The Tiger of Paris
November 15, 2014 5:07 PM   Subscribe

In the year 1450, a pack of man-eating wolves invaded Paris. Dozen of Parisians died, until the people lured the wolves into the Île de la Cité and stoned them to death. This year, a new beast was sighted prowling the suburbs of Paris. Was it a tiger? Or was it something else?
posted by mbrubeck (58 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Paris ain't got nothing on Jackson NJ.

We had a tiger appear in the woods, and you would have though it was from the Six Flags safari in town, but no it was from a different source. A lady who had 20+ tigers on her property in the middle of suburban NJ.

Strange shit happens in central NJ.
posted by Ferreous at 5:29 PM on November 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


New Jersey is the most mystical state in the union.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 PM on November 15, 2014 [15 favorites]


The first Harold and Kumar movie is probably the most accurate film about New Jersey that's ever been made.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:44 PM on November 15, 2014 [14 favorites]


Big deal. The Paso Robles Capybara was totally real, and awesome.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:49 PM on November 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


i like that the main suspicion is that it's just a big fat cat
posted by poffin boffin at 5:57 PM on November 15, 2014 [11 favorites]


This thread is pretty much how conversations go at parties sometimes.

1 guy says something about Paris.
3 guys talk about Jersey
1 guy about California
...

and then we forgot to talk about the cat in paris.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:04 PM on November 15, 2014 [13 favorites]


New Jersey is the most mystical state in the union.

Not that I doubt you, necessarily, but I'm curious as to what your reasoning is, here.
posted by dogheart at 6:11 PM on November 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Does France have like pumas or cougars or catamounts?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:14 PM on November 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


No, they killed them all.
posted by desjardins at 6:14 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had totally forgotten until oneswellfoop's comment reminded me that I had to deal with a capybara in a dream recently.
posted by univac at 6:26 PM on November 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh, I was wrong, pumas/cougars/catamounts (all the same animal, btw) were only ever in the Americas; I was thinking of bears that were driven to extinction. I don't think there were ever big cats that were native to Europe.
posted by desjardins at 6:29 PM on November 15, 2014


I'm wrong again.
Once the Eurasian lynx was quite common in all of Europe. By the middle of the 19th century, it had become extirpated in most countries of Central and Western Europe. Recently, there have been successful attempts to reintroduce this lynx to forests.
posted by desjardins at 6:32 PM on November 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are Eurasian Lynxes in the Pyrenees and Alps. Not generally to be found knocking about the Parisian outskirts or EuroDisney car park though.
posted by sobarel at 6:33 PM on November 15, 2014


Also, not that it's super relevant, but just interesting: History of lions in Europe.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:34 PM on November 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


New Jersey is the most mystical state in the union.

Of course, from where do you think the Jersey Devil draws his power?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


New Jersey is the most mystical state in the union.

Only if you separate "mystical" from other genre modifiers. New Jersey might be the most *mystical*, maybe, arguably, but New Mexico is a science fiction land that seems completely made up about 50% of the time.
posted by NoraReed at 6:57 PM on November 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


No, they killed them all.

I'm not sure if Europeans were more motivated to extirpate or if they just got good at it (and have a nicely contained area of land, bordered mostly by water, making it easier), but damn my ancestors were some killing SOBs.

The continued reports of wildlife moving back in pleases me, though with population densities that high I doubt large apex predators will be tolerated.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:58 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I saw this movie I think

Also, X-Files episodes have made me terrified of NJ. Too many weird monsters over there.
posted by curious nu at 6:59 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


> New Jersey is the most mystical state in the union

The tiger could've gotten to France from Jersey via the tunnel.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:03 PM on November 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, X-Files episodes have made me terrified of NJ. Too many weird monsters over there.

Ah yes, in the massive temperate rainforests of NJ. I loved X-files trying to pretend the PNW was every state.
posted by Ferreous at 7:06 PM on November 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's just a big fat cat.

Instantly reminded me of Father Ted.
posted by arcticseal at 7:08 PM on November 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


curious nu: "I saw this movie I think"

I also thought of The Brotherhood of the Wolf, but apparently that was based on yet another monstrous French wolf.
posted by RobotHero at 7:19 PM on November 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I gotta say, I am loving the way this played out. One woman in a suburb of Paris says, "I see a tiger!" Or, more likely, "Je vois en Tigre!", and nearly the entire police force shows up prepared to hunt down the big cat.

