- The Facts:Black cats, for most people have been associated with bad luck. The truth is, black cats can symbolize many things, and have throughout history.
- Reflect On:Have you been seeing black cats? Do they have any particular symbolism for you? It is often said, what you truly find meaning in, is where the significance lies.
Cats have had a special bond with humans and have been domesticated since ancient Egyptian times. In fact, they were even regarded as gods in these times and treated with the utmost care and respect. It seems that for those of us who really know cats, we understand that there is something special about these animals, so much so that we too are willing to feed them, scoop up their poop, and let them destroy our furniture… seems like perhaps not much has changed since ancient Egypt after all.
Throughout history, many people have been superstitious about black cats in particular, and will avoid them whenever they see them. If you are thinking this is just a silly superstition and people don’t actually believe that black cats are bad luck, then you should know that they are the least likely to be adopted from an animal shelter. There are stories that they are sometimes tormented, captured and even killed on halloween night.
So, where does this superstition come from? Should we be wary of black cats? If so maybe I’m screwed because I have been the proud owner of my handsome black kitty I call Salem, (I know, how original, right?) for the past 5 years. This also brings up the point of how black cats and witches seem to go hand in hand. So, why is this and what do we need to know about these furry black creatures?
First, Some History
Throughout history black cats have generally been associated with occultism. According to Hebrew and Babylonian folklore, cats are compared to serpents, coiled on the hearth. In ancient Egypt, the act of killing a cat was punishable by death, and when a cat would die it would be mummified followed by the family entering into a period of mourning. Roman cultures considered the cat to be sacred and brought this animal into Europe. The vast majority of countries in Europe consider a black cat crossing one’s path to be bad luck and the church has long since associated black cats with witchcraft.
These animals were also believed to be shapeshifters and that witches were able to transform into them with their spells and do evil things without being noticed. Many people believed that the devil himself would take the form of a black cat and sadly on holy days like Easter, in the Middle Ages, black cats were often hunted down and burned.
Luckily, in some cultures the perception of the black cat began to change and it went from being seen as bad luck to good luck in countries like Scotland who still regard a strange black cat on your porch as a sign of prosperity to come. In England, fishermen’s wives would keep black cats in their homes while their husbands were away in the belief that these animals would prevent danger from occurring to their husbands while they were off at sea.
Some More Updated Theories
There is no doubt that superstitions regarding black cats are some of the most widely known and popular. One has to wonder what witches really saw in black cats and why they had a relationship with them in the first place, because by now many people realize that witches were not evil, but just more connected to the power of the universe that lies within us all. The powers that be did not want this information getting out, hence the massive crusade against witches and pretty much any intuitive woman during the middle ages. So why did the witches really keep black cats?
According to a website called Witches Lore, a black cat is a good companion to have around because it will double the power of any spell, black cats are witches themselves and are more connected to the mysterious powers of the universe. You can learn everything about magic just from talking to your cat.
Black aside, the cat represents the following attributes, according to spiritanimal.com
- Patience, waiting for the right moment to react
- Independance, yet enjoying social connections
- Spirit of adventure, courage
- Deep, relaxed connection with self
- Healing from the inside out
- Curiosity, exploration of the unknown or the unconscious
“Another way to see the meaning of the cat as a spirit animal or totem is to pay attention to its ability to see in the dark and be at ease when most other animals and humans are not. If the cat shows up in your life as a spirit guide or you have this animal as totem, you may be inclined to start exploring areas in your life or aspects or yourself that you do not know well yet.
When we observe cats, we see that they are characterized by the flexibility and agility. No matter the circumstances, it will always manage to fall back on its feet. By affinity with the cat totem, you may be encouraged to develop your flexibility at many different levels, whether it is in your physical body, mind, emotions, or spirit.
The cat totem is a source of inspiration to renew your perspective and have the courage to act or integrate it into your life. If the cat spirit animal shows up in your life, it may be time to explore new ways to look at things.”
Here’s another interesting point made by the Archives of American Art,
“It’s not all bad for the black cat though. Black cats aboard ships at sea are a longstanding tradition associated with good luck. From pirate ships to naval vessels, cats have been welcomed on board because they keep the rodents away from the ship’s food supply and provide companionship for an isolated crew. Unlike in the United States, where they typically have negative connotations, other nations—like the United Kingdom and Japan—believe that black cats can bring prosperity, bless a marriage, ensure good harvests, and even help bring success to a theater production.”
Do Cats Show Up In Your Dreams?
Of course some people perceive the presence of cats in their dreams as bad omens, others believe that the cat represents your feminine essence and sensuality. These dreams may be a reminder to let your inner mischievous and mysterious nature shine through. If a black cat shows up, this is a message to pay attention to what your intuition is telling you. The Ancient Egyptians believed that cats could travel between dimensions, so it would not be that strange to see a black cat in your dream with a message for you.
