I can be contacted on thehighlandtiger@yahoo.co.uk

Monday, 3 May 2010

Neil Arnold Replies...

As promised, any reply by Neil Arnold will be posted in full.

I have made comments in red, as I address his points.

I have attempted on three occasion's to post a reply on your blog but am being met with an Error statement, so I would be grateful if you could tell your reader's that I have indeed replied to your post in which you decided, behind a facade, to make a dig at me.

Other people have been able to comment, so I have no idea why you have not been able to, but no worry, here is your reply in full. Regarding the "dig", as you yourself have in your article pourded scorn on others, you can't complain when your theories are subjected to the same treatment

I will happily answer the question's you have asked of me, although I'm sure you are quite eager to fuel a row.

I have no wish to cause a row, just to try and access the truth

Firstly, I don't recall naming any name's when I mentioned my theories, and I find it rather unprofessional that you have done.

So it's ok, to bring up other theories and dismiss them as nonsense, as long as you don't mention the names of the authors who's books support those theories. Very strange way of thinking in my opinion and one I find that very cowardly

I DID mention that I always thought Di Francis' and Janet & Colin Bord's books were dated, and what's wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with that, I never said there was.

As for the other guys you mention, Merrily Harpur has always connecting 'big cats' to the supernatural, and I don't know Rik Snook apart from the fact he likes to use everything I put in the papers for his own website.

So you have a problem with Rik Snook, putting links to sightings that appear in the papers, just because it's you that contacted the papers first. Sorry to burst your bubble, but a person reporting a sighting to yourself, doesn't mean it's for you and your eyes only. You are not the only big cat researcher in Kent. Maybe you don't like the "competition"

As for my book, I'm sure I'm allowed to promote it ? Do I need your permission to do so ?

Of course you are, but promoting a book containing your theories, whilst at the same time, running down the work of other authors, is a bit cheap.

As for theories being backed up. Receipts regarding the purchase of 'big cats' from Harrods were destroyed before the archives came into place. Any celebrity purchase of a large, exotic cat would have been dealt with the same way as any member's of public purchase, unless a newspaper had found out about the story. However, why would a general dealer/buyer from thirty or so years ago still have a receipt of a large cat, especially when such people have had scorn poured on them over the years for releasing such animals ? I think it's rather common knowledge that people purchased such animals in the '60s (i.e. Margot the puma, Christian the lion), and there are numerous records, which are mentioned in my book, of animal's escaping and even attacking people. Many newspaper stories dating back several centuries speak of escapees, but not everyone who loses/releases a large cat is keen to talk about it. Again, if you haven't spoken to or investigated any previous owner's of large cats then you clearly aren't looking in the right places.

The problem you fail to address is that all your examples do not match the animals people are actually seeing. There are no lions living in the wild in the UK, so how can they be the parents of the animals roaming the UK. You can't find any records of black leopards being bought, and yet you claim the UK is awash with black leopards. You still havn't furnished any proof

As for film footage of such animal's. I do not advertise areas of sightings, but my footage has been aired on Sky, ITV, BBC in the past,I don't need to go to You Tube to prove anything to you, in the same way you don't have to prove anything to me

You claimed that you took the footage, could you please provide links to this footage. After all, anyone could claim they took a film of a big cat. Proof is needed here. Otherwise we have to take your claims with a huge pinch of salt. A researcher is judged on his research material. Unfortunately your material is sadly lacking

, but judging by your response to my CFZ post it seems that either a) you don't believe such animal's roam the UK,

I do believe big cats aroam the UK, I have seen them with my own eyes

b) you haven't a clue as to where they came from,

No I don't know where they have come from, but then neither do you. None of us have any proof that is undeniable, that proves the existance of even one big cat out there.

c) you are simply spoiling for a petty argument.

No, I'm simply pointing out the flaws in your claims

I have seen several cats in the local wilds as many researchers and members of the public have. Why is this a false claim ? It's no big deal to see a large cat in the UK wilds. Unfortunately, for some it is the Holy Grail to see one but due to lack of patience, or the belief they are supernatural, they are unlikely to see one.

I never said it was a false claim, after all I am a believer.

Regarding the CFZ, who you clearly have a problem with. Maybe you should begin to realise that there are many research groups around the world, who all have their own opinion's. Some mount expedition's, some are armchair enthusiast's, each to their own, but if you are eager to exist only to create petty arguement's then more the fool you.

