Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 6, 2003 - Issue 95


pictograph divider


The Screaming Panther of Rosarito Beach

by Geoff Hampton

Many, years ago, panthers were found in Rosarito Beach in great numbers. The Native American people admired their hunting prowess and regarded the cats with respect. The Great Creator regarded the panthers as one of the most prized creatures on Mother Earth. The large cats were beautiful, with a jet-black coat and their eyes were a beautiful yellow color. The panthers lived a peaceful life. They had no predators to worry about, so they raised their families and taught their young how to live off the land. Living off the land included eating other animals for food, but this is a part of nature. The Native American people knew that the cats had to hunt to eat, just as they did for part of their food supply.

The Native American people had no fear of the panthers and the panthers had no fear of them. They simply lived in a comfortable state of peaceful coexistence. The panthers prowled the countryside, but also enjoyed playing in the ocean. The ocean is beautiful along Rosarito Beach. The scene is picturesque and the area is rich with wildlife and beautiful birds. It was a place the panthers loved.

The younger panthers loved to jump over the waves as they crashed onto the beach. The younger cats also enjoyed digging and playing in the sand. One of the things that the young panthers enjoyed was playing with sand crabs. They knew that the sand crabs were buried in the sand, and whenever they dug one up, they thought it was hysterical to watch the little crab hurriedly try to dig its way back into the sand! All the young panther's loved that! The young panthers also loved to sneak up on a flock of seagulls. They would creep up, ever so slowly, and then at the last second, rush toward the frightened gulls, causing them to fly up into the air making squawking noises! It was soooo much fun! The younger panthers also loved to swim and play in the surf. The sound was so beautiful to their ears, and the ocean water felt wonderful as it rocked their bodies gently as they swam! They also loved the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. It was such a wonderful sound. All of these joys and more made the ocean seem so magical to them. It almost seemed like paradise. Their lives couldn't be happier!

While the panthers and the Native Americans lived together peacefully, a new type of human entered the panther's domain. The new humans were not the Native Americans who the panthers respected. There was something about these new humans that made the adult panthers very uneasy. The new humans were not in balance with nature, like the Native Americans, and their lack of knowledge caused them to fear the panthers! The new humans noticed that the cats were always nearby. Of course the reason that the cats were always nearby was because the younger cats were curious about these strange new visitors. The elder panthers warned that these humans from far away were dangerous, but the younger panther's sense of curiosity and playfulness got the better of them.

One night, a young boy and a young girl were taking a romantic walk along the beach. Two young panthers saw them and being in a playful mood sprang out from behind a dune and let out a tremendous roar to scare the two humans! The two screamed and tried to run fast as they could down the beach, back to their little town. The two young panthers laughed and laughed at how comical the scene had been. The look on the faces of the two humans, the sound of their screams, and especially the way they stumbled and fell trying to run away in the sand. It was the funniest thing that either of them had ever seen. Even funnier that the sand crabs! The young panthers gleefully told all their friends about their adventure.

One of the elder panthers overheard them laughing and retelling the story. The elder panther became upset and warned all the panthers to beware, as the new humans would probably lash out at the panthers due to their lack of understanding and their fear of the panthers.

Sure enough, as the two young humans got back to town, they told everyone what appeared to be a horrifying story about how the two panthers had tried to attack them while they were walking along the beach. Everyone was outraged and fearful that the panthers would now try to kill them all.

The new humans had many guns and fear and ignorance got the better of them. At first the panthers were easy targets for the humans guns, since they had no fear of humans. These humans with their guns drove the panthers relentlessly. It was a truly sad occurrence. Many adult panthers fell to the guns because they tried to save their young and could not get away fast enough.

Once these atrocities began, a few outraged panthers killed humans out of anger for the slaughter of their brothers and sisters. The cats began to hate these humans. The panthers were being killed and driven from their beloved homeland in Rosarito Beach. Many of the panthers became bitter. A few of the cats that had lost their young to the settler’s guns bonded together with a pact to hunt and kill all of these humans.

This obsession brought disharmony and confusion to the remaining panthers. The elders knew that more human deaths would result in more panther deaths. There were too many humans with guns. Besides, the panthers were not cold-blooded killers. They simply killed in order to eat. That was the law of Mother Nature.

