The Wampus Kitty
North Florida summers are long and hot, but when I was a child, night still came too soon. We liked to play outside as long as possible. The fact that we were sweaty and dirty and being chased by swarms of mosquitoes didn’t quench our thirst for playing outside. With no computers and no television and no video games, playing outside was the most fun there was.
Our parents would ask us to come in, then demand and then, well then they resorted to scaring the daylights out of us.
One night we just would not listen. So my mama stood on the front porch and said that if we wouldn’t come in then she would just leave us out there and let the Wampus Kitty get us. We had heard stories about the horrible things a Wampus Kitty would do to you. I had pictured it in my mind as a snarling, big cat with terrible teeth and glowing eyes and claws 6 inches long. Of course we had never seen one, but we were always just unsure enough to be afraid, and usually we came in the house, looking behind us.
This one night, I decided that at age ten, I was too big to believe in the Wampus Kitty. I told my niece that we didn’t have to go in , cause there wasn’t any such thing as a Wampus Kitty.
She didn’t seem convinced, but stayed anyway. After all, I was older and supposedly wiser.
Then, we heard it. It started low, like a growl, then slowly built up to a loud unearthly howl. It seemed to come from everywhere. It suddenly didn’t matter if I was older, I ran first and the hardest and my niece was right behind me. We knew it was the Wampus Kitty! I had never heard such a frightening sound. We made it into the house and hid behind the couch. It was the last time our parents had to ask us more than twice to come inside at night for a long time.
It wasn’t until my teen years that I found out that it was my brother hiding in the bushes making the sounds. I should have known!
Stories of the Wampus Kitty are prevalent in the South, but there are several claims of origin, from Indian folklore to African folktales. Based on legends of scary animals, it has been the point of many a spooky tale. The Wampus Kitty might not be real, but I know for one night I believed!