Dried cat

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Dried cats and rats from the Stag Inn, All Saints Street, Hastings.

It is the custom in some European cultures to place the dried or desiccated body of a cat inside the walls of a newly built home to ward off evil or as a good luck charm. Although some accounts claim the cats were walled in alive, examination of recovered specimens indicates post-mortem concealment in most cases.

Origins[edit]

In the British Isles,[1][2] as well as in northern Europe and North America,[3] the dried or mummified bodies of cats are frequently found concealed within structures and are believed to have been placed there to bring good luck or to protect the building and its occupants from harm. In some cases, the animals are found deliberately posed as if in the midst of attack.[4] In other cases, they are accompanied by dried rats, mice, or birds.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Merrifield, Ralph (1987), The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, Batsford, ISBN 978-0-7134-4870-2 
  2. ^ Hoggard, Brian (2004), "The archaeology of counter-witchcraft and popular magic", in Davies, Owen; De Blécourt, William, Beyond the Witchtrials: Witchcraft and Magic in Enlightenment Europe, Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-0-7190-6660-3 
  3. ^ Manning, M. Chris (2012), Homemade Magic: Concealed Deposits in Architectural Contexts in the Eastern United States 
  4. ^ Howard, Margaret M. (1951), "252. Dried Cats", Man 51, Wiley, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, doi:10.2307/2794702 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Hoggard, Brian (2004), "The archaeology of counter-witchcraft and popular magic", in Davies, Owen; De Blécourt, William, Beyond the Witchtrials: Witchcraft and Magic in Enlightenment Europe, Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-0-7190-6660-3 
  • Manning, M. Chris (2012), Homemade Magic: Concealed Deposits in Architectural Contexts in the Eastern United States  Master’s thesis, Anthropology Program, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.
  • Merrifield, Ralph (1987), The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, Batsford, ISBN 978-0-7134-4870-2 
  • Howard, Margaret M. (1951), "252. Dried Cats", Man 51, Wiley, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, doi:10.2307/2794702 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hoggard, Brian (2015). "Concealed Animals", in Hutton, Ronald (ed.). Physical Evidence for Ritual Acts, Sorcery and Witchcraft in Christian Britain. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1137444813.

External links[edit]