Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Henry W. Shoemaker, Part V: Undead mountain lions

Shoemaker recounts several tales of various superstitions held about the mountain lion, including several of animated taxidermy mounts. The stories of the animated cougars seem to be unique to Snyder County and environs.

In Centerville (Snyder County), in 1864, a hunter killed a mountain lion and mounted it on the roof of his home. The lion's mate is supposed to have leapt upon the roof and knocked the mount to the ground, scooping it up and carrying it into the forests of Jack's Mountain, where the mounted cougar is supposed to have returned to life. A similar tale originates from Troxelville, again in Snyder County. Here, the skin of a mountain lion left mounted in an attic is reputed to have been encountered, still mounted, stalking the forests of the White Mountains.

The body of a mountain lion killed by Lewis Dorman on Shreiner Mountain on Christmas Eve, 1868 as well was reputed to leave its case at a New Berlin museum on Halloween and to hunt mice! The panther's body is now kept at Albright College.

The Senecas (an Iroquoian tribe living around what is now Warren County) believed that the souls of tyrants and unfaithful queens passed into the bodies of panthers, and for this reason the cougar was hunted. The early German settlers believed that cougars glowed at night, and that their eyes flashed green fire.

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