The Greenock Catman, Scotland’s Glowing-Eyed, Rat-Eating Mystery
Each town has its own local legends, tales of mysterious creatures that become the fodder of whispered conversations around campfires or stools. some, like the legend of the Jersey Devil, gain nationwide attention, while other tales, like the Burlington Bogeyman, rarely leave communities originally. One such local legend has long been a guarded secret in the town of Greenock, Scotland: the mysterious rat-eating werecat.
The quaint fishing village of Greenock, just 25 miles west of Glasgow, prides itself on its rich maritime history, its place in Scotland’s top 50 walking trails and its beautifully restored Victorian buildings. in fact, it has long been considered one of the most charming towns in the country. But when the sun goes down and night has descended on their shores, Greenock residents know something is creeping in the dark, silently watching them as they hurry back to their homes.
for many years, the only evidence of the werecat were secondhand accounts of glowing eyes in the dark, or a friend who swears they saw the black figure climb out of a sewer pipe, a dying rat dangling from its arms. jaws. . to some, the werecat was a cryptozoological beast, the last of its kind to live on the fringes of society. to others, the legend of the werecat was the work of local pranksters trying to scare the drunks who stumbled out of the pub at night. even the police, who often filed reports of werecat sightings, were unsure what to make of the stories.
Then, in the late 2000s, pixelated video captured on a cell phone changed all that. the werecat was real.
the clip showed that catman was not some kind of unknown monster, but a human being after all. As the cameraman spoke to him, Catman held a dead rat to his face, black with soot and dirt, and bit into it. the disturbing image was somehow disarmed by catman’s joyous “thumbs up” gesture.
As you can imagine, the video was passed around among the youth of Greenock, becoming the hot topic of local discussion, before being uploaded to the internet, where it quickly became the topic of conversation on message boards and social networks. email chains. the greenock department of social work even noticed the video and told local newspapers that they had sent one of their social workers to look for him, though they came up empty-handed.
no one is sure how long the werecat has been lurking in the alleys and tunnels of greenock, but some of the earliest reports date back to the mid 1970s. some said he was a russian sailor stranded in scotland, forced to live on the street. others claimed that he was the victim of a beating by the mob that broke his legs and left him in hiding. Some reports indicated that Catman was a crazed fugitive from a local mental institute. Despite the wide variety of backgrounds, some details always stayed the same: Catman always crawled, rarely spoke, and was always eating rats.
a 2010 report gives more credence to its feline traits:
catman is definitely real. scared the hell out of me. The first time I saw him it was getting dark, and all I saw was his eyes. his face is totally black as in the video. he would lie down on scotts lane drive in the bushes behind the fence, pointing to the leftover cat meat for the cats and asking me to pass it through the fence. I think he was afraid to go down the road. she used to go buy donor kebabs for him when he came home from dancing. he hasn’t been seen in a long time, ever since the council put up corrugated iron so he couldn’t eat.
It’s definitely real, not a myth. I heard that the youths gave him a strong kick. the young neds in greenock are wicked.
As the legend of the werecat became more and more true, the media began to take an interest in the story. In 2010, a local documentarian set out to uncover the truth about the local legend, but ran into obstacles at every turn. no matter where he went, those who supposedly knew the werecat’s true story refused to speak on camera. what was supposed to be a documentary feature ended up being a five-minute segment that raised more questions than he answered.
To this day, it seems no one knows, or will reveal, Catman’s true identity, where he is from, or how he ended up living this way in the Greenock Tunnels. his survival for half a century is shocking enough, but perhaps not as mysterious as one might think when considering the kindness of the locals who tried to help the man over the years.
I live in greenock and i can vouch that catman exists. he has several places he stays, behind the shops at the bus station or around the abandoned warehouses. takeaways leave things for him and from time to time you will find new blankets in one of his areas that someone has left him. he was institutionalized once but couldn’t handle it. he doesn’t like people, but the people here make sure they take care of him as much as he chooses. cups of tea or soup will be left in certain places, food. I know a woman who brings him a meal every Saturday night on the way to bingo and she makes sure she has a hat when she’s cold. I guess that is the true definition of caring in the community.
the werecat is still alive, though not well, with images of his blackened face surfacing in April 2015, courtesy of his facebook fan page. yes, that’s right, he even has a facebook page, one that, perhaps cruelly, classifies him as a pet. it is the same page where, just a few days ago, it was reported that catman was sent to ravenscraig hospital.
after his first appearance in greenock more than four decades ago, perhaps the mystery of the werecat will finally be solved. stay tuned.
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