Tag Archives: Myths

Tales of Enchanted October – Black Cats in Myth and Legend


The folklore surrounding black cats has always varied widely from culture to culture. One people’s dark omen is another’s good luck charm. But all things considered, the black cat has always sort of gotten a bum rap, being closely associated with witches and hobgoblins.

Darned shame too. They are lovely creatures, and exquisitely beautiful.

The Scottish found them to be good luck and the presence of a black cat was thought to bring prosperity to the home. (I think I’ll get a dozen!) Likewise, black cats are lucky in both Briton and Japan. Ladies take note, Japanese single females believe ownership of a black feline will bring many suitors.

Not so at the old casino. There, black cats are considered VERY direly bad luck indeed, hitting just where it is most likely to do the most harm .  .  . in the wallet.

In Celtic mythology, the black cat becomes a fairy known as the Cat Sith (shades of Star Wars).

Mostly in Western culture, are black cats symbols of evil and witchcraft. Why? It seems nobody knows, or can’t remember. May have to do with the Bible-thumping Pilgrims. They found foreboding and evil in most anything dark.

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Germany is my favorite. There a cat crossing one’s path from right to left is a bad omen, but the other way forebodes good times. 18th century Pirates once believed (and may still do for all I know) that a black cat walking toward a person .  .  . bad luck. Away from them, good.

Sailor’s who wanted a ship’s cat, would favor the color black, thinking it would bring good luck. Fisherman’s wives, back home, would keep them for the same reason – to bring hubby home safely.

Since the 1880’s. the color black has been associated with anarchism. The black cat, in an alert, fighting stance, was later adopted as an anarchist symbol. It is true. When I was a kid, we once had a black cat. It was a hell-raiser.  .  . and anarchy reigned.

It is doubtful, I think, that there could be a more misunderstood creature.

One thing we do know though, is that black cats are a heck of a lot of fun. It just wouldn’t be Halloween without the ever-present black cat. It is perhaps, along with the witch and the pumpkin, the most recognizable of autumn symbols.

So here’s to you black cats. We love you, we can’t do without you, and if you didn’t exist .  .  . well, come October, we’d just have to invent you.

You all have a great night tonight, and watch out for that black cat, lurking, just outside the window.

and .  .  . Happy Nightmares!!!

.  .  . ’til next time.

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