Maunz

Some moons ago Melanie gave a quick outline of an idea for a text, persons shapeshifting into cats would feature – if I knew something ?
Well, not much. There is of course the motif of a person, usually a woman, who turns into a cat, saied cat gets hurt while roaming around, and in the next morning the person is found with a matching wound, be it a broken leg, a hurt back or where ever the cat was hit. This dates back to Gervasius Tilberiensis (Ger., Eng.), late 12th century that is. A motif found around witches, sorceresses, maleficae. This would be a Werkatze (Ger., Eng.) – “wer” in this connection is not “wer = who”, but an older word meaning “man”.
I looked into my usual sources, but the Deutsche Wörterbuch  (DWB) (Ger., Eng., link) does not know the lemma “Werkatze”, under “Katze”, turning into a cat is mentioned, but not specially treated.
The Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens (HdA) (Ger. only) mentions the shapeshifting  cat / human (Band 4, Spalte 1117 f., unter “Katze, 9”) and refers to “Hexe [witch] 3, 1871 f.”, where additional examples are listed. The HdA is outdated and only as reference for source materials usable. The actual lexicon is the Enzyklopädie des Märchens (EM) (Ger., Eng., help for using it online, but its German only anyway), in volume 7, 1099-1109, the cat is treated, but the article brings no new material.
Then I remembered a little book by Sergius GOLOWIN, Das Geheimnis der Tiermenschen. Von Vampiren, Nixen, Werwölfen und ähnlichen Geschöpfen (The Secret of “animal-men” [?]. About Vampires, Mermaids, Werewolves and Similar Creatures), Basel 1993. GOLOWIN (Ger., Eng.) (1930-2006) was a kind of leading figure of the counterculture in Switzerland since the sixties. A librarian by trade he discovered the (magic) literature of the Early Modern Period for himself (in the 1950s when absolutely no one, with the possible exception of Arno SCHMIDT, was interested in this old Plunder, rubbish, clobber), put this together with stories and fairy tales he was told by his Ukrainian grandmother, and developed a keen interest in magic, drugs, and whatnot. Very interesting person – and he wrote a book about cats : Göttin Katze – Das magische Tier an unserer Seite (Goddess Cat, the