The Visit From a Wampus Cat
Creatures of the Night
When it comes to tales of the unknown, of the after-dead, or creatures of the night, I am a passionate writer, with a breaking-edge vivid imagination, but none of my fictional stories can be more fantastic than a real encounter of a creature of the night.
A Planned Road Trip
It was the summer of 1985, and me, my wife Shelia, and daughter, Cindy planned a trip to my mother's home, near Houlka, Mississippi from St. Louis County, Missouri, where I was a police officer. As we were planning for the trip, a police officer friend of mine, who worked in the same precinct with me, stated he would like to visit Mississippi sometime. With this said, I asked if he would be off the same days I was off, and that he and his wife would be welcome to accompany us. He stated that he would be off, and he would make arrangements with his wife for the trip.
Stories for the Road Trip
In my narrative of this true account, I will only use the first names of my friend and his wife, which are Bill and Cindy. As we all prepared to begin our excursion to my mother's house, I thought it would be interesting if I told the two city-dwellers some of the tall tales, I had remembered from days gone by, while living in Skuna Bottom, near the Town of New Houlka. I thought the stories might help pass the time on the 7-8-hour journey we would be making. I also told my wife and young daughter to play along with me as if the stories were real.
Folklore of Skuna River Bottoms
The plan for the stories was twofold; one was entertainment on the trip, and the other was watching the expressions of our friends as they wondered about the validity of my tales once we arrived at the destination where they originated.
As we departed St. Louis County on Interstate 55, it was a sunny, hot summer day, with temperatures expected in the mid-90s, with the weather forecast confirming the same type of weather in Mississippi. As we drove along the three hundred mile stretch between our home in Missouri to Memphis, I began to weave the web of strange happenings that had been etched in the folklore of the Skuna River Bottoms, where we were headed.
By the time we arrived in Memphis, I had filled their heads with some pretty tall tales, but I saved the best one for our trip along U.S. Highway 78, into north Mississippi. It was getting dark by the time we reached New Albany, Mississippi, and it was at that point I began the terrible, bewitching, monster woven tale of the "Wampus Cat of Skuna Bottom."
The Wampus Cat story was derived from a creature in southern folklore, which had the powers of shape-shifting. It was modified to fit the very epicenter of the Skuna River Bottoms in the days when virgin timber lined the banks of the river, and many creatures roamed the dark woods at night. To my delight, Bill and Cindy had never heard of the mythical cat and its ferociousness and listened intently to every word.
Prelude to Terror
I explained that the Wampus Cat had not been seen in the river bottoms for at least 75 years, and emphasized it was past time for it to reappear and take victims. When I was finished with my tall tale, Bill and Cindy, both laughed and one of them said, "yeah - right." I had no idea what reality would spring into life on that hot summer night in Mississippi!
When we reached my mother's home it was late, and after hugs and introductions, we prepared for bedtime. My wife, daughter and I gave up the guest bedroom to Bill and Cindy and we slept on pallets on the living room floor. My mother saved electricity by shutting over the air conditioning at night, and by turning on a huge ceiling fan, which drew cool air from outside the house, into it, but it required the windows to be open to circulate the air.
Attack of the Wampus Cat
Unknown to us was the fact that one of the windows in Bill and Cindy's bedroom had a torn section in the window screen, big enough for a small animal, notably a house cat to squeeze through.
The early part of the night was uneventful, as we all slumbered in that house in Skuna Bottom, but that deep slumber turned into a nightmare for everyone in the house sometime after midnight. The first indication of trouble came when our visitor, Cindy, who has the same first name as our daughter, gave out the most horrifying scream I've ever heard, even to this day. Next came some yelling and explicit language that would have made a sailor blush. This was emanated by both Bill and Cindy, followed immediately by a crashing sound of something being thrown against the wall, and the squeal of a scared and angry feline.
The Attack Ends
As this whole incident was still unfolding, I stumbled through the dark house to the room where Bill and Cindy were and flipped on the light, which created another scream from Cindy. To my astonishment I observed our two guests sitting in bed, with Cindy holding onto Bill for eternal life, as my mother's terrified, but unhurt cat exited through the torn window screen.
Fear turned to unabashed laughter as I realized Bill and Cindy thought a Wampus Cat had jumped onto their bed through the window. It was awhile before anybody went back to sleep, and when we did, our guests shut both their windows and endured the heat.
A Tale Which Came True
Sometimes even fictional tales come to life in some form, which this one certainly did and became a good story to tell among the rank and file of the St. Louis County Police Department.
© 2019 Gerry Glenn Jones