The only problem I have with the CFZ, is that they appear to be more of a money making organisation, (you only have to look at their desperate pleading for funding), than doing any real research. Not one expedition has been successful and that is undeniable. To me and others looking in, the CFZ is just a group of people going on big boys adventure holidays paid with the money of gullible benefactors.

I am more than happy for people to comment on what I do, or say, which is why I write posts on my opinion's. If you have a REAL problem with me however, I don't think you should be hiding behind a facade to state it.

I only have problems with people who claim to know the answers, but are unable to furnish any proof.

I think it's very difficult actually finding the 'real researchers out there', because it seems to me that the community is full of anorak's eager to create a mystery which isn't there at all whi is why much of the 'big cat' community are a laughing stock put alongside Ufologists etc.

Yes it is difficult to find real researchers, and I agree it's full of "anoraks" that make the public put big cat research on par with ufology. But then you also lecture on ghosts and the paranormal, making yourself part of the problem.

I'm unsure as to how I am full of "hot air" and making "outlandish claims" when the theories I suggest are far more down to earth than the supernatural claims Merrily Harpur suggests.

Any claim made without proof is outlandish. I have said the very same thing in person to Merrily Harpur. However you will never find Ms Harpur, putting her theory above all others as the one and only answer to the big cat conumdrum. She actually believes that there are many answers to the situation, including her pet theory of daimons.

I would be interested to hear where you think such animal's have come from, because I've always been of the opinion that we should be looking at the more realistic solution's, such as escapees/releases, including zoo parks, menagerie's etc, rather than demonic or prehistoric cats.

I actually agree in theory that most of the genuine big cat sightings are of escapees or deliberate releases. How we disagree is that unlike yourself I don't believe that every sighting is of a leopard or puma. And I certainly don't believe that the numbers of big cats at looses in the UK are the amount you claim. The proof is just not out there.

And finally, it seems that you are completely oblivious to what excatly happened in the '60s and '70s. I never claimed there were thousands of exotic felids roaming the UK. Many animal's were recaptured, some shot dead or died naturally in the wilds, but if what we are seeing in the UK wilds are not offspring or generation's past, then I'd like to hear your answer ?

Until someone, anyone, provides proof of a single black leopard loose in the UK, (we are still waiting are we not?), then no-one can claim they know the answers. Theories are great, but it's proof we need.

Thank you for your time.

Neil Arnold

So there it is, a long reply, but strangely, NOT ONE piece of proof to back up any of his claims. Strange that!


  1. Nice, I would like to find the peole that shot and killed these "big cats". Interview them, and find out where the bones lie. After the "Blue Dog" fiasco here in the US, I have lost about a 99% of the credibility in the CFZ. Who knows....maybe I will put together a vacation.....oops.....I mean "EXPEDITION" to the UK to find some blue.....I mean black cats. ANyone want to fund me?

  2. As someone who was there in the 60s and 70's I can confirm that Harrods did sell big cats at that time. Two guys I knew had a lion cub in their flat. I was told a TV programme was made about them.I am sure someone can confirm that. There were also a lot of private zoos in those days that now no longer exist. What happened to the animals I don't know. As for being cowardly and not revealing names that is a bit ironic coming from someone is is anonymous and hiding behind the name highland tiger and taking pot shots at others wouldn't you say? How can you expect people to take credence of your claims when you are not even up front enough to say who you are?

  3. When you write "Not one expedition has been successful and that is undeniable" what do you actually mean? None of their expeditions have brought back a live or a dead animal, but from their films (all for free on YouTube) you can see that every expedition for years has brought back new evidence in the form of eyewitness accounts.

    If your criteria is that no expedition has brought back a live or a dead animal, then no cryptozoological expedition by ANYONE has EVER been succesful, and furthermore that every Cryptozoological researcher that you quote so gleefully in your other posts such as the BCIB etc have been wasting their time for years.

