Progress on Panther Tales 2, Wildlife Encounters

The second collection of stories and eyewitness accounts of mountain lions, panthers, bobcats, and other animals is coming along nicely.  Stories continue to come in at a steady rate.  I hope to have this book in print in time for Christmas.  Anyone who has a story to share is welcome to contact me on my Facebook page:  Judith Victoria Hensley, Author

I have personally seen black panther in Appalachia beyond any doubt in my mind.  I have perhaps seen the tawny colored mountain lion one two occasions, but am not as sure because of the distance.  I’ve also seen bobcats.

I’m sure there are many more people who have seen big cats in the Appalachian Region who have not come forward because of the scoffing they may have experienced in the past.  I’m a story gatherer.  I want to provide a safe place for people to share their experiences and realize there are hundreds of others who have had similar encounters.


Listening to the Plants Grow

One of the great joys of my parents’ summer was raising a garden behind the house.  Due to age and failing health, they have not had a garden for the last couple of years.  Up until a couple of years ago, my mom and dad could both be found outside during spring and summer days working in flower beds or in the garden, mowing the lawn, or sitting on the porch, “Listening to the plants grow.”

In the summer rain and run, I believe they have actually been attuned to the sound of growing things.  I’m not sure if what I hear are the same sounds they listen for, but the rustle of corn in the wind, the sound of buzzing bees, and the breeze itself carries a different sound in the summer than in the dead of winter when nothing is growing.

They miss their freshly grown produce and I miss the canning and enjoying the fruits of their labor.  There is nothing more flavorful than fresh food from the garden.  Neighbors have been kind enough to share with them, as they shared with others in the past from their bounty.

I’d love to have a day near someone’s garden when I could be still enough to sit and listen for the sound of plants growing.



The Beauty of Pine Mountain Settlement School in Spring

A few days ago I drove through one of my most favorite places to visit.  Pine Mountain Settlement School is a beautiful, tranquil place, filled with historic buildings, paths, and lovely wildflowers.



Spring “Winters” in Appalachia

Traditionally, people in this area look for the progression of spring by the “winters” or cold snaps that happen regularly each year.  There are several.

First comes sarvis (sarvice) winter.  These trees bloom with little white flowers higher in the mountains, but can be seen from the road scattered across the landscape.

Next comes redbud winter when the redbud trees put out their purple flowers.

Then comes dogwood winter, when dogwoods come into full bloom.

Finally there is blackberry winter when all of the blackberry vines are heavy with flowers. I have no early photos of the blossoms, but when the berries are at this stage, summer is at hands.

Some people include other smaller “winters” in the process.  The good news is, after blackberry winter, summer is usually home free with steadily warming temperatures.


Black Panther Surprises

Of the many stories told by eyewitnesses in this book, there were a few things that surprised me.   Most of all, it was surprising that so many have seen black panther near settled neighborhoods, or even on their private property.  Since this creature is known to be an elusive one, it seems like most sightings would be found in wilderness areas.  This did not seem to be the case.

Another surprise was how often the person reporting the encounter noted that the big cats were peaceful, meant them no harm, or were even curious about the human activity going on.  Long regarded as a scary, ominous creature from folklore, I had not imagined that they are curious enough to watch US.

Stories have already begun to come in for Panther Tales II.  I wonder if there will be more surprises in the next batch of stories.


Does Bigfoot Live in Your Back Yard?

The people who were interviewed for this book have one thing in common. They all had an encounter with Bigfoot.  Even when they weren’t looking for him, and weren’t expecting anything at all, there were those who saw the creature clearly and have little doubt about what they saw.

I have not seen this elusive creature.  However, that in no way diminishes the possibility of its existence in my mind.  There are too many people around the world who have made the same reports.  To me, the most startling sightings are those which take place in someone’s back yard or very near their dwelling place.  In our region with so many living near the woods or wilderness areas, it probably should not be such a surprise when someone has an encounter.

I wonder how many people have seen Bigfoot on their own property?  How many have Bigfoot living in their back yard?


Interview with Thomas Marcum of the Crypto Crew

I would like to thank Thomas Marcum for the interview and story that is part of my new book, Bigfoot and Woolybooger Tales and Panther Tales and Woodland Encounters.  Tony Felosi, another researcher and documenter for the Crypto Crew is also featured in these books.

I am especially appreciative for a recent interview which Thomas  has featured today on his website listed below.  Thomas heads up the Crypto Crew.  There are many interesting aspects of his website.  If you are interested in cryptozoology, and other points of interest, please check out the website below.

Panther Tales and Woodland Encounters

A cryptid is an animal or plant whose existence has been suggested but has not been discovered or documented by the scientific community. Cryptids often appear in folklore and mythology, leading to stories and unfounded belief about their existence. –

The book Panther Tales and Woodland Encounters  was publicly launched at the first annual Harlan Crypto Con in Harlan, Kentucky on April 21, 2018.  It is the result of a journey that began over forty years ago when I listened to tales from my Grandfather Enos Hensley in Martin’s Fork, Kentucky on his back porch or around the fireplace.  The telltale scream “like a woman being murdered” sometimes echoed from one ridge to the next just after dark and sent  shivers through us as we listened.

This book project came about because of the many years I have spent personally being told that I have not seen a black panther by biologists and wildlife officials.  No amount of skepticism can convince me that I have not seen black panther on separate occasions and years apart in a variety of locations.  I have been blessed.  I am not alone.

Stories in this book include sightings of black panther, cougar, mountain lions, and bobcats.  So many stories came in about Bigfoot sightings that there was not room for both subjects in one book.  Bigfoot and Woolybooger Tales is also available on and Kindle.

I am a story gatherer.  This book contains around 200 personal encounters from a wide variety of people in the USA, primarily in Appalachia.  After reading these detailed accounts, the reader can formulate their own opinion about whether this creature truly exists.

More eyewitness accounts have begun to come in for the next book in the series.

Bigfoot and Woolybooger Tales

Bigfoot and Woolybooger Tales was publicly released at the first annual Harlan Crypto Con (in Harlan County, Kentucky).  The event was quite a success.  The book is available on and Kindle.

I am a story gatherer.  I personally have not encountered Bigfoot.  However, with so many credible individuals reporting personal eyewitness accounts, I do believe there are things around us that have not been classified or explained conclusively.  If someone tells me sincerely a story about their own life experience, I will not challenge or belittle their account.  I believe if people were not afraid of the ridicule that goes along with acknowledging a Bigfoot sighting, many more would come forward to share their stories.

This book project split out of another book project.  Originally the stories were part of the new book, Panther Tales and Woodland Encounters, but so many stories came in, it became necessary to divide the book under the two main categories, Bigfoot and Black Panthers.

Of all the cryptids in the world, Bigfoot is perhaps the best known.  This creature has been reported by eye witnesses in every continent on the globe and in every state of the United States except Hawaii.  For  many who are familiar with Bigfoot sightings and research,  there was still a surprise in the number of encounters reported in Appalachia, and more locally in southeastern Kentucky where I live.

Important personal eyewitness accounts from local citizens are present in the book as well as interviews with some well-known Bigfoot researchers including Youtube personality, talk show host, and author Ed Brown along with others from the Bigfoot community such as Thomas Marcum author and leader of the Crypto Crew, Michael Cook who is the head of Cook Cryptid Research, Jimmy Blanton whose podcast is Ninja of the Woods, and Tony Felosi who is a historian, documenter,  movie producer, and also an important member of the Crypto Crew are included  in the book.

I will be featuring more about those in the Bigfoot research community whom I’ve met in person or who are included in the book as well as more eyewitness accounts.

Define Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology is the search for or the study of animals/creatures that do not have enough evidence for the scientific community to acknowledge their existence.  Examples include the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and Black Panther in North America.  Eye witness accounts are often numerous, but without a carcass, DNA sample, video, photographs, skeleton, or other hard evidence as required by they simply do not acknowledge the existence of such a creature.

“In cryptozoology and sometimes in cryptobotany, both pseudoscience, a cryptid is an animal or plant whose existence has been suggested but has not been discovered or documented by the scientific community. Cryptids often appear in folklore and mythology, leading to stories and unfounded belief about their existence.” –