It seems as if there has been an heir of mystery and wonder around black cats since their relationships with humans began. I believe they are just as special as any other cat and my boy, Salem, just happens to be the friendliest cat I’ve ever met, he crosses my path on a regular basis and as far as I know, I’m doing just fine! Perhaps these superstitions are what you make them.
My Family Ghost Stories And Thoughts On The Afterlife
I do believe that there is life after death, because the body is one big battery that carries energy. This energy is made up of our own life force, our thoughts, what we see, smell, think, speak and touch. This energy is referred to as our soul, or as our aura.
When we die, this energy leaves our dead carcass and continues on. Where? I’m not sure. Energy cannot be destroyed and where it goes, is anyone’s guess. Could heaven and hell be worlds of pure energy? Is this where our departed energy goes after death?
If matter can have intelligence, why can’t energy? If there is a matter world, why can’t there be a world of pure energy? There are so many questions and very few answers. Perhaps one day, living human beings will know the full truth about the afterlife.
For right now, I will share some of my family member’s experiences with the paranormal that might be considered afterlife events: I will start off with myself first. When I was a small boy I lived in an old house on Effy Street in Fresno.
One night I heard a sound come down the sidewalk towards our house, which sounded like a rolling noise. As I looked at the window next to my bed, I noticed that on its own, it opened. A black tea kettle looking object floated to the halfway opened window.
This black object had a snout and the snout pointed at me. From the snout a mist came out and at this time I was screaming at the top of my lungs. My father came into the room to see what was wrong, the black object left and I could hear the rolling noise fade out into the distance. At this time my head was throbbing and I could see skulls flying about my room with wings. Even my own father’s face was a skull. The next morning I woke up and I was sick with the flu. From my open window I heard a serene woman’s voice call me by my middle
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name…..”Dale, Dale, come here”. As I looked out the window into the orange grove, I saw no one. I ran from the window and fell into the heater burning my leg. As it turned night, my flu got worse and my mother half asleep came into the room and gave me a teaspoon of what she thought was cough syrup, it turned out to be poison and I vomited the poison out of my system. Shortly after this horrifying incident we moved from the house and never had these problems again.
The only other ghost I saw in my lifetime was a ghost of a small white rabbit. This rabbit was a family pet named “Bugs”. One day, I left Bugs tied up in the backyard, hooked on a large rope, in that way he could romp around the backyard. I discovered to my dismay, that Bugs had broken his neck from the rope, which got entangled with the bushes. The next night, I saw a ghostly Bugs dart through the garage.
After the one sighting, I never saw Bugs again and I gave Bugs a proper burial. My mother Rosemarie Roberts, related this true ghost story to me. When she was a little girl, she went with her brother and father to Mexico. They stayed at a friend’s home. On one night, my mother and brother had switched beds in the middle of the night, but didn’t know how this occurred. Both of them were dumbfounded on how they switched beds.
The following night, my mother stayed up and watched a small light in the room. The small light became bigger and started to form shape. It became a small boy holding a basket of roses. The small boy went towards my mother slowly, dropping rose pedals along the way. My mother noticed that the rose pedals would dissolve when hitting the floor. My mother screamed and the apparition disappeared. My mother was shown a child saint when she was a teenager by a nun and she thinks that the apparition she saw was the saint.
My father Paul Marceau Roberts once was illuminated by having a vision in his sleep of sitting by a rock and the clouds opened up and he heard a voice in a strange language. He was able to understand the voice and was shown the end of the world (there was fire everywhere) and World War III. He woke up and my mother said his face was glowing. Those are our family ghost stories. I have 2 brothers and 1 sister and they never encountered anything of the paranormal.
The paranormal encounters were only experienced by myself, my father and mother. My wife Patricia Roberts, had a ghostly encounter with her departed father, this is her story: “I spoke to my dad the night before he passed away. It was frightening in a strange way, because he told me to be good and he hoped I would have everything in life that I need. I wondered did he know ahead of time that he was going to have a heart attack in the park the next day? I really don’t know.
After receiving the disturbing news, my dad passed away. I stayed in my bedroom all night crying. The next night I had my dad’s shirt and a few other items that he died in. I sat there reminiscing the thoughts of good times with my father. It was a very windy night and not once had I ever left the garage door open. The garage door leads to the kitchen. I heard a click and my Springer Spaniel jumped up on all fours looking out the door. I didn’t think anything about it.
About 3 minutes later, I heard the door open and a loud slam of the door. I promptly lifted myself out of bed and felt a very strong presence down the hallway. My dog after 10 seconds at the door, started to bark and growl. I knew it was my dad, I felt him near me. All of a sudden he was at the door, I didn’t actually see him in form, but more like an outline of him.
