We recently uploaded a story about a phantom pussycat. Now it’s time for one of the weirdest critters in the annals of spook-lore, a blood-lapping vampire cat!
Lord Halifax’s famous Ghost Book of 1936 is a repository of classic true ghost yarns, culled from among his upper class chums and relatives. Included is a strange story supplied by a nephew of Lord Halifax, Mr Everard Meynell. An acquaintance at his club related it to Meynell, who jotted it down. There follows an edited version of his account:
‘On the Saturday evening, when he arrived [at Eastbourne], he found a cheerful party in the house. Before going up to dress for dinner, his attention was attracted by the behaviour of a large black cat, which rushed forward to meet him as he came into the hall and began to display violent signs of affection, rubbing itself against his leg and trying to climb up to his shoulder.
‘This struck my friend as being most odd and rather repulsive, as he had always had an irrational repugnance for cats. However, as the animal seemed to be entirely devoted to him he allowed it to follow him upstairs but on reaching his bedroom shut the door against it. When he went down to dinner, the cat was still outside his door and followed him into the dining room, where its apparent devotion was the subject of much chaff. The same performance was repeated at bed-time, when again he saw to it that the cat was left outside his room.’
This behaviour was repeated during Sunday. On Sunday night he shuts out the over-friendly animal but…
‘He at once he fell into a deep and dreamless sleep, a thing which he not been able to do for many weeks. He was awakened very gradually by a curious drawn feeling down one side of him. In his own words he felt as though he “was breathing only on one side of his body”. At the same time he had a feeling of faintness and languor which tempted him to turn over and go off to sleep again, but a sharp pricking sensation over his heart caused him to place his hand to his side, where h felt something warm and furry. He started up and found the cat pressed closely against him, with its head buried under his arm, and the whole of one side of his night shirt drenched with blood.
‘He sprang out of bed and said something to the cat, which at once stopped purring, came to the end of the bed, and began to spit and curse at him with a hatred which more than equalled its previous affection. Needless to say, it was the work of a moment to throw the creature out of the room.’
It transpired the footman had arrived an hour ahead of time to wake the ‘victim’ for an early train; he realised his mistake without waking the guest but the cat must have slipped in then. The cat had had an hour and a half’s worth of blood lapping – and had somehow managed to do so through a nightshirt. Mr Meynell writes: ‘All the skin on the left side of my friend’s body was furrowed up and down, leaving exact marks of the animal’s tongue.’
The gentleman had lost quite a lot of blood but was declared fit and healthy by his doctor: the cat was shown not be rabid. No explanation was offered for its strange behaviour, neither as to its vampiric tendency nor the creepy affinity it felt for its chosen victim.