FROM THE MORGUE
Copyright 2007 by William A. Mays, Proprietor
March 1, 1879
|Battle With Corpse-Eating Cats.
At New Albany, Ind., a remarkable scene recently occurred in that part of the city called "Hog Hollow." One Daniel Shehan, a former employe of the glass works, who lived in a small frame building in the locality referred to, died suddenly. At night some young people gathered to watch over the remains, but becoming, as the widow thought, a little too noisy, they were all sent away, with the exception of Thomas Flinn and William Lang, two young men, aged about twenty-one or twenty-two years, and two young ladies. About twelve o'clock Thomas Flinn went into the room to examine the corpse, and was horrified to see three cats on the body. He tried to drive them away by motioning with his hand, but they showed fight. He then seized a poker and commenced belaboring them with it, and they attacked him, and it was all he could do, with the assistance of the other watchers, whom his cries for aid summoned, to drive them from the room. The window was then closed, and cats of all sizes, colors, ages and of both sexes jumped on the window-sill and sprang against the glass, with their eyes blazing and their fur all standing the wrong way. Finding they could not force an entrance there, they went to the roof and endeavored to tear off the shingles; got under the floor and sought for an entrance. Their screams, yells and groans in the meantime were frightful to listen to, and so scared the watchers that they were almost paralyzed with fear. The ghoulish beasts failed to effect an entrance, and the watchers felt relieved. But it was soon discovered that they could not remain in the house with all the windows closed, as the odor from the corpse was too offensive, and the window was raised again, but not enough to admit a cat. Then the window was again assailed, and it seemed to the guardians of the remains that there were at least a hundred felines trying to force an entrance. Flinn stood at the window with the poker and beat them over the head, but they persisted in the effort to effect an entrance. Finally some of them got part of their bodies through, and the window was closed down on them, two pokers heated red hot and the beasts burned in every possible way, the young people thinking it would drive them away, but it did not; and the fight was kept up at intervals until after daylight. The watchers kept the window down as long as they could possibly bear the stench, and when they could do so no longer it would be raised and the war waged on both sides. It was a remarkable occurrence, the like of which was probably never known in that part of the country.
The watchers looked next morning like they had had a long spell of sickness, and say they would not pass through another such an ordeal for the world. Some nine or ten dead cats were found around the premises next morning, and many of the neighbors missed their grimalkins.