My dog was still growling at the door and I yelled out: ‘You’re scaring me, please dad go away!’ After saying that I felt him walking away and the closing of the door. My dog stopped barking. It has been 15 years and he has never come back again. At times, I do feel his presence in my dreams and he forewarns me of dire situations that may come about.”
Why certain people have paranormal events happen to them and others don’t, is probably that certain individuals are more acceptable to ghostly encounters. It’s as if they were in tune, like a radio to a certain station. It comes back to the energy that our body has surrounding it.
Some peoples’ energy is in tune for paranormal events, others are not.
Paranormal Activity Terrifies Lehigh Acres Family
Upon moving into their new home, Elizabeth Lightfoot and her family started to experience unusual occurrences.
The house, which is situated on 7th Street West in Lehigh Acres, Florida, had seemed like the ideal family home until it became apparant that there may already be something else living there.
“I don’t want to talk to it,” said Elizabeth. “I don’t want to communicate with it. I just want it to get out, but it doesn’t want to get out so we have to move.”
The phenomena started out relatively innocuously with the family hearing sudden loud noises or finding that objects had inexplicably moved from one part of the house to the other.
Soon, however, things started to take a rather sinister turn.
“It broke our TV and our blender,” said Elizabeth. “I had to tie my cabinet shut. It even threw a knife at me. I don’t even want to go anywhere by myself in the house.”
Desperate for answers, the family called in paranormal investigator Lee Ehrlich.
“I would say that there’s something in the home that people may refer to as supernatural,” he said. “There’s definitely something odd going on here that warrants further study.”
Exactly who or what is responsible for the phenomena however continues to remain a mystery.
“A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue” short documentary
When I’m not out filming projects in locations that I probably shouldn’t be at, I’m most likely reading books, online articles, magazines, you name it. I’ve been a big geek for history and mythology for as long as I can remember so very few narrative types hit the sweet spot for me as ghost stories do. Creepy tales–are they real or not? did they happen or are they completely bogus?–tend to be a nice collision of rumors, darkly wishful collective thinking, and factual history. That’s the type of cocktail that filmmakers seem to enjoy and I’m no different. Big-time, international legends (Robin Hood, Mulan, Pecos Bill, etc.) are widely celebrated, as they should be, but I’ve always felt that lesser-known, community-based stories are often underrated and underexamined.
There can be an inclination to throw away local legends (the kind all of us here on earth are bombarded with from time to time) when they don’t hold up to scrutiny. Fact-checking is best served in courts of law, not necessarily when it comes to telling fright stories. Ancient paper files disintegrate, get lost, catch fire, and are intentionally discarded. People lie and others make mistakes. It happens all the time. History–the concise, crunchy kind that we cling to nowadays–can be more delicate and elusive than we’re comfortable admitting. One flawed or misread vintage article can easily send a researcher down the wrong street. We must give space and respect for legends and how they function in fleshing out the bigger pictures of sociocultural values. If you squint and turn your head a certain way, there’s more truth being revealed than you may realize.
Chicago, Illinois is similar to many other big cities in the sense that it has a messy history. Lots of people came crashing towards a chosen area during a time when institutionalized documentation wasn’t quite on the same level that we have today (to put it mildly). Sometimes rumors and legends are all that we have left. They fill in the gaps where files fall short. Folks in the earliest decades of the 20th century, and beforehand, had a difficult enough time keeping track of the living so when it came to the dead….the details can get easily muddled.
A lengthy, old travel route coursing through Chicago and certain suburbs, Archer Avenue is heavy in history and graveyards which means that ghastly stories are inevitable. The value of these tales–and the value of neighborhood legends in general–is that they’re reflective of the histories of their respective locations. Religious obsession? Covered. Guilt, fear, and fascination regarding displaced peoples? Absolutely. Industrial Age tech shock: scary innovative equipment and automobiles turning machines into new monsters to watch out for? Very much there. The ever-present threat of poverty? Constantly highlighted in bright, blazing lights.
What were the past preoccupations of the people in your area? Dig into whatever the rumors are and you’ll gain plenty of insight.
The Archer Avenue stories presented in this short documentary are captured in their quickest essences. This is only a brief, 13-minute adventure–history, and twists on history, as a kind of carnival ride–not a day trip. It’s designed to spark your curiosity. The beautiful, awful, silly, unnerving folktales included here call for further investigation and in-depth reading. It may seem like there are too many creeps crammed into a singular line of land to be believed–do they ever bump into each other and, if so, what happens then?–but remember that these are tales circulating around just one street in Chicago so you can imagine what the rest of the city is like…..
*This is a guest post written by Derek Quint, Director of Addovolt Productions
*Derek Quint is an independent filmmaker based out of Chicago and the director of the short documentary, “A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue”. “A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue” is an entertaining and fast-paced ride through the folklore of Chicago’s spookiest street. This project is narrated by Michael Marius Massett and features music compositions by Andre Miguel Almaraz and Michael Marius Massett
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