Black cats and Devil’s Night

Black Cats at like this whether in shelter or at home are at risk of violence during Halloween

Dmitry Makeev

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Camille Denmark, Reporter

   Halloween traditionally originates from the festival of Samhain celebrated by the Celtics over 2,000 years ago. This day represents the end of summer and the harvest before the world transitions into the cold dark winter, heavily associated with sickness and death. On Samhain, it was believed that ghosts of the dead returned to the earth.
    Druids, the high priest of the Celtic world, would light sacred bonfires. People dressed in animal skins and heads would burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic gods. The following say they would relight their hearth fires with the sacred bonfire. These traditions leave Halloween with a reputation steeped in the supernatural and macabre. Along with the mixing and melding of cultures, these events still manage to transpire today.


    Devil’s Night refers to the heightened vandalism and arson of abandoned buildings in the days beforehand and after Halloween. Many sumis it to be a reaction to the ever-growing rust belt. During the 70s, the once-powerful Midwest manufacturing industry was met with high unemployment rates, foreclosures, and economic downturns. According to the Detroit Metro Times, the worst year was 1984, “When firefighters responded to more than 800 blazes that covered the entire city in an eerie, smoky haze on Halloween morning,” and earned the distinction as the arson capital of the world. In 1995 mayor Dennis Archer and Detroit city officials instituted ‘Angel’s Night.’ Volunteers, strict curfews and even bans on portable gas cans helped lower the number of incidents.

Even alleged animal ‘sacrifices’ still occur as shelters restrict black cats from being adopted out for the entire month of October To deter such rituals. Even worse for pets left outside during Halloween are subject to becoming targets as well. The ill-will towards these felines originates from their associations as familiars of witches; during medieval times, the church decreed that felines were friends of the devil. While no statistical evidence can be presented, it is presumed the ‘sacrifices’ are performed by Satanists worshipping a heathen god-but by ‘troubled’ teens and their twisted sense of fun. The restrictions help cats from being used as props for Halloween, just to be returned or even abandoned the next morning. 

Abandoned houses make easy targets on devil’s night, Detroit’s finest do their best to tame the blazes
( Sam Beebe/Ecotrust)