  4. Thank you for posting my reply, unfortunately my original did fail on several attempts, but even then you doubt that!
    1)I am not a coward, I do not hide behind a false name. I am not dismissing other author's, but stating that such animals are not paranormal. FACT.
    2) there are records of black leopards being purchased, just not at Harrods, you really need to read my replies properly before jumping to your conclusions. Black leopards were purchased in Barnsley and Manchester for £400 each in the '70s. Puma were purchased at Harrods, and I'm sure several other 'big cat' organisation's in the UK are aware of smaller exotics being purchased in the past which match the animals being seen in the UK today.
    3) you state there is no proof whatsoever that exotic cats exist, doesn't paw-prints, faeces, sheep kills up trees, and alot of footage that the BCIB show prove at least some of this ? Why is this "sadly lacking" ?
    4) sorry, but I have no problem with Rik Snook or the 'competition' as you put it. I think that line pretty much sums up the pettiness in the field. If Rik wants information he only has to contact me as he's new to the investigative area.
    5)I lecture on monsters, because I have a folkloric interest, but that has nothing to do with 'big cat' research.
    6) most sightings of lions, tigers, phantom cats etc have to be taken with a pinch of salt. A majority of UK reports describe black leopard, puma, lynx, jungle cat. What are the other cats you can't explain ?
    Finally, whatever your opinion of the CFZ, you really need to get over it.

  5. I'll take these comments in order.

    TG, you make some excellent points and you seem to be in a similar mind to me. If you ever get to the UK, give us a call.

    Tabtica........The Harrods theory is a bit of a red herring. I myself can remember seeing lion cubs there in the late 60's, but we are not looking for Lions are we. We are looking for black leopards. Regarding my anonymity, I think you'll find that I'm not promoting my views over others. I'm just pointing out the flaws in Mr Arnolds theories. I havn't got a clue what the real truth is. My thoughts are that perhaps the situation is more complicated than we think, and perhaps every theory has a ring of truth in it.

    Mr Duncehead, you seem to have a bit of a bee in your bonnet, but you make some good points.

    Yes it's true, NO EXPEDITION has ever been successful, even the efforts by the BCIB, and that is my point as well. If there were hundreds of big cats in the UK of all shapes and sizes, where is the PROOF. I've yet to see it. Whether people are wasting their time, is up to them to decide.

    Neil, thanks for replying again.

    Yes animals HAVE been purchased in the past, no-one is denying that, but at numbers large enough
    being relesased as you claim, well I see no proof.

    You claim cats are not paranormal FACT, and yet you lecture on other paranormal activity. How you claim claim the existance of ghost people but not ghost animals seems a bit contradictory.

    Prints, faeces(have you done dna tresting/), sheep kills etc, whilst interesting are NOT definitive proof. Only a body will do that, and we are still waiting for a melanistic leopard body.

    You take sightings of lions and tigers with a pinch of salt, but readily accept every sighting of other species. I think you should be as rigourous with those sightings as you are with the ones claiming lions.

    Until you can come up with a body of a leopard, or at worst a CLEAR video footage of one, then any theories are just that, theories. They are not FACT as ypou claim.

  6. Bernard Heuvelmans himself wrote about the importance of collecting testimony from native peoples. As I understand it, this has been one of the cornerstones of cryptozoology for half a century, and has been the main aim of the CFZ expeditions. They have done just that. Therefore, no matter how many times you dodge the question, their expeditions cannot be seen as abject failures.

    As far as the British big cat situation is concerned, I tend to agree with you.

  7. DH, Just because Heuvelmans thought collecting eye witness testimony was a good thing, doesn't mean it actually solves the problem.

    Eye witnesses are not a reliable source of information, as scientific studies have proved. People have seen elves and fairies, the virgin mary, aliens, even Elvis in a dry cleaners. It doesn't mean these entities exist.

    Cryptozoological expeditions should be about finding proof, not finding more anecdotes that could be placed in a book.

  8. So you are setting yourself above Bernard Heuvelmans are you? Hoity toity.

    As far as I understand it there are a number of organisations who follow in Heuvelmans' footsteps. The fact that the CFZ reference "On the Track of Unknown Animals" so many times in their website indicates that they are Heuvelmans' disciples, and decide to carry out expeditions following his methodology.

    Heuvelmans was the Father of Cryptozoology. You are of far less importance in the scheme of things..

    Ta ra


  9. Oh bless, lets all bow down to great god Heuvelman shall we. And whilst we are doing so, lets not bother with getting any solid evidence shall we.

    When he wrote his book, there was no internet, no video cameras, no dna testing. Neil Arnold claims that certain authors are dated. I suggest that we add another one. I'd rather look to the future than the past. Reading Heuvelmans will NOT give you any solutions or answers to any cryptid out there.

  10. So, because YOU don't follow the work of a particular author, no-one else is allowed to either? There is something particularly unpleasantly Orwellian about your attitude Mr Tiger.

    Despite your claims the other day that you do not believe in a supreme being, you are beginning to sound like a bigoted little fundamentalist, fighting his own little jihad against his betters.

