The Black Cat as Witch’s Familiar

Howdy folks! With Halloween right around the corner, I’m guest blogging for Willow C.Winsham’s Wednesday Weirdness. As we will soon be awash with caricatures of black cats in pointy hats sitting by cauldrons and brooms, my focus is on the witch’s cat. The cat, typically black, bubbles up in the popular imagination when we speak…

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The Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle

Welcome to the poison garden. The warning on the gates, ‘These Plants Can Kill’ should not be taken lightly. Don’t touch anything. Don’t smell anything. These plants can kill. Said our guide before unlocking the gate. So begins a killer tour where we discover: Does the Devil like to garden? How do witches fly? Is there poison…

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Rocket Cat! Medieval Siege Cats

Jetpack ninja kitty attacks castle? Perhaps… This illustration from 1584 forms part of a manual on artillery and siege warfare by Franz Helm, an artillery master from Cologne. The image, available from Wikipedia Commons, is described as an, “Illustration of a cat and a dove carrying incendiary devices towards a fortified town.” But why? The…

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Review: Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth

Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, By Steve Bivans Frustrated with the way corporations are destroying our Earth for a profit? Dismayed at a political system that fails to do anything about it? Feeling a lack of community, connectedness or even humour in the face of these challenges? If you’re…

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