As they walked past a house, a security light came on, causing Callum to glance up to a spot where it had illuminated the top of a bank at the far end of the park.
He said: 'I saw a silhouette of some animal. It was dog-shaped but three or four feet high. The thing is, it was bounding like a cat, not running like a dog. And it was very fast: it cleared the width of the park in seconds. Then it disappeared into shadow. No one else saw it.'
This was in 2003. A year previously reports had been circulating about a big black cat spotted by several witnesses around the village of Leeswood, about eight miles from Cymau as the crow flies (or the cat bounds).
There is a string about big cats in the area on the BBC North-East Wales website, including a sighting at Alex's Pool, Leeswood by a teenager named Matthew. Matthew says: 'It was black and had a tail about one metre long, and its body was even bigger. I heard something rustling in the bushes and when I looked around there it was. It stopped and then just made its way through the trees away from me.'
Maybe it was the same animal, for big cats can cover a large territory. What intrigues me, though, is Callum's description of his creature's being 'dog-shaped', although it moved like a cat, and that he saw it at twilight. This brings us smartly into the territory of the Gwyllgi, the mysterious Black Dogs of Wales that appear to be more ghost than substance, and include the strange beast seen by Malcolm Jones at Brymbo (which is only four miles from Cymau).
Perhaps some of these black cats are actually Black Dogs, or variants of them, and not real animals at all. There are quite a few articles on Black Dogs to be found on Uncanny UK at http://www.uncannyuk.co.uk/
If you have seen what you believe to be an Alien Big Cat or a Black Dog, in Wales or elsewhere, please let me know.
Visit the Big Cat string for North-East Wales at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northeast/guides/weird/mythsandlegends/pages/panther.shtml