A 400-year-old mummified cat has been found in the walls of a house that was being renovated.
Mr Parson said neighbours have told him the cat was previously found behind the wall 20 years ago, but was put back by another resident. Photo: APEX
The cat, which is in recognisable shape and still has its claws and teeth, may have been placed in the walls of the house in Devon, to ward off evil spirits.
Richard Parson, a funeral director, who owns the house in Ugborough, near Plymouth, said: "The builders were stripping one of the bathrooms upstairs and this little fellow came to light.
"It is quite scary looking and is a lot bigger than a normal domestic cat.
"I cannot throw it away so we plan to put it back on completion of the building work. But my wife is not all that keen on it, as she says she will have bad dreams."
He added: "Apparently 400 years ago people put cats behind walls to ward off witches. It clearly works as, since we have lived in the village, we have not seen sight or sound of any witches."
Mr Parson said neighbours have told him the cat was previously found behind the wall 20 years ago, but was put back by another resident.
He added: "There has been a local myth, a legend, that there was a cat buried in the house but of course we had no idea where that was.
"We were also told about a child's boot left in the house because it was once used as a cobblers', and was supposed to bring luck.
"I am not a superstitious man but the cat is a little bit of village history and adds charm to the property."
Marion Gibson, a witchcraft and folklore expert, from Exeter University, said: "Cats were often put into walls as some kind of good luck charm. It seems to have been quite a widespread practice across the European continent.
"They seem to have been designed to keep away witches, the evil eye, bad luck, vermin, or anything that can be seen as a threat to the house."
400-year-old mummified cat found in walls of cottage - Telegraph