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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

cat Long associated with supernatural powers, the cat was first domesticated in ancient Egypt, where is was deified as the “Speaker of Great Words.” In that culture, killing a cat was punishable by death, and an entire city, Bubastis, was built in Lower Egypt to honor cat worship. It is said that some seven hundred thousand pilgrims journeyed to Bubastis annually in May to enjoy a festival in honor of the animal and to have the privilege of feeding the feline population there. Cats were regularly mummified for burial. The cat goddess Ubasti (in Greek, “Aelurus”) is seen in Egyptian religious art as a cat-headed woman.
      The cat was also sacred in ancient India, and Freya was the cat goddess in Scandinavia. Cats are said to be the companions of witches, and they are supposed to bring bad luck if they are black.



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