I saw a cougar in McMahan's Cove, near Stevenson in Jackson County, in about 1972. I was with my two cousins, all of us boys then. We watched it for maybe a minute from about 40 yards away as it crossed the paved road. We were either walking or on bicycles. We were on a hill and the big cat was below us, down in a sink in the road. This is a very rural area, where the two nearest houses are about a mile apart.
The image and memory are vivid in my mind. I recently talked to my cousins about the incident, asking them "did we imagine that or really see it?" They both emphatically remember it exactly as I do. It was quite dark brown colored. It came out of the mountain and walked across the road, east to west, under an electric fence and into the pasture.
All three of us cousins were raised in this area, in the country, and we were then and are now very familiar with the great outdoors and wild life. This was unlike anything we'd ever seen before or since.