  11. Oh dear Mr D, the points appear to have flown right over your head, but no matter.

    I have never said that people cannot follow the works of any particular author, and yet you claim I have an "orwellian attitude", whilst Mr Arnold does EXACTLY that and in print as well, what you accuse me of, and yet you say nothing.

    Double standards there Mr D.

    "fighting his own little jihad against his betters."

    So you are now my better eh?. I'll leave the decision on that question to the people who have read this exchange.


  12. So you are fighting a jihad against ME are you? That is good to know. No you funny little fellow, it is YOU that is missing the point. Neil Arnold merely said that he found the work of various authors `dated`. You are belittling an organisation which follows in the footsteps of the man usually cited as being "The Father of Cryptozoology".

    I never claimed that I was your better. However, now I come to think of it, I probably am. It wouldn't be hard.

  13. I don't need to belittle the CFZ, they do a very good job all by themselves. And no doubt these exchanges from you, a senior CFZ member and myself are continuing that sterling job. For that I thank you.


  14. I do not think that this is doing anything of the kind. It is just showing you up as a twisted and bitter little man who is batting way out of his league. I have shown you up as a liar once already today, and no doubt will do so again if I can actually be bothered.

  15. LOL

    again I thank you for showing the public the real side of the CFZ.

    You make my job so much easier.

  16. The real side of the CFZ: An organisation aimed at following in the footsteps of Bernard Heuvelmans.

    Your job: To destroy it

    Another of your lies exposed. Somewhere you wrote that you didn't want to destroy the CFZ. I am not going to put that line in quotes because unlike you I check my sources. However, it seems that this was a barefaced lie (yet another one) because your job seems to be to cause the people in charge of the CFZ so much trouble that they eventually give it all up in sheer frustration.

    Well, buddy. That ain't going to happen.

  17. You seem to know a lot about the minds of the people that run the CFZ. Interesting.

    But it's true, I have no wish to "destroy" the CFZ, after all they used to be a great organisation. But recent changes in their directorate, has not necessarily been for the best. There are too many hangers on, surrounding Mr Downes, and unfortunately it has clouded his judgement at times. Which is a shame really. But there you have it.

  18. Out of interest, to which recent changes do you refer? Neil Arnold has been around for years (I don't know how long) as has Richard Freeman who seem to be the two people you are attacking..

  19. At this moment in time, I have no wish to bring out in public, my personal opinions on certain members of the CFZ. I feel that a public blog is not the place for such a discussion. I do have a some respect for Mr Downes and should we meet again, I may air these views to him direct, face to face. (Before he hits me with his walking stick of course and chases me away)


    However should any of these people put their foot in it, so to speak, then I will certainly comment on their actions.

  20. There are a lot of people that associate in the cryptozoological world that the only experience they have is.....witness accounts. Some former ex-fashion writers from the UK are evidence of this. Just because they go to places in the Caribbean to hunt for a chupacabra.....or the high grounds of Wisconsin looking for flying Mothmen, they deem themselves as professionals in the field.My findings are that 99% are in this to sell books and T-shirts and have NEVER had a cryptozoological experience of their own. Yes I am a writer as well, but I do not flaunt it in every post I make. I do remember the 60's and 70's well.....I am that old. It just seems that if anyone has a point to be made....they are allowed to make it, or at the least, inquire about it. If that point is aimed at anyone, it is a matter of sticks and stones and if you have a problem with what is wrote....or said.....provide proof and put a stop to any other line of thought.

  21. ".....provide proof and put a stop to any other line of thought"

    Couldn't have put it better myself.

  22. Despite having spent 40 years as a hunter of the phenomena known as Nessie I would not call myself a professional cryptozoologist. I am however a professional in other fields. Because of this I know cryptozoology will never be seen as professional whilst people continue with these petty attacks on particular organisations or people. Yes academics fight but only over each others theories, they do not make personal attacks. That is the way bullies operate. I can only presume Highland Tiger has some personal vendetta with CFZ for some reason as I have yet to see any other organisations taken to task over anything. All this bickering does is bring cryptozoology into disrepute. You have been shown more than once HT to have misread and then misquoted things from the CFZ website. Yet I see no other misreadings from other crypto websites. There are lots of bullies around in cyber world who appear on crypto sites and bully new comers or those who don't agree with them. Why don't you name and shame them instead?

