Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 25th, 2010
I am on my way to Tennessee for a visit with my brother. Let me review some stories from that state.
One of the classic tales of Tennessee is of the Killer Kangaroo of 1934, which I researched in old newspaper archives almost 40 years ago.
As I wrote in Mysterious America, reports of giant kangaroos are nothing new to cryptozoology. Over seven decades ago, the notorious “Killer Kangaroo” of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, even made it all the way to the pages of New York’s daily newspapers, such as the New York Times.
During mid-January of 1934, a huge mean kangaroo spread terror among the Tennessee hill farmers. This extremely atypical kangaroo was reported to have killed and partially devoured several German police dogs, geese, and ducks.
The Reverend W. J. Hancock saw the animal and described it as fast as lightning, and looking like a giant kangaroo as it ran and leapt across a field. Another witness, Frank Cobb quickly came upon more evidence of the kangaroo’s activities. The head and shoulders of a large German shepherd or Alsatian were all that remained. A search party tracked the kangaroo to a mountainside cave, where the prints disappeared.
In recent years, local rival newspaper writers have tried to blame this Tennessee Killer Kangaroo story on the pen of the late Horace N. Minnis, a South Pittsburg correspondent of the Chattanooga Times. The only trouble with this “newspaper hoax” theory is that Minnis was not a newspaper correspondent for the area in 1934.