The Catman of Greenock: The True Story

The scenic fishing town of Greenock, just 25 miles west of Glasgow, has long been considered one of the loveliest towns in the country. However, when the sun sets and night has descended upon its shores, the residents of Greenock know that something is creeping in the darkness, watching them silently as they hurry back to their homes.

The Catman of Greenock is a legend that goes back reportedly to the 1970’s. Children all over Scotland have been told stories of a small man-like creature with completely coal-black skin and glowing eyes. It is said that when the moon rises, the Catman would lurk amongst the shadows, devouring rodents and alarming the citizens. For many years, the stories were passed around between terrified school children, and this nightmare fuel was believed to be simply that - just a dream.

To some, the Catman was a cryptozoological beast, the last of its kind living on the edges of society. To others, the legend of the Catman was the work of local pranksters, intent on scaring the drunks stumbling out of the pub at night. Even the police, who often fielded reports about Catman sightings, were unsure of what to make of the stories. That was the case until an unnerving cellphone video surfaced online, taken by a local boy in 2007.

The grainy video shows an older man, covered completely in soot or in black dirt, all over his face and hands. Then man is crawling around under cars in a bus garage located next to his den. He is lying on his stomach and he has a large rodent hanging out of his mouth. He looks at the camera with a blank expression, gives a thumbs up to the videographer, and continues eating his rat. The Catman of Greenock had finally been spotted with concrete evidence.

As the video began spreading around online, the Greenock Social Work sent someone up to the site to see if Catman could be located in order to provide assistance, fearing he was suffering from some sort of mental health disorder. However, they could never find him. Photos of the Catman began to appear online, intermittently. One photo showed a young girl posing next to the man with the glowing eyes and another photo shows the Catman next to a tray of food and water someone gave him.

The generally agreed upon backstory of the Catman of Greenock is that he was once a Russian sailor who had gotten stranded in Scotland, where he lost his mind. The story has changed and had many variations over time. The most popular theory is that that the Catman was a once Russian sailor who had gotten stranded in Scotland in the 1970’s. Without any money or family, he was forced to live on the streets, scrounging for food. Eventually, his mental state deteriorated and he became as much a beast as he was a man, living alone in the woods and sustaining himself on the vermin that he caught. Others say that he was a man who had found himself on the wrong end of a situation with the mob, who broke his legs. This is why he is so often seen crawling around and he has lived on the streets of the town to avoid being found again.

According to those who have interacted with him, the Catman is strange yet harmless. He is believed to live down a narrow, cobbled lane, near the east end of the town. He does not live in any shelter as far as anyone knows, but was seen coming out of the scrublands and wooded areas. He has been known to stand for time to time, and respond to people, but he cannot speak and may respond with simple gestures. He is usually seen crawling on the ground or even slithering about, always covered in soot with cat-like eyes. He eats rats and mice and may eat food that has been left out for him by a curious or well-intentioned local. As far as being the “Cat” man, it is said he is often around cats, or that he may be sharing his den with some cats, but that doesn’t harm them. The relationship appears to be more that the looks after them, although some people imagine that he may believe that he too is a cat.

The Catman of Greenock is likely the only urban legend to have his very own Facebook fan page, where a small group of devotees post sightings, rumors, and custom-made Halloween costumes in tribute of the strangest resident in their town. He Is known to disappear from time to time, but he has always returned. Images of his blackened face surfacing as recently as April 2015. However, his Facebook page hasn't reported any new sightings since the summer of 2017, and some of his most ardent fans are worried about his well-being.