It's just, well, it's nice to hear a news story where men take a woman seriously right from the beginning for a change, isn't it?
posted by misha at 8:05 PM on November 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


New Jersey is the most mystical state in the union.

Not that I doubt you, necessarily, but I'm curious as to what your reasoning is, here.


This is what I thought of.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:13 PM on November 15, 2014


I totally thought he was going to go with toothless tiger or maybe paper tiger, but BAM - Tiger by the tail. I stand in awe sir.
posted by mattoxic at 8:14 PM on November 15, 2014


we have lions AND tigers in michigan, but they're not really dangerous
posted by pyramid termite at 8:25 PM on November 15, 2014


pyramid termite: "we have lions AND tigers in michigan, but they're not really dangerous"

I'm sure they're downright vicious compared to the Bears we have in Illinois.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:41 PM on November 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


I wonder about the possibility that it's really a serval or a hybrid, given that the animal's range overlaps with francophone Africa. We do know there's an illicit trade.
posted by dhartung at 9:55 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm wrong again.

Nah. Lynx aren't big cats, they only weight 40-50 lbs and that's the Eurasian ones, which are the biggest.
posted by fshgrl at 10:27 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


They still have lynx in Spain and in Bosnia. 40 lbs isn't even leopard sized, let alone tiger sized.
Still that's bigger than a house-cat.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:41 PM on November 15, 2014


savannah cat pictures:

savannah cat pictures

It could be one of these...
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:48 PM on November 15, 2014


It might be American and in Paris by way of London, but that would make it canine, not feline.

There's also this, if you want to go down the mystery route.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:18 PM on November 15, 2014


A guy had a tiger (and an alligator, and a cat and a dog) in his apartment in NYC.

No one knew until he got bitten while breaking up a fight between the tiger and the cat, and they were a bit suspicious at the hospital. ("Your dog bit you? That must be a big freakin dog!")

He actually had a roomate that he didn't tell at first, until she saw it roaming the apartment.

As for the Paris feline, is it a cat or a tiger? The footprint is of a cat, but I wouldn't get all comfortable yet. Couldn't there be a cat and a tiger?
posted by eye of newt at 12:44 AM on November 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Little old lady got mutilated late last night.

Sorry. Different town.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:22 AM on November 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


How quickly we forget The Essex Lion (n.b. comic, but with very strong swearing).
posted by howfar at 2:14 AM on November 16, 2014


Some of the footprints looked pretty dog-like - claws out rather than in. Presumably those aren't the ones that the specialist mysterious-big-cat-hunters were going by, though? You would hope at least.

The woman who saw it and took the photo thought it was a lynx. Still on the big side to be confused with a domestic cat, but seems more likely than mistaking one for a tiger.
posted by Catseye at 2:35 AM on November 16, 2014


Liam Neeson travelled back in time?
posted by Yowser at 2:39 AM on November 16, 2014


Both Chessy and Montévrain are adjacent to the Disney amusement park, which is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Paris.

I don't understand why a town called Cheesy isn't already part of Euro-Disney.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:48 AM on November 16, 2014


I think this is a marketing stunt for those Francophone cat videos...

When we hear the mystery cat say "Poom," we can be sure.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:13 AM on November 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


There are flying tigers in Paris.
posted by Segundus at 4:02 AM on November 16, 2014


While the tiger sighting was bogus, it is still little known that racoons have been gaining ground in France (PDF in French, with maps). French racoons descend from pets brought (and abandoned) by US troops in the 1940-1960s, though some may be the progeniture of "nazi racoons" introduced in Germany by Hermann Goering in 1934.
posted by elgilito at 7:52 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I appolgize to the citizens of Paris for any alarm I may have caused.

While deployed to Siberia with a joint American-Russian counter occult task force, I contracted the relapsing/remitting were-tiger variant of lycanthropy. This condition is normally well controlled by medication and temporary confinement. If the medication fails to suppress the symptoms, I just lock myself in my room with some catnip and some rare meat for a day or two until it passes.
Last week I was in Paris. The suppressed literature section of the archives of the Lovre contains an ancient pre-Islamic text known as K'tab al Mareed. This book contains a set of spells used to summon and bind various evil supernatural creatures. ISIS operatives stole the book. I was part of a NATO investigative team tasked with recovering the book. TLdR We recovered the book, but during the recovery I had an episode. I ate a terrorist, then wander off to spend some time wandering the suburbs of Paris. Someone took my picture and now the French government has issued a cover story.
posted by humanfont at 8:29 AM on November 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


This would explain why your user name sometimes reads "tigerfont."
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:33 AM on November 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Like so?
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


While the tiger sighting was bogus, it is still little known that racoons have been gaining ground in France (PDF in French, with maps). French racoons descend from pets brought (and abandoned) by US troops in the 1940-1960s, though some may be the progeniture of "nazi racoons" introduced in Germany by Hermann Goering in 1934.

Interesting: That PDF mentions not just the North American "raton laveur" raccoon (with two c's, England!), but also the Asian "chien viverrin" -- tanuki. Looks like France will soon be overrun by two kinds of cuteness.

I suppose the traditional diet of frogs and snails might be in jeopardy, but raccoons have more meat on them anyway.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:08 AM on November 16, 2014


yeah, but they'll spend the difference in flashlights, coon dogs and miller
posted by pyramid termite at 9:15 AM on November 16, 2014


Simone Simon immediately came to mind for me.

Also, what twoleftfeet said. Waa-oooooo.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 9:43 AM on November 16, 2014


The French should get one of their skunks to hound that pussy until it gives in.
posted by Renoroc at 10:52 AM on November 16, 2014


Nazi raccoons

Now we know the plot of Iron Sky 2.
posted by arcticseal at 11:26 AM on November 16, 2014


I sort of like the idea of a world where humans were still hunted by animals, even in cities and towns.

It'd remind people that we still live in the food-chain.
posted by quin at 12:39 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nah. Lynx aren't big cats, they only weight 40-50 lbs and that's the Eurasian ones, which are the biggest.

What is the groundspeed of a Eurasian lynx?
posted by ennui.bz at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2014


I sort of like the idea of a world where humans were still hunted by animals, even in cities and towns.
People in Mumbai disagree (more info )
posted by elgilito at 2:10 PM on November 16, 2014


What is the groundspeed of a Eurasian lynx?

coconut-laden or non coconut-laden?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:29 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Now we know the plot of Iron Sky 2.

Nazi dinosaurs, actually.

Seriously.
posted by brundlefly at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2014


I know. Would have posted it except for the open Indiegogo campaign.
posted by arcticseal at 4:15 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19810908&id=jBoQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EIsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5529,1140040

A Penguin once came ashore in Monmouth Beach, NJ adding to the states mystical status. I used to live across the street from the arresting officer.


A Gorilla was recently sighted in Wall NJ. Google "gorilla, Allaire" for the story. All delusions aside, a Gorilla sighting is not the first in that part of Monmouth County. Since the mid 60s there have been about 15 sightings with about 12 in the past 10 years.

I once spoke with a guy who grew up in the same general area. At some point, we were talking about how the area has seen a huge amount of development since the 70s and how it was possible for kids to spend a day in the local woods goofing off and have plenty of time to get home for dinner. So this guy says that he and his friends were doing normal kids stuff and decided to climb a tall pine tree that had a view of the Ocean from the very top. They all climbed as high as they could for a look. As they were looking at the Ocean, one of them noticed something looking back from another tall pine about 50 feet away. This person swears that whatever it was, looked just like a gorilla. The person, now an adult, and 35 years later, seemed pretty sincere about what he thinks he saw. The more recent Allaire Gorilla sighting made me think of the older story and the others I've read and wonder at the weirdness that is NJ.



Pumas also have been seen in Colts Neck, even though Florida has the only acknowledged population east of the Mississippi.
posted by otto42 at 7:30 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aw man, this story had given me the chance to talk with Parisian colleagues about cougars in my original part of the world (Pac NW).

Now I'm teasing them about perspective in photography (many of them had seen the photo and been convinced; I thought it looked suspiciously like a regular ol' cat – HA!).

French press is reporting that feline experts have identified it as a chat forestier, or European wildcat. The average male weight of 5kg is a full kilo less than my own coon-cat. I doubt he's been the one prowling the Parisian countryside, however.
posted by fraula at 1:02 AM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


French press is reporting that feline experts have identified it as a chat forestier

I have identified it as "adorably fluffy with a very pink nose." I also have identified it as a wild animal who should be left to go about her/his business.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:59 AM on November 17, 2014


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