Welcome to Misconception Monday. Every Monday we will look at a common misconception and research how the misconceptions might’ve come to be and any research about it. Read on to find out more about our first misconception. Sabrina the Teenage Witch had one named Salem.
For centuries, black cats have been tied to superstitions and witches. Black cats are often seen as familiar spirits and as a result, black cats are usually the last ones to be adopted at shelters, if at all. In pop culture, black cats are still often associated with witches. Salem, in Sabrina, is one example as is JiJi in Kiki’s Delivery Service and cats even appear in the early 2000s’ hit series “Charmed.”
The folklore around black cats differs from culture to culture. The Scots believe that an unfamiliar black cat’s arrival to the home symbolizes prosperity. In fact, black cats are a symbol of good luck throughout Britain and Japan.
However, throughout Europe black cats are a symbol of bad luck, especially if one walks across the path in front of a person, which is believed to be an omen of misfortune and death. In the Western culture and history, black cats have been seen as evil omens or more importantly as being seen as the familiars of witches.
In European folklore, familiar spirits (also known as “familiars” or “animal guides”) were thought to have supernatural qualities that would help witches and cunning people with their practice of magic, according to Wikipedia.com. The familiars’ main purpose is to provide protection to young witches as they come into their new powers.
In the Salem witch trials, Tituba was known to see animals that encouraged her to hurt children–one she claimed was a black cat. Is the Salem witch trails the reasoning behind the superstition of black cats? Do they actually have supernatural powers–other than the ability for their shed fur to match your black clothes?
You decide. Are black cats a symbol of bad luck or good luck? It’s said that any woman who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
I’ll be right back, I need to go adopt a black cat.