    BTW There was someone bought a panther from Harrods. They had a furniture shop in Stockport and I can remember reading a news item about it, so there must be some record somewhere.If you insist they only sold lions then maybe you ought to investigate the panther story as well.

  23. Dear Tabitca, for someone who claims I misread and misquote things, (I won't go over your attempts at defending Richard Freeman again, as we have dealt with this in an earlier blog), you shouldn't really rely on your memory as a source of information. As really it is sadly mistaken.

    The case you are alluding to, was a comment made by someone after reading the Daily Mail story about Christian the lion, who coincidently was also kept in a furniture store.

    However, as you can see, it doesn't mention, where the "panther" was purchased. And as Neil Arnold has already said, he was unable to find any records of a black panther sold by Harrods.


    Great story! There were a couple who had a pet panther also in the 1970's. They too had a furniture shop, in Stockport. Apparently, reps from furniture firms used to be a bit nervous when the owner left them in the office with the panther for company! People in those days just thought it a bit eccentric.
    - Graham Forshaw, Preston, Lancs., 05/5/2007 05:24

    With regards to articles about other organisations, you will be pleased to know that I'm currently working on a piece about your favourite topic, Loch Ness, and the infighting that occurs to this very day.

  24. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KIZ0E8RKoE

  25. Thanks TG. I've seen the TV programme made on the story, but this is new footage to me. Great find.

  26. "You have no wish to bring out in public, (...) personal opinions on certain members of the CFZ"

    I thought that is what you have been doing ever since this blog started. You don't like either Neil Arnold or Doc Shiels that much is certain. But it would be very interesting to find out which others of the Permanent Directorate of whom you disapprove? The most senior new person to be appointed since the PD was devised about 10 years ago is Corinna. Surely you cannot mean Mrs Downes?

  27. Mr D, I neither like nor dislike Mr Arnold or Mr Shiels. I am only interested in their actions.

    The Doc, whilst being a bit of a rogue, is not really someone to trust when he has any involvement with any cryptid sighting. It doesn't mean I don't like him, its just I'll always be wary when he is mentiond.

    The only problem I have with Neil Arnold, is the lack of evidence of his theories. No matter what he claims on the CFZ site, I have never denied that some of these cats are escapees/releases, I only disagree on the numbers he makes claims for. I still have yet to see ANY evidence for 100's of big cats being released or even that they are breeding. And by evidence, I mean solid physical evidence, not anecdotes,rumours or stories.

    My opinions of the CFZ members, will be restricted, on this public site, to their actions connected to cryptozoological matters.

    Any other thoughts I have of them will be kept private.

  28. Hi All,
    Judging by the definitions of theories that I can find, none of them say that absolute proof or proof of any kind is required in order to put them forward. Am I processing that incorrectly?
    Just a few comments: The CFZ would be taken more seriously if they didn't get a little too "out there" in the animals they search for. Just like the famous so called cryptozooligist in America who you want to believe but then tries to talk up Mothman and attach it to news stories of the day etc. All ok to a certain extent for entertainment but really a book and shirt seller as someone so correctly put it above. Interested in gathering an army of followers to attack anyone else who disagrees with their published beliefs.
    With regards to authors on crypto in the past we should show some respect as not many of us would still be interested without them. Especially for me BH, J and C Bord and Ted Holiday. No matter what you think of the work they were ground breaking in just getting published. I definetly agree though that they are in no way bibles and in time some may be proved totally wrong but a majority of the time they were just sharing eye witness reports. To me Neil Arnold and others are just a continuation of them as authors. If a kid picks up Neil's book as I did with Di Francis or the Bords in the 70's and has an interest that lasts another 40 years and hopefully more like me then all the better.
    HT: Well done for allowing such an open and public response to your blogs. Very refreshing to the most famous one in the states and hopefully this will be a well followed blog site without the unfortunate immaturity that has followed cz.com for years in the exchanges. It is also good to see there are some smart readers on here who will keep you honest. I won't post again but will definetly come back and read often. All the best, remember it's not life or death and we all put our trousers on the same way. Good luck to every one of you

  29. Highland Tiger thanks for your defence. However I have taken down anything on my site that did not come to me directly or via BCIB. I do not wish to cross anyone or upset anyone. I openly appologise to anyone Ive upset. I am new to big cat reserch and I'm still nieve I admit. Read the website it says so, phone me or email me contact details are not hidden. Big cat reserch is all I'm interested in so like I said I'm sorry to anyone I've upset.

    Rik Snook

  30. Research that is lol sorry carnt spell