With so many types of ghosts out there, would it surprise you if I told you that some of them were animals? Not all places are haunted by spectral monks and sad ladies in white flowing gowns. Over the years there have been many reports of ghostly animals; I've covered the Black Shuck before and even touched on the Tower of Londons resident Bear, but other than that I haven't really covered any other creepy critters. So let's remedy that situation with some Phantom Felines.
|Photo by OliBac, CC BY 2.0|
Killakee House, Dublin, Ireland.
Probably the most well-known ghost cat on this list. The Black Cat of Killakee House is incredibly angry and has every reason to be so, as it may have been a victim of the infamous Hellfire Club, who were active in the area during the 1700s and were responsible for the ritualistic death of a black cat. But the cat's story doesn't really start until 1968, when a young couple bought the house. It was a bit of a fixer-upper, but they had big plans for their new home and put the initial strange happening down to it being an old building in need of a lot of work. Then, in the 1970s, they bought in builders and things turned a little sinister. Eerie noises, doors opening on their own and temperature drops were only the start of it. The spooked builders found themselves stalked by a massive, terrifying black cat with red glowing eyes. They had had enough. They fled the house and refused to return. And although the family had originally believed the men were just being superstitious, they soon started to encounter the aggravated beast themselves and, in the end, had to call a priest to perform an exorcism on the property.
While this seemed to work at the time, it was only a temporary fix. A group visiting the house decided to hold a seance for fun and this started up the hauntings again.
Short Street, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
Short Street is a narrow, cobbled street that runs along the back of a derelict pottery works and is home to a small collection of traditional workers cottages. These cottages are the haunt of one very shy little ghost. Often spotted sitting on the doorstep of one of the cottages, this friendly seeming puss is fond of disappearing into thin air when approached. Many people have been surprised by this and the ghost has been witnessed by multiple people at a time. Why it haunts the cottages is unknown, maybe it was just happy there in life and is unwilling to leave.
King John's Hunting Lodge, Axbridge, Somerset.
Built in the 1400s as a wool merchants house, King John's Hunting Lodge is now a museum and is home to more than one ghost. The one seen most often, by staff and visitors alike, is that of a friendly tabby cat. This benign little soul is often found hanging around in a wood-panelled room on the first floor and people have often fully interacted with it, talking and petting it, before having it pull a ghostly vanishing act on them. You're more likely to come across this spirit if you don't actively look for it, so enjoy the exhibits the museum has to offer and maybe you'll make a spooky new friend.
The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
The Nutshell is a beautiful little pub, dating back to the 1800s, known as Britain's Smallest Pub. And while it's decorated by many interesting objects, what I'll be writing about is hanging above the bar; the resident mummified cat.
Hiding a dead cat in the walls of your house for good luck was a gruesome tradition that was common back in the 15th to 18th centuries, when people believed that it would protect the home from bad luck and evil spirits. And it would appear that this cat is happy to do so, providing you don't touch it. Invading this cat's personal space gets you cursed with some incredibly bad luck. A landlady once attempted to clean the cat, accidentally snapping off part of its tail. Soon after she lost her job. Following this, the cat was kidnapped (catnapped?) by a group of mischievous servicemen from nearby RAF Honington. Their amusement soon turned to horror, as they found themselves experiencing an unusual steak of accidents and fires, and they quickly returned the cat.
So buy yourself a pint and have fun, but stick to admiring this cat from a safe distance.
The Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire.
The Ancient Ram Inn is home to so many spirits, both good and bad, that it's worthy of a blog post of its very own. And with so many ghosts haunting one place, does it surprise you that a cat is lurking among them? It's said that, in the 16th century, a woman who was sentenced to be burnt at the stake managed to flee and took shelter in one of the rooms at the inn. She, like many innocent people during those times, had been accused of witchcraft. Despite her bid for freedom, the poor thing was recaptured and burnt at the stake with her familiar, a cat. This cat now haunts the inn, roaming the bedrooms and has a nasty habit of peeing on the beds. Charming.
As for the Ancient Ram Inn's other ghostly inhabitants? That's a blog post for another day.
So, those are our five paranormal felines. Have you ever visited any of these locations and experienced anything? Have you seen or heard about a phantom feline anywhere else? I'd love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below or tag me in a post on Twitter.