The elders tried to convince all of the panthers to simply leave Rosarito Beach in order to survive. Some reluctantly agreed, although leaving their paradise home would be difficult. Many refused. They said that they would rather die in their homeland, than to give it up. They were not going to leave because of the humans.

This split in the panther's community was sad. As the group of panthers that decided to leave got ready to head further inland, away from their beloved ocean, and Rosarito Beach, emotions ran high. There were many sad farewells. It was a somber occasion. The panthers that remained knew that the humans would try to kill them also.

The humans became obsessed with finding and destroying every panther that remained in Rosarito Beach. The panthers began to hunt and travel only at night. The human settlers began to set traps and put out poisoned bait for them. It was a trying time for the panthers.

As the years passed, the panthers were being literally driven into the sea by the humans. The cats were land animals, and while they loved the ocean, it was not a place where they could survive without some form of help from the Great Creator.

The Great Creator was saddened by the way things were going for his beloved panthers. As their habitat was being destroyed and they were being hunted relentlessly by the humans, an amazing transformation began to take place. With their beloved ocean becoming the only viable option of escape from the humans, the panthers began to notice that their bodies were adapting to the watery habitat in several small ways.

The cats discovered that they could spend more time in the water without any problem. They found that they could hold their breath under water for longer periods of time. Additionally, these cats that had remained in Rosarito Beach began to notice that webs were forming between their toes that enabled them to swim faster and more efficiently. The panthers began to discover that they could actually catch fish underwater to eat!

The panthers couldn't live in the ocean all of the time, but the physical changes proved to be very helpful. The cats lived in the sandy dunes and rocks near the ocean most of the time. They were on constant watch for the humans. They still had fun playing along the beach and did particularly enjoy the new challenge that "fishing" presented to them. Their survival began to seem more possible. Even with the hated humans not far away, the panthers were doing well and began enjoying themselves again.

Whenever the humans came near, the cats simply swam far out into the surf to avoid them. This was very puzzling to the humans. There were still plenty of panther tracks in the sand, but the number of sightings became less frequent. The majority of the panthers became content to enjoy their new life and tried to forget the horrors of the past years. They knew that they could not bring their loved ones back and that the humans guns would kill more of them if they went near them.

The option of mating was seriously diminished by the new lifestyle that the panthers had been forced to adopt. Some panthers had small litters occasionally, but most often, only one or two of the kittens would survive. One panther, named "Red Tail", who was so named because of her oddly colored red tail, had a litter secretly in the dunes, and five little panthers survived! It was a glorious day for the panthers of Rosarito Beach. They would all love and cherish these young cats. Red Tail loved her little kittens so much! She was so proud of them.

As the young cats grew a little older, Red Tail began to feel confident enough to take back some responsibility and helped out with the daily routines of the group. When she would go out into the ocean to help gather food, other cats would happily watch over her five beautiful young ones. All of the panthers, especially the females argued over who's "turn" it was to watch them when Red Tail was away. It made her feel happy and proud about how well behaved her young ones were.

One day, Red Tail agreed to go out into the surf to help gather food. She was accompanied on the mission by three male panthers. The rest of the panthers stayed behind with Red Tail's five little ones. When Red Tail was approaching the beach after the food-gathering foray, she had a horrible sense that something was wrong. She didn't hear any playing. She didn't see any of the other panthers and the whole scene seemed ominous.

As she hurried ashore, she saw the panther "Tanya" lying on the beach in a pool of blood. Tanya was moaning and coughing. As Tanya's eyes met Red Tail's, Tanya burst into uncontrollable crying and sobbing. Red Tail rushed over, panic-stricken. Tanya had been severely wounded by the human’s guns and was very weak.

"Where are my babies!?!?", cried Red Tail. Suddenly Tanya became very quiet. As she fought back tears and pain, she explained that the panthers had been having a wonderful time playing in the surf and the sand that earlier that afternoon. They did not realize that while they were playing, many human hunters were secretly creeping through the rocks and dunes and were on top of them when they stood up and started shooting their guns wildly at the cats.

