Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wampus Cat

The new student orientation taking place at the University of Tennessee this fall will surely be lacking.  While there will be maps of the campus and good reminders about personal safety, I am willing to bet  there will not be one mention of the Wampus Cat.

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.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mark Your Calendars!

Some great events are planned to celebrate the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War!  You can check out a list of all the activities at http://www.tncivilwar150.com/.

Here in Knoxville you can take part in a variety of events including:

August 20-21 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
East Tennessee History Festival
"It's All History" features a special Civil War emphasis
Downtown giant 2 day street fair - Gay Street and beyond

August 6-7
The Bethel Cemetery Civil War Museum Opening
The Mabry-Hazen House Foundation
Bethel Cemetary
1917 Bethel Ave.

I also hope to attend the 2011 Signature Event: The First Shots of Tennessee's Civil War September 6-7, 2011 at Tennessee Tech University.  Maybe I will see you there!