“Somewhere near there was a sharp crash, followed by a crackling sound and the odor of sulphur.” – Art Childs
A dark and stormy night is the best time to spot a Splinter Cat. With a head like a wrecking ball, Splinter Cat head butts hollow tree trunks in search of his dinner. But don’t worry, it’s not humans he’s after but the raccoons and bees who live there.
It’s rumored that he scales trees, diving down face first from a great height to smash the trunks into smithereens, shaking the bees and raccoons loose. The damage resembles a lightning strike leaving the trunk in splinters and giving the Splinter Cat his name.
“Every time he strikes a tree it makes a flash like lightning and a noise like thunder.” – Art Childs
Where tales of the Splinter Cat are known, post-storm tree damage is not attributed to high winds and lightning strikes, but to a rampaging Splinter Cat!
Splinter Cat is one of the ‘Fearsome Critters,’ a group of mythical and folkloric beings inhabiting early American lumberjack tales. His habitat ranges south to the Gulf States, north to the Great Lakes, and east to the Atlantic Ocean. Although, a few sightings have been reported in the Rocky Mountains.
Tryon classifies the Splinter Cat as Nasusossificatus arbordemolieus, a night dweller of limited intelligence, a strong body and a rock hard head.
For Cox, Splinter Cat is Felynx arbordiffisus, and a “frightfully destructive animal.”
Do not approach the Splinter Cat. Although he doesn’t hunt humans directly, destruction surrounds him and anyone who comes near.
Art Childs. Yarns of the Bigwoods. http://www.lumberwoods.com/splintercat_ybw.htm
Cohen, Daniel. Monsters, Giants, and Little Men from Mars: An Unnatural History of the Americas. New York: Doubleday, 1975. p20
Cox, William T. with Latin Classifications by George B. Sudworth. Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods. Washington, D.C.: Judd & Detweiler Inc., 1910. p.37
Tryon, Henry. Fearsome Critters. Cornwall, NY: Idlewild Press, 1939. p47