SI Vault
William Buchanan
December 06, 1982
Old Screamer made his first appearance one balmy midnight in the spring of 1940. For years the abandoned quarry three miles south of the Western Kentucky town of Eddyville (pop. 2,407) had been a favored parking spot for lovers. On this particular night, two cars sat on the gravel bed at the base of the 35-foot-high limestone cliff that rose above the horseshoe-shaped quarry on three sides. From one car radio wafted a strain of soft music. Suddenly, from the crest of the cliff, a blood-chilling scream pierced the night. In unison two car engines roared to life. Gander Galusha and his date heard something heavy land on the roof of their Chevrolet convertible. Then came a ripping sound. The startled couple looked up through a gaping hole to see a snarling animal clawing madly through the canvas top. Gander threw the car in gear, pressed the accelerator to the floor and spun the car around on the gravel. The maneuver flung the animal from the roof. Gander didn't stop to see what it was. Nor did the couple in the other car, who were already well away.
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December 06, 1982

My Hunt For Old Screamer Was A Serious Case Of Mistaken Identity

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Late that afternoon my father drove me to the quarry, where I recovered my gun. Sheepishly, I looked up at the cliff and wondered if Old Screamer was watching. I soon learned that he wasn't.

Two days later Sam Litchfield drove into town blasting away on his horn. I ran to join the crowd that quickly gathered in front of Gresham's grocery store, where Sam parked his truck. In the bed of the truck, dead as a doornail, was the largest, most ferocious looking bobcat anyone there had ever seen. Gazing down on that unmoving but still frightening form, I knew that Old Screamer had screamed his last.

"I went hunting for him," Sam explained. "To even the score for Pepper. But I didn't kill him. Found him up on the cliff, neck broken clean as a whistle. There's some powerful jaw marks on his neck. Looks like he finally tangled with one dog he couldn't handle."

It must have been Moses. Now I knew why he was wandering back down the trail that night. He'd finished the job he'd climbed that cliff to do.

Moses' wounds were superficial and healed quickly. For two weeks he avoided me completely. But in time he forgave me and our friendship renewed itself. For the remainder of his long life he would accompany me on my visits to the old swimming hole, tag along when I fished the bar ditches and roam the woods at my side in search of his favorite persimmons and paw-paws. But after that ill-fated night of Old Screamer, he never went hunting with me again.

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