The adult panthers tried to save the young ones, but were all killed. Tanya had tried to escape into the surf with little "Sparkle", Red Tails favorite little cub, but the hunters bullets killed the baby and seriously wounded Tanya. She started losing consciousness in the surf. As she drifted in and out of consciousness, she knew that she had to get farther out into the surf if she was to survive. From a spot far out in the surf, she saw the humans gathering up the dead panthers, including the babies and dragging them off the beach. That was the last thing that she remembered.

Red Tail let out a blood curdling scream that sent chills up and down the spines of the other panthers. Even the humans heard her bloodcurdling cry and it sounded especially frightening to them. Suddenly Red Tail went into a blind rage and began to run wildly toward the area where the humans lived. She had tears of agony streaming down her face. The other three healthy panthers tried to stop her, because they knew that she would be killed too. Finally the three males were able to subdue her. She had run far and the horrible emotion had drained her of all of her energy. She simply fell to the ground, sobbing uncontrollably. She was hysterical and thrashed about in the sand unable to regain her composure.

Her good friend and mate "Green Eyes", who had been hunting with her that day agreed to stay with Red Tail while the other two, "Lop Ear" and "Savage" went back to see if they could help the poor dying Tanya. As Lop Ear and Savage drew near to the spot on the beach where they had left Tanya, they began to hear human voice sounds.

It was well after the sunset by this time and darkness had fallen for several hours, but there was an eerie glowing from a fire on the beach where Tanya had been left. As the two cats crept through the dunes, the human voice sounds grew progressively louder. As they crawled up the last dune before the beach, their eyes beheld a ghastly sight.

The humans were standing over poor Tanya. She was softly crying out for help, and was very weak. She seemed to sense that Lop Ear and Savage were near by and she slowly lifted her head and looked in their direction. Savage and Tanya's eyes met and Tanya slowly began to smile. Suddenly a loud bang broke the still of the evening accompanied by a tremendous flash of light that caused the two healthy cats to look away. It had startled them both.

There was now laughter coming from the humans. As Lop Ear and Savage looked back, Tanya was deathly still with her eyes closed and blood coming from her nose and mouth. The humans had shot her again, and they were laughing about it! The two powerful male cats were enraged. Lop Ear let out a tremendous roar that startled the settlers. Suddenly Lop Ear sprang from the dunes and rushed toward the startled humans.

As he ran toward them he heard another loud bang, accompanied by a tremendous flash of light and felt a horrible, jolting pain go deep into his powerful chest. The impact knocked him to the sand. Savage looked on in horror as the humans rushed toward Lop Ear. Suddenly, a series of loud bangs and flashes of light broke through the darkness. Lop Ear let out a terrible cry of agony and then fell silent.

Tears welled up in Savage's eyes and he didn't know what to do. As he watched in horror, the humans went up to Lop Ear and Savage heard many more loud bangs and saw the flashes of light as the settlers repeatedly shot his already dead friend. Then the night was broken again by the laughter of the humans.

Savage was dazed and confused. His spirit urged him to attack, but he knew that he would die also. The humans took the two dead panthers and hung them by their paws from a long pole. They began to carry them down the beach, laughing and talking human things. They were going to pass close to Savage. He simply could not contain himself any longer. The whole scene had been too horrible.

As the human settlers drew near, Savage attacked. He ran full speed, while letting out a tremendous roar as he leaped into the air. He knocked one of the humans down and was about to kill him when another loud sound and flash of light broke through the night. Savage was killed instantly.

Green Eyes and Red Tail had been listening in the distance and were filled with anxiety. They knew the sounds could not bode well for their friends. Red Tail was still weak and distraught, so she couldn't begin to summon the strength to go investigate the situation. Green Eyes asked her if it would be okay if he left her alone while he went to investigate. Red Tail said that it would be all right, so he immediately left and headed toward the beach.

A few minutes later, Red Tail heard more loud noises and saw flashes of light towards the beach. Green Eyes never came back. Neither did the other cats. She sobbed quietly, knowing what truth tomorrow would bring. Red Tail would awake to be the only panther left alive in Rosarito Beach. Their paradise had been completely destroyed. Her home, her friends, her family, her children, all taken away from her by the humans. She vowed to exact revenge on these human creatures. She would make them pay a dear price for all that they had done.

The Great Creator looked down and was deeply saddened by what had happened to the panthers of Rosarito Beach. He especially felt a great sorrow for poor Red Tail. She had been such a loving creature. She had been such a wonderful, proud mother. The Great Creator came to Red Tail in her sleep. Although she would never know it, the Great Creator touched her and empowered her to live for as long as it would take in order to exact her revenge. She was still a living creature and could be killed if not careful, but the Great Creator gave her as much time as she needed to ease her anguish and pain.

Red Tail now became extremely cautious. She learned how to avoid the humans through great stealth and awareness. She spent a great deal of time in the ocean now that she was alone and only came ashore at night. With her jet black coat, she was able to move about almost as if she were invisible at night. Whenever she came ashore, she would let out a blood curdling scream to let the humans know that she was coming for them. She killed many humans.

The humans were becoming panic stricken. Some even claimed that Red Tail must be the devil himself. Her legend grew quickly and spread far and wide. The humans hunted day and night to try to find her to kill her, but to no avail. The humans hired the greatest hunters from every corner of the earth to come to Rosarito Beach to hunt her down and kill her. Great financial rewards were offered for her, dead or alive. However, there was no one who could kill her, or even find her for that matter.

Red Tail knew that the humans were trying to kill her. She sensed that they were sending their best after her, but she knew when to stay away and when to come ashore. One year, a great hunter was hired from a far away land called Africa. His name was James "Wild Man" Forrest. "Wild Man" Forrest was supposed to be the greatest big game hunter to have ever lived.

Rosarito Beach was in a very festive mood when he arrived on that hot July evening long ago. Red Tail saw all of the commotion and decided that she would investigate the goings on. On that same night she came ashore around 1:00 am. She let out a bloodcurdling scream as she came out of the surf in Rosarito Beach.

"Wild Man" Forrest was staying in the beautiful home of a prominent Baja California lawyer, named Manny Chacon who lived in Rosarito Beach. Everyone was drinking heavily and when they heard the scream, they all thought that it must be a practical joke and continued to have a wonderful time celebrating James Forrest's arrival.

As Red Tail quietly approached the party, she saw everyone honoring "Wild Man" Forrest and acting as though he were some type of conquering hero. Then some of the humans brought out heads of animals mounted on pieces of wood and "Wild Man" would raise them up over his head to the cheers of the other humans. Then, someone brought out the head of panther mounted on wood and gave that to the man who proceeded to raise it over his head.

Before any of the humans had a chance to cheer, Red Tail lunged over a small fence at the Chacon residence. Everyone screamed in panic and they tried to run in all different directions, knocking over tables and chairs in their fear. When it was all over, James "Wild Man" Forrest had simply become yet another victim of the screaming panther of Rosarito Beach.

There was absolute pandemonium after her bold attack. Rosarito Beach was in an unenviable position from a business point of view. This latest, bold attack was too much. She simply had to be destroyed.

The next couple of years, Red Tail spent no time at all seeking revenge. Sometimes she would come quietly ashore to reminisce in the dunes and rocks, but she stayed away from the humans for that period of time. She just let the humans settle back into a feeling of safety and security.

With no attacks in four years, everyone presumed that she had died. By this time she had already killed approximately 40 people, as far as the record indicates. She did not care whether her victims were adults, or children, as the humans had certainly killed her beloved children.

The humans that Red Tail killed were usually reported as disappearances since she would typically drag the bodies back into the sea with her and authorities did not want to create panic. After all, business is very important to the humans.

Since her time on earth is not over, there is no way of telling how many more humans she may take. Although Red Tail is older now, and her attacks are less frequent, she still occasionally comes ashore with a thirst for revenge, especially during the summer months when there are humans as far as the eye can see on Rosarito Beach.

Her favorite spot is in the area of Rosarito Beach where her precious babies had been murdered. She will never forget what happened so long ago to her beloved panthers. She still lets out a bloodcurdling scream when she comes out of the surf, and she still thirsts for revenge. If you are ever in Rosarito Beach and you hear a bloodcurdling scream during the night, then just run. Don't look back, just run! Because, she will get you! The legend says that Red Tail may never be completely satisfied with her revenge. A mother’s grief is a powerful force. In the meantime, BEWARE the screaming panther of Rosarito Beach!

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. He is also the Director of Marketing for Indian Voices Newspaper and can be reached by E-mail at

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!