As the old-timers around this blog have learned only too well, I like cats and I like ghosts, so any story combining the two is sure to win my favor. This tale of a "grey ghost cat" (with luminous eyes!) comes to us from the "Dundee, Perth, Forfar & Fife's People's Journal" for December 13, 1919:
A grey ghost cat is striking terror into the hearts of the inhabitants of Sevenoaks Weald, Kent. The first alarm was given by pedestrians from the railway station who fancied they saw a large grey cat, with glowering, green eyes creeping along a hedgerow.
Several people, lovers of cats, called to the animal. It stopped, turned, opened its luminous optics, then gave an ear-piercing yell, and disappeared from sight. One or two, puzzled by the appearance and sudden disappearance, stopped to find out where the cat had gone to. They waited some time, looked over the hedge—but no cat!
A day later passers-by at the other end of the road which leads down to the station saw the grey ghost cat again. They stopped, called to it. Again the cat turned, opened its green eyes, yelled an awful screech, and again disappeared in a moment.
Mrs. Herbert Vibart, a resident, told me she saw the grey ghost cat, but it was held by a form that looked like that of a man.
"I was walking from Sevenoaks, where I had gone to get my watch repaired and to buy a few things for the house,” she said, "when I heard a low, purring sound, and then the sound of scratching. I turned round.
"There to the left, beyond the hedge which lined the road, was a tall indistinct form, like that of a man in a light grey suit. He was very thin, and in every way ‘ghostly.’ His face seemed oddly familiar, though I cannot describe just what it was like, but it looked like the face of a hungry man.
"Under the arm I saw plainly the grey ghost cat. It looked just like a cat, only about three times as big. Its eyes were green, and glowed like lamps. It looked savage, and I could see its grey hairs, all on end, shimmering in the darkness.
"I felt frightened, and yet I did not cry out. I called out, 'Who are you?’ Then the cat opened its baleful eyes. Its mouth opened, showing long, white teeth, and it gave a most piercing and eerie cry. When 1 looked again the cat had disappeared, and the man with it.”
George Summerskill, a farm hand, said he saw the ghost cat as he left the village inn. “I was coming from the house,” he said, “and I saw the cat as plain as plain could be. Mind, I have never been drunk in my life, so don’t put it down to booze! I had had about two pints all the evening, so I knew quite well where I was and how I was.
"When I first saw the cat I could not believe my eyes. There it was sitting on the fence of George Braham’s orchard. I called Braham out to have a look at the ghost cat, and he saw it as well as me. It seemed to be staring at us without moving, and was so real like that I went towards it.
"As we advanced it seemed to go further off, though it never got up and walked away as a cat would do. It simply seemed to glide backwards from us.
Then Braham called it. At once its eyes seemed to get very large and shiny. Its mouth opened and showed its teeth, and it let off a yell that made me quite start. When I looked again it was gone. We waited half an hour for the thing to appear again, but no one saw it again that night.”
The grey ghost cat is the one topic of conversation in the Weald to-day. School children are telling wonderful tales about it, while local historians are looking up their old books, and are trying to find old associations with grey cats and Kent.
A number of amateur detectives have, of course, already made their appearance, each determined to prove preconceived theories.
Meanwhile worried mothers keep fractious children in order by threatening them with the ghost cat, and the village policeman finds it interesting and profitable to instruct local visitors as to the best way and method of attempting to lay the grey ghost should they be so fortunate enough to meet it.
Meh. Around my house, being stalked by eerie grey cats with loud yells and big glowing eyes is called "any day that ends with the letter 'Y.'"