Long ago, settlers feared the unexpected appearance of a black, feline creature; it would drop silently from the trees, killing its prey swiftly, and putting horror into the hearts of onlookers. Today, though less dreaded, this frightening animal is reported every year in states east of the Mississippi River. Alien Big Cats, or ABC’s, are large, black felines long thought not to exist in certain areas of the world. The Appalachian Black Mountain Lion is one such creature: a separation from the Eastern Cougar, covered in black fur, resembling a South American jaguar or Asian/African black panther.
Larger in size than their cougar brethren, Black Mountain Lions arose long ago from a genetic mutation causing melanism⸺which was very beneficial for the cats later on. They were encountered and documented by European pioneers and explorers, displayed in museums in the 1700s, written and drawn in the 19th century (see “The Naturalist’s Library, Mammalia, Vol. 1, Cats”), and seen from the 18th century to modern day in rural/urban settings, but never officially proven to exist. As this creature has long been the subject of wild hunting tales and strange encounters, it has been given many names; to simplify things, this bestiary will refer to it by two: Ayew and the Black Mountain Lion.
5 x 7 art prints of West Virginia cryptids based on original drawings by Kristen Puckett.
I'm a pretty quiet person from Southern Ohio that loves monsters, animals, stories, and history. I moved to Fairbanks, AK to study art and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2017, afterward moving to & working in El Paso, TX. Currently, I reside in Lucasville, OH.
I enjoy outdoor activities - like hiking, kayaking, and sightseeing - reading, drawing, throwing pottery, sculpting, playing video games, and playing dungeons and dragons with my friends. ~Kristen Puckett - Appalachian Illustrator, Folklorist, & Ceramicist