October 2, 2017

Black Cats and Halloween


The association between witches and black cats dates back to the middle ages in Europe. Stray alley cats were often companions of poor and elderly woman, who were easy targets for witch accusations. The nocturnal habits of these cats, along with their preference to warm themselves by the fire, gave them a place in the hysteria as the partner of the witch. Black cats were specifically targeted because their coloring was linked to evil. Although black cats are no longer discriminated against to the extent that they once were, their connection to witches still lives on in present day Halloween imagery.
This artwork shows black cats in Halloween postcards from the early 20th century.


*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections. Images above are from their collections. 

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