Workmen converting a building in Castlegate, Knareborough, North Yorkshire, into a restaurant have uncovered a mummified Cat in “a purpose-built tomb next to the fireplace” [how they knew that it was purpose-built is not stated.]
The building itself is said to date from as early as 1450.
The owner said that they had considered putting the cat back in the wall but because the works weren’t going to be finished for seven to eight weeks they decided to give it a decent burial nearby – a course of action I hope they wont come to regret. These creatures were there for a reason, and removing them without deactivating them first sometimes results in things happening.
If it had been me, I’d have put it back in its hole, along with some kind of offering as an apology for disturbing it.
Actually, its interesting to note how many times building work seems to activate supernatural activity. I’ve always supposed it to work on the same principle as a pond where all the silt has settled – the building work acts in the same way as someone coming along with a big stick and stirring everything up. Bits and pieces that have long lain dormant on the bottom are brought to the surface, activated, and things happen.
In time, the silt will settle again and things will stop happening.
This has always seemed a reasonable working hypothesis, but I wonder if in some cases activity is triggered because renovation work has inadvertently removed some protective talisman – be it a mummified Cat or something less obvious.
The practice of secreting mummified Cats in buildings seems to have been quite widespread at one time. As far as I know [and I’m willing to be corrected on this point] no-one ever wrote down any instructions or rituals regarding the practice, but it’s not difficult to imagine how it may have originated.
In times when houses were far more vermin-ridden than today, a good Cat would have been invaluable. When a noted mouser died, it could have been buried under the hearth or wherever, in the hope that it would continue to exert rodent control measures from the spirit world.
In time they came to represent luck and protection in a more general sense.