"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, we can all agree this is a heartbreaking little story. It comes from "Bell's Life in London" for February 27, 1825:

On Tuesday, an elderly lady made her appearance in the office, and, with countenance of the greatest solemnity, advanced towards the presiding Magistrate, Sergeant Sellon. After a pause of a few minutes, she proceeded as follows: "Please your Worship, may I speak?”—Sergeant Sellon: “Certainly, Madam.”— Then, Sir, you must know, that some months ago, I took lodgings in the neighbourhood of Burton-crescent, being a single lady—(here she heaved a deep sigh) I begged of Mrs. Cooper, a particular friend of mine, to let me have a kitten. This kitten, please your Worship, I reared from its infancy as if were my own child, it partook of every thing the same as myself; and in due time grew to be a fine cat. Unfortunately for me, you’ll excuse me, your Worship, a tom-cat. The lodgers having discovered the sex of the cat, considered it a reflection on a maiden lady to keep such one—and the consequence was, that both in the house and the street, every body pointed to me, and said, 'How is the tom-cat?' in fact, your Worship, I was literally worried.”—Sergeant Sellon : “Upon my word, Madam, I am nearly in the same state.”— The lady resumed : Well, Sir, they were not satisfied with this conduct, but they took an opportunity of 'spiriting’ away my cat, and murdering it—aye murdering it in the most inhuman manner. Was not that shocking, Sir?” —Sergeant Sellon : “ Most shocking, indeed! but what do you wish me to do; is it bring it to life again ?” —Lady: “Oh, by no means; but since its murder, the lodgers complain that the house is haunted by its ghost, and that they cannot sleep a wink from the noise which it makes caterwauling. I certainly frequently hear a scraping at my bed room door at night, and a mewing, and I believed the dear cat loved me so, that could he come see me he would; but for my peace on earth, until I leave my present lodgings I wish he would stay away.”—Sergeant Sellon: “This is, certainly Madam, a subject of great importance, so important, that I not feel myself competent to give any advice, or give any decision. I will, however, take a week to consider, during which time I beg that you will keep yourself tranquil, and not think on the tom cat, and by that time I may probably, by some spell, be enabled to bury his ghost in the Red Sea.” The old lady returned thanks to the worthy Sergeant for his promised magical efforts, and retired from the office, still sighing, "Oh! my poor cat!”

I wish I could report that the lady acquired better neighbors and a new pet to love, and that the ghost cat ensured his murderers met a hideous end, but I found no sequel to this story.


  1. A sad story, and I don't see how people have advanced all that much in humanity since then, no matter how much we congratulate ourselves on having improved on our ancestors.

  2. Ditto on your thoughts regarding the murderers! This is sad - but not surprising. Cats often seem to return to places and people they cared for in life. Numerous stories abound. I just hope he catawalled under the murderers windows - till the end of their days!

  3. My congratulations to this cat for his most timely revenge. You can't help but feel sorry for the poor lady, however, haunting or not.


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