Ghost Stories

The Wampus Cat

A Tennessee Spooky Story 

retold by

S. E. Schlosser

They say that the Wampus cat used to be a beautiful Indian woman. The men of her tribe were always going on hunting trips, but the women had to stay home. The Indian woman secretly followed her husband one day when he went hunting with the other men. She hid herself behind a rock, clutching the hide of a mountain cat around her, and spied on the men as they sat around their campfires telling sacred stories and doing magic.

According to the laws of the tribe, it was absolutely forbidden for women to hear the sacred stories and see the tribe's magic. So when the Indian woman was discovered, the medicine man punished her by binding her into the mountain cat skin she wore and then transforming her into a terrible monster - half woman and half mountain cat. Ever after she was doomed to roam the hills, howling desolately because she desires to return to her normal body.

A man was hunting one night with his dogs when they both whimpered and ran off the path. At that moment, the woods were overpowered with a horrible smell like that of a wet animal that had fallen into a bog after it messed with a skunk. Then something howled on the path behind him and the man whirled around, dropping his rifle. His heart pounding with fear, the man found himself staring into the big, glowing yellow eyes of the Wampus Cat. The creature had huge fangs dripping with salvia. It looked kind of like a mountain lion, but it was walking upright like a man. Then it howled, and the man's skin nearly turned inside out in horror.

With a scream of terror, the man leapt backwards and ran as fast as he could through the woods, the Wampus Cat on his heels. He fled to the home of a friend who lived nearby, and burst through the front door only a breath ahead of the creature. His friend slammed the door in the face of the Wampus Cat. Instantly, it started shuddering under the weight of the attacking monster. The man's friend grabbed his Bible and started reading aloud from the Psalms. Upon hearing the holy words, the Wampus Cat howled in frustration and then slowly abandoned its attack and went back into the woods.

The man spent the rest of the night at his friend's place. When he went home at daybreak, he found his dogs huddled in the barn, shaken but still alive. The man never hunted after dark again.


You can read a longer version of this story in Spooky South by S.E. Schlosser.



YAY! The dogs survived! But I feel sorry for the girl and was she trying to kill him or something?

weird. but very creepy i luv it!

It may have been one of those revenge-filled ghosts. Shes so angry at men that she wants to kill them.

Is this really a TN folklore story? Haha, I don't usually associate my state with Indians for some odd reason. Sad story tho - feel sorry for the curious woman. Glad no one died though, hate stories that end like that.

There has always been the tale of my Great-grandfather rushing home one night (in the 40s) out of breath with a face struck with horror. He had said he was walking along and the Wampus attacked him (in Knoxville). He said it took all his might and seemed like forever to fight the animal off. I never even bothered researching this story at all until now. I thought it was a name he had pulled out of the air to scare some people. No idea it was actual East TN folklore...

cool. I like this because I'm from TN and have Cherokee roots :)


CREEPY! I think the huter should have just shot her though.

this was weird but it was a very good story i liked it!!!!!!!

I'ts Woman Bear Cat! part woman, part bear and part cat...

my husbands family is of tn,he was born and raised there,this story is alot like the one i am reserching.but can't say that it is,cause this one is about a "Whistling Jack" in Clifty Gulf,Grundy county,tn.My husband's family said it would follow you,it would scream like a woman,cry like a baby.they said it never hurt no one,thats about all i know.

The girl just wanted to see the men hunting.Geez.she didn't need to be turned into a monster thingamabob.

i love this folktale



cool but i wanted him to get killed!! :( but cool! :)

I was brought up with La Llorona pretty close

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Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series

About the Author: S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press, as well as the Ghost Stories deck by Random House.  She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author. Read more

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