The whole of the greater Falmouth and Penryn area is abuzz with the news that a mysterious animal has been spotted on the coastal path between Maenporth and Swanpool beaches.
The beast was spotted by 23 year old Sam Bradbury, who had the presence of mind to go home and make a frankly excellent drawing of the mystery creature:
Speculation about the animal's identity is almost rife. Richard Freeman from Exeter thinks it could be an aye-aye or a spring hare, escaped from a private collection. Falmouth Packet reporter Emma Goodfellow, clearly not letting facts, the evidence presented in the above sketch or common sense get in the way of the Packet's best story of the year so far, suggests that it might be a lion or a kangaroo.
Yet despite the paper calling on the local community to identify the animal once and for all, it seems that so far no one has managed to solve the mystery.
Fortunately, past experience has made me something of an expert in cryptozoology, and over the years I have built up an extensive library of arcane literature on the subject. While gazing absent-mindedly at Sam Bradbury's drawing, it suddenly struck me that I'd seen something very like it before, in one of the books in my collection.
Fired with the thrill of intellectual pursuit, I made a cup of peppermint tea, repaired to the library and began rifling through the dusty, leather-bound tomes.
It wasn't in any of those, though, so I turned my attention to more recent works.
It wasn't long before I found what I'd been looking for: a series of rough anatomical sketches bearing a striking resemblance to the creature in Sam's drawing:
Setting stylistic differences aside, the illustration at the top left-hand side of the page clearly depicts the creature adopting the same hind-legged stance that Sam so memorably describes. Combined with the uncannily similar references to a bushy (or 'fluffy') tail, I think we can quite safely conclude that the Beast of Falmouth and the beast described in this book are of one and the same species.
It seems that John Meek, animal collections manager at Newquay Zoo, wasn't far from the truth when he gave his expert opinion to the West Briton newspaper: "It doesn't look like anything I have ever seen. The closest thing is a wallaby, although that does not have a cat's face."
Indeed it doesn't, John, indeed it doesn't.
NEXT WEEK: Legendary Owlman of Mawnan 'probably just a big owl'.
UPDATE: Occasional Poster of Comments points out that Sam has a history of inventing bizarre animals, including these ones (more here):
Never trust anything you read in a town full of art students.