Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Was there ever a Milwaukee lion?

Nothing is certain in life, but I for one an willing to bet there is no African lion loose in Milkwaukee.  And no mountain lion either. The human brain is fallible, suggestible, and in some people, attention seeking.  Psychologically it is most like;y that a case of mistaken identity based on distorted sense of scale that snowballed into a lion panic. More and more people claim to have seen the beast, but only one image exists and it is anatomically more consistent with a domesticated animal than a lion or cougar.

Neither academics nor police helped people keep this in perspective as they elaborated on how such an animal might end up in Milkwaukee, as if this was actually very likely.  And making statements like " was a 100% confirmation that it was a lion-like animal" as if eye witnesses are never incorrect and people don't mistake domestic animals for lions. Meanwhile the media continue to illustrate Milwaukee lion stories with stock photographs of real lions, because... well, it looks cool I guess and who cares how misleading it is?

A somewhat credulous belief in unusual beasts seems to be just part of human nature, with the United States being home to many mythical large cats and media flare ups about alleged sightings.  However in this age of cell phones, even low quality pictures remain a rarity. Like any good scientist I am ready to be proven wrong if the evidence comes along.  But until then this one just goes into the bulging file of Charismatic Megafauna That Never Were.

This is now being added as a label on this blog; expect to see more.  I will keep a tally of how many of these creatures are ever demonstrated to exist.

Edited to Add: On a related note, no these murders are not "witchcraft" and have nothing to do with the blue moon.

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