Ritualistic Cat Torture Was Once a Form of Town Fun
In today’s world, the killing of some animals is met with immediate outrage. In 17th-century France, cat burning was a form of entertainment.Every year, Parisians gathered during midsummer bonfire in Place de Greve to play, dance, and sing. To make the gathering more interesting, the crowd gathered live cats into sacks, hung them over the fire from a mast, and watched them die slowly. The cats were chosen for their supposed link to the devil and witches. Sometimes, a fox was thrown into the fire. While the poor animals shrieked and cried, the people partied.French kings and other important dignitaries were also known to take part in this sick fun. Sometimes, they got the honor of lighting the bonfire. Similar midsummer bonfire rituals took place in other parts of France and Europe. After the burning, people took the ashes home because they believed it brought good luck.