By Pat Regan


The Pendle Witch Trial was held in 1612. However, a mummified cat that was found in an old Lancashire cottage (apparently inserted there as late as 1800) is being held as ‘evidence’ that the cottage was a meeting place of the famous Pendle Witches.

Well, it this fact or fiction? Let’s examine the claims a little further…

The Daily Mail covered the issue here:

Sadly this type of sensationalistic reporting is not dissimilar to the type of widespread Christian hysteria that actually led to the deaths of several Lancashire folks back in 1612.

On 19th August 1612 the following people were found guilty of being witches and publicly hung by the neck in Lancaster:

• Elizabeth Device
• Alison Device
• James Device
• Anne Whittle (Old Chattox)
• Anne Redfearne
• Alice Nutter
• Katherine Hewitt (Mouldheels)
• Jane Bulcock
• John Bulcock
• Isobel Robey

Nonetheless, the Daily Mail informed its readers that:

‘The unfortunate animal – associated with witches for centuries – was apparently buried alive to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits.’

Says who?

Alas, the logic of this statement is most questionable.

We are led to believe that some alleged witches (i.e. in this particular instance, demented old ladies persecuted by a radical church system for being different from the usual flock) mummified a cat to protect the site from evil spirits. Is this not rather odd when at the same time this anti-Pagan article seeks to associate witches with evil spirits, verbatim?

Any genuine ‘witch’ (local rural healer/wise person) would have held a cat as a valuable ally (plenty of mice in old Lancashire) or a familiar and done their best to protect it from harm.

The ‘historian’ quoted in the article is one ghost tour guide, Simon Entwistle, (a parish councillor of the Clitheroe area) who states:

“Whoever consigned this cat to such a horrible fate was clearly seeking protection from evil spirits. It’s an absolutely spellbinding discovery.”

Again – says who?

Alternatively, the cat may easily have simply been a beloved pet that died and the owner, racked with grief, decided to keep the animal close at hand rather than bury it.
Cat mummification has been common in many cultures. The Egyptians practiced this rite and in fact went into a state of deep bereavement after the demise of the unfortunate creature.

However, the Daily Mail seems more intent of whipping up stereotypical anti-witch hysteria with its ambiguous article heading:


The only negativity that was brought to the lovely Pendle area was initiated by the pious followers of the intolerant Christian Church. Moreover, the Daily Mail report appears to lack precision due to the following. Lucifer was given by many ancient mythologists as being the ‘Son of Jupiter’. His care was to harness the ‘Horses of Apollo’. Clearly the press reporter has, on this occasion, fallen into the customary trap set by the Church of insisting that this noble Roman god of enlightenment was the Devil incarnate. What utter gobbledygook!

Witch hunt hysteria was a useful public weapon too against an unpopular neighbour and simple, malicious, allegations of wrongdoing could soon attract the attention of the local parish minister.

More recently, the very same small-minded evangelically-oriented bias and hate (which was swallowed by blinkered social work authorities, child care charities, police and the media) against unorthodox spiritual minorities led to the appalling SRAM (Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth)…Go figure!

Yes, the craggy Lancashire district is indeed haunted but you will not find the clues to the paranormal on any cheesy ghost tour or in any trendy Pendle gift shop. The spirits of this place dwell in lonely, wild, regions far away from the credulous glare of the eager gift shopper and Sunday hiker.

Pendle never needed any permission from so-called ‘ghost-hunters’ to inspire grandeur and atmospheric yearnings. The intimate vibration from the place itself is enough to touch the hearts and souls of those individuals who recognise the value of its wilder places.

The spurious ‘Witchy’ gift shop/ghost tour industry is today as frantic for trade in the UK as any other commercial outlet. However, in these times of worsening recession and global gloom genuine Pagans know that their ‘real’ obligations are to the old gods.

Pat Regan © 2011

Founder of NORTH WEST UFO RESEARCH and Author of:


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