I love the Lithgow panther. To be quite honest, the elusive beast consumes my thoughts more often than I care to admit. So, you can imagine my sheer delight when Australian television icon Grant Denyer outed himself as a Big Cat Truther™ earlier this week.
Naturally, after (virtually) screaming at my coworkers about the news, I had to reach out to the man, the myth, the legend – Mr Grant Denyer himself.
Thankfully, he agreed to talk to a fellow Big Cat Truther™ about his sightings.
Denyer, who lives on a large property in Bathurst, claims to have seen the elusive Lithgow panther at least three times in recent months, and has even gone so far as to talk about it on The Project. But if you’re somehow still a big cat denier, he doesn’t really care.
“I know what I saw, and I know it sounds crazy as hell but I don’t give a shit if anyone calls me crazy. It doesn’t worry me at all,” he told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
However, it’s not just Denyer who’s seen the creature, with his wife and another friend also allegedly spotting panthers on the property.
“My wife saw it first and she told me about it and I reacted like everybody else, like ‘Jesus, how many wines have you had?’ and then I was standing in the kitchen, the same place that she saw it and I looked out in the paddock and I saw this big, slinky, feline just jump over the fence like it was nothing,” he said. “And I thought ‘woah what is that?’ and I grabbed my binoculars and I got a full, good, close-up view of what looked like a bloody panther!”
According to the Family Feud host, the animal he saw was approximately 5-10x the size of a domestic house cat, which is understandably a pretty terrifying sight to see.
“We’ve seen it before, there were sheep in the paddock that it jumped into so I had a direct reference for size. There were full-grown ewes there and it was the same size as that. So that’s 5-10x bigger than a domestic cat.”
But it’s not just a few random sightings from a distance that could easily be confused with animals that actually have a confirmed existence. Denyer also pointed out that he’s found animal remains that have clearly been devoured by some sort of carnivorous beast.
“We had a look down the river where it originated from and there were wombat holes that had weird animal bones inside the wombat holes. Wombats eat grass, they don’t eat meat, so something was dragging animals in there and devouring them.”
Now, at this point I must reiterate: WHY! WOULD! HE! LIE?!
Whether or not you’re a fan of his work, Grant Denyer is undeniably a successful figure in Australian media (and is doing pretty well for himself even amid the industry effectively collapsing around him). He simply has no reason to lie about this for clout, and to be honest, outing yourself as a Big Cat Truther™ could actually have negative consequences for your career.
There is simply no reason Denyer (who has been posting about the alleged sightings on his Instagram for months now) would make this up.
“The whole panel of The Project thought I’d gone whacko and been hard on the quarantinis while I’m in lockdown. I’d heard of the urban myth, I’d certainly met people who had claimed to see stuff. But there has never really been great concrete evidence but what I saw was pretty conclusive,” he explained.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t even the first time he’s had a run-in with the legend of the Lithgow panther, with Denyer explaining that seeing the beast for himself is sort of a full-circle moment for him in his career.
“When I first started as a cadet journalist at Channel 10 in Sydney, one of the stories I came across was a kid who was walking home at night in the hills district who claims he encountered a panther. One of my first stories at Ten was this kid who claims he was attacked by a mythical panther,” he reminisced. “It’s like the panther has chosen me.”
But despite copping some judgemental looks from his colleagues and the general public, Grant stands by his claims.
“It was too big to be a normal cat, so maybe its a hybrid animal that has been bred with panthers,” he asserted. “Maybe it’s like a half-panther half-wild cat hybrid animal, like a super animal.”
While being arguably one of the most notable people to come forward with a Lithgow panther allegation, Denyer is far from the only person to share astory of their run-ins with big cats in Australia. If you’ve doubted other people in the past and put it down to them just wanting their fifteen minutes of fame, ask yourself: what the absolute fuck does Grant Denyer have to gain from outing himself as a Big Cat Truther (apart from my personal friendship and admiration)? Nothing.
“I started asking around my local area and everyone’s got a tale. There’s just too many tales for there not to be something in this.”