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  • Cat Cruelty in Nineteenth-Century Magic May 21, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    cats magic

    ***Unexpected summer flu, the result of sitting up all night and writing about boggarts then taking students up a mountain: act your age!***

    Why is it always the cats that suffer? Beach has not the slightest idea but here is yet more proof that few animals get a worse deal from the esoteric world. The first is an arthritis story 1840

    A few evenings since a number of persons were attracted to a field abutting on the Globe-road [Lonon], Mile-end, in consequence of a report being spread that a man, the occupier of a small shop in the neighbourhood, was sitting on a bank in the field with the carcase of a cat placed on his right knee. On inquiring into the circumstances of this singular exhibition, it appeared that the deluded man had for some time been afflicted with a contraction of one of his knees, for which he had received medical advice, but unattended with success. Under the influence of an absurd superstition indulged in by the lower class of Irish people, to which nation he is said to belong, he resolved upon killing a cat which he had in his house, and, after removing the entrails of the animal, to sit for the space of three days with the remains of the body upon the part affected, in the hope of effecting [sic] a cure. This he actually did, carrying out his intention by remaining in one position almost the whole of the time, at the expiration of which he returned to his home. During the period that he was in the situation alluded to a vast concourse of persons assembled by many of whom he was scoffed at and jeered, but this did not seem to produce any effect upon him.  

    And this one is from 1847.

    A few days ago, a single man, from twenty to thirty years of age, named Robert Ashworth, residing at Marland, Castleton, went to a woman named Alice Platt alias Crap, Brick Croft, near Toad Lane [Rochdale], who is said to be a fortune-teller, and a seller of charms, spells, and small medicine, in the hope of being cured of epileptic fits, with which he had been afflicted for many years. The following is the remedy which she prescribed. At the full Moon he was to procure a black tom cat, which was to put in a reticule. He was then to draw out its tail, which he was to cut at the fourth joint. He was directed to catch thirty drops of blood, and about a wine-glass of the best Hollands gin, and to drink the mixture at midnight, on the same day the moon is full. Immediately after taking the medicine he was to go to bed, to place a sealed paper which she gave him under his head, and not to rise until six o’clock in the morning. The woman, who is about fifty years of age, and wears a man’s old jacket, assured the young man that if he would follow her directions, and repeat the Lord’s prayer, when he rose in the morning, he would never have fits again. Her fee would only be one shilling. Last week the man was promised a black male cat, and he persists in saying that he will try the remedy at the next full Moon.

    And just a weird little one that has some hints of witchcraft behind it: there was some cursing involved and daughter ended up with a squint…

    Mary Jackson, a woman of goodly proportions [!], was charged with assaulting a little girl, the daughter of Eliza Veale, in Friar-street, by striking her with a living cat.

    Beach has no words. Any other nineteenth-century based cat cruelty? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com