Holcomb cat scratch fever|Richard_F|richard@cfz.org.uk|04/22/04 at 17:47:44|Richard_F|xx|0||Residents in Holcomb have been engaged with the fear of a very large
animal living amongst them.

     In fact, the residents of Holcomb say that this large animal that is
lurking around their homes is a panther.

     Some residents claim that the suspicion of a panther living near the
houses has in some way altered their lives. Even at night, unfamiliar noises
surface from the wooded area leaving the residents more confused by the day.

     "The thought of our children in the woods at the same time as that
thing is very scary," said Linda Loggins. Loggins, who is the mother of
three, said that she can hear the noises every night, and makes sure that
her children are well in sight.

     But the people in Holcomb have gone to other measures to find out what
is it exactly in the wooded area.

     Two weeks ago the residents got attention from WABG in Greenville, who
traveled to Holcomb and interviewed several residents about what is lurking
and making those sounds at night and in the mornings.

     "The news people came and we led them through the woods and showed
them footprints, paw marks, and we told them that some officials said the
noises were the sounds of an owl," said Loggins.

     In fact, last week the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science's Richard
Rummel paid a visit to Holcomb to try to determine what was in the woods or
what was making the noises.

     According to residents Rummel investigated the area and took hair
samples back to Jackson but could not determine what was out there before he

     Jessie Owens was on hand when the news service and Rummel made their
way into Holcomb and said that she paid close attention to the assumptions
that they made.

     "I wanted someone to determine what is out there, because the noises
are so loud and we know it can't be an owl," said Owens.

     Owens said on Thursday night when the noises started, she got a tape
recorder and begin recording the mysterious sounds of the animal so that
people can hear what they have been hearing for weeks.

     "I began recording sounds as soon as they started and the noises on
that night were as loud as they have ever been," said Owens. But Owens's
efforts paid off Friday afternoon when she revealed the sounds on the tape
recorder to Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks officer
Larry DeLoach.

     DeLoach also found the sounds puzzling but was unable to make a
statement about it until word came from Jackson, but he said that he would
make another trip to Holcomb if he was contacted when the sounds began.