Now, I attended UT and I never once saw a large cat with hypnotic eyes walking on two legs around the campus. I did have a run-in with the Baptist Student Union's dog, but that is another story entirely. Unlike me, several people have claimed to have spotted the infamous cat. The sightings go back hundreds of years.One Cherokee legend claims the cat was a woman who was forced to wear a fur skin for eternity after she was caught spying on her husband's hunting party. Another legend claims a young Cherokee brave decided to confront the terrible Wampus Cat that had been terrorizing his people. He snuck up on the cat and the sight of the monster drove him insane. His brave wife decided to take her revenge. She donned a horrible mask and scared the cat away.
East Tennessee settlers had their own opinions about the origin of the cat. They claimed a local witch would turn herself into the large animal to steal livestock. She was caught mid-change and had to remain as the Wampus Cat forever.In March of this year, the Eastern Cougar was declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Most probably the cat has been extinct since the 1930s. The early settlers could have seen a lost Mountain Lion wandering through the streets of Knoxville, but that sure would not be the case today. If you happen to be walking through U.T's campus at night and chance to see a large cat, I'd play it safe and assume it was indeed the Wampus Cat. And then, I'd run.