[History] Witchcraft, and mummified cats:

Total posts: [4]
1 BlueNinja012th Dec 2011 09:56:14 AM from Lost in a desert oasis , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Chronically Sleep Deprived
I saw this article and thought it would make for an interesting discussion point.

London (CNN) — Engineers have uncovered the haunting remains of a mummified cat bricked up inside the wall of a cottage near the site of one of Britain's most infamous witch trials.

Workers made the startling discovery during routine maintenance on a reservoir in the shadow of Pendle Hill in Lancashire, England's "witching country."

They called in archaeologists, who unearthed a cottage believed to date from the 17th century buried beneath a grassy mound. Inside, they found a sealed room where the cat had been walled up.

The area is famous for the Pendle witch trials, which saw 10 women and two men accused of using witchcraft to murder people in the 1600s.

It is thought the unfortunate feline may have been buried alive by the cottage's superstitious inhabitants, in an attempt to protect them from evil spirits.

"It's not often you come across a fairytale cottage complete with witch's cat," said Carl Sanders, project manager for water company United Utilities. "The building is in remarkable condition. You can walk through it and get a real sense that you're peering into the past.

"Pendle Hill has a real aura about it — it's hard not to be affected by the place. Even before we discovered the building, there were lots of jokes from the lads about broomsticks and black cats. The find has really stunned us all."

Simon Entwhistle, an expert on the Pendle witches, likened the find — which he said could be the Malkin Tower, site of a notorious meeting of the "coven" on Good Friday, 1612 — to "discovering Tutankhamun's tomb."

"We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country.

"Cats feature prominently in folklore about witches," said Entwhistle. "Whoever consigned this cat to such a horrible fate was clearly seeking protection from evil spirits. It's an absolutely spellbinding discovery."

"It's like discovering your own little Pompei," said Frank Giecco of NP Archaeology, who led the team which excavated the building. "We rarely get the opportunity to work with something so well preserved.

"As soon as we started digging we found the tops of doors and knew we were onto something special.

"The building is a microcosm for the rise and fall of this area, from the time of the Pendle witches to the industrial age — there are layers of local history right before your eyes."

Archaeologists also uncovered a host of other artifacts in and around the cottage — including a 19th century kitchen range, tin bath, bedstead and items of crockery.
I'm curious how the witchcraft "traditions", and trials differed from the ones in Salem. Also curious if any of our British tropers have been to this area.
TBH, his ego doesn't need more stroking. Nor does any other part of him. - M84
2 annebeeche12th Dec 2011 01:00:19 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
That poor cat. :(

Some facts:

  • Freyja is associated with cats, and rides a chariot driven by cats.
    • I don't know much about cats in the Nordic culture otherwise, besides the fact that they may be killed for their pelts and were otherwise ignored.
  • Freyja is a master of sorcery or seišr, even Odin was taking lessons from her despite magic being essentially forbidden to men.
  • I have seen two references of people (one Frigg* another a man apparently suspected of being a witch) riding a distaff, which is similar in appearance to a broomstick, albeit smaller.
    • The distaff was also associated with Nordic seiškonar or völvar. Since the word seišr seems to be related to words pertaining to cords and spinning, I've deduced that the distaff and spindle were essential tools in this magic.

edited 12th Dec '11 1:01:10 PM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion.
I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
3 USAF71312th Dec 2011 01:18:36 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Hm. I thought they were kidding with the whole "witches and cats" thing. I guess not.

edited 12th Dec '11 1:41:05 PM by USAF713

I am now known as Flyboy.
4 DeMarquis12th Dec 2011 01:37:41 PM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
From what I can gather, the idea of witches using animal familiars goes back at least to the late 1500's, before the time period associated with this archeological find. However, it apparently wasnt necessarily cats who acted as the familiars, but a wide range of animals and fairy-like spirits. This is an entire book on the subject. I've structured the search so that all references to cats are indicated by blue lines at the right.

edited 12th Dec '11 1:38:27 PM by DeMarquis

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
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Total posts: 4