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Friday, October 31, 2014

Black Cats & Superstition

It's been a myth since the Middle Ages: a black cat crossing your path means that bad luck will follow — and lots of people still believe this is true.

How about you?

During the Middle Ages, black cats were first associated with witches. Lonely, old women who lived on the outskirts of town would adopt and care for stray stay cats for companionship. Townspeople became wary of women who kept too many cats, believing that the women were witches and the cats were sent out to do their bidding.
The myth began . . .
If black cats were sent by witches, then witches were sent by the devil. And, when a black cat crossed your path, it was because the devil sent it to block your way to heaven.
Over time, this myth evolved to those believing that witches transform into black cats to travel anonymously. If a woman was accused of being a witch, she could turn into a cat and flee from the village unnoticed. People became suspicious of towns with too many stray cats; they thought it meant the area was safe for witches and demons.
Even now, people believe that black cats bring worse luck than walking under ladders and spilling salt. There are lots of other black cat superstitions, like these:
  • In Scotland a strange black cat appearing on your porch is a good omen and means that prosperity is on the way. 
  • If you hear a cat sneeze in Italy, you are in for a streak of good luck
  • In the U.S., if you dream of a white cat, good luck may follow. But, if you spot a white cat as the sun sets you might be in trouble.
  • Cats are not allowed in the room in the Netherlands if a family is having a private talk. It's feared that the cat will spread gossip and family secrets all over town.
  • In Ireland killing a cat can bring 17 years of bad luck.
  • In Japan, many believe that a black cat crossing your path is good luck. 
  • If a cat scratches behind its ear, rain is coming. If a cat runs around crazily, expect a windy day. Kittens born in May will bring snakes into your house (Celtic myth).
My pet cat, who has since died, was named Sambuca. She was a black cat who never brought me any bad luck — but then I never thought she would.)
Happy Halloween

15 comments:

Linda said...

I don't mind black cats. I'd rather have one cross my path than a skunk.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

LOVE black cats. Had my boy, Magic aka The Magical Wagical Pussicle 16 ½ years. I still miss that funny, loving cat. Sigh.

Out on the prairie said...

Have a few strays out at the farm, cold weather brings them to my stable.

W. Latane Barton said...

Interesting facts about black cats. The one time I veered away from my grey and white cat theme and got a black cat, that was the meanest cat in the world and I had to get rid of her. She definitely was sent by the devil.

Montanagirl said...

Black cats don't bother me, except for the stray black cat that lurks under our hedge, hoping to pounce on my birds. Nice post!!

Sandra said...

lots of new old wives tales here that i have not seen before.. and of course i don't believe any of them, but fun to see them... most mornings on the way to the YMCA a black cat crosses in front of us... we always laugh and say he was lucky he made it to the other side of the road.... they had a half price adoption at our local pound. it seems no one wants black cat or black dogs. they were charging half the adoption fees... silly stuff

William Kendall said...

A lot of superstition. Among the many cats my family had were a couple of black cats, Misty and Tucker, both of whom were great cats to have around. Misty was a bit eccentric, but if she decided she liked you, she'd be quite affectionate.

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

I've had some black cats and can't say I've been especially unlucky in my life :-)

It is strange that these things still stays around, one would think we knew better now days.

Happy Halloween!
Christer.

Rebecca said...

I love my cats, and while they don't bring bad luck, they do bring hairy furniture, white fluffs drifting across the floors and distractions when I am on the computer!

Daisy said...

Nice post! Happy Halloween to you! I like all kinds and colors of cats. and I don't believe they bring bad luck. It's interesting how many superstitions have been created around them!

Emma Springfield said...

There are hundreds of feral cats here. They pretty much stay away from my house because of the dog. Black cats are usually the prettiest because of the sheen of their fur.

DeniseinVA said...

I never thought much of the black cat mythe. To me they are beautiful.

Lois Evensen said...

We have had black cats and were always careful around Halloween to keep them inside so no one would hurt them.

possum said...

Have had 3 black cats, Georgie, Benji, and Yahoodi, all fine boys. I was taught it was good luck when a black cat adopted you.

Gail Dixon said...

I always stop mid-stride when I see a black cat in front of me. Silly, I know. I didn't realize there were so many superstitions surrounding black cats.

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