PANTHERS IN THEM THAR WOODS? - A Richwood Panther Tale

By Bob Weaver

West Virginia mountain people contend there's mountain lions or panthers in these hills, although WVDNR says the last one was killed in West Virginia in 1887.

Calhoun folks continue to report seeing "mountain lions."

Cal Price, the longtime editor of the Pocahontas Times, over his lifetime wrote reports about the cats in his weekly newspaper, year after year, while the DNR said "no way."

The late publisher of the WV Hillbilly, Jim Comstock and some friends actually purchased a mountain lion from a Rocky Mountain state. They had it shipped to Richwood.

Comstock wanted to make Cal Price's day before he passed on, have the cat shot and hauled down to the editor's office.

The plan, as I recall, went astray because no one had the nerve to kill the caged animal, although it was taken to the Richwood Fire Department and placed on exhibition as a mountain lion that had been trapped.

The whole deal was foiled by the experts from DNR, and maybe a reporter from the Charleston Gazette, who discovered the cat was an import.

But old Cal Price, well, he was still a believer to his grave after a Christmas spotting in Marlington in 1955.

Periodically Calhoun people report spotting mountain lions or panthers, but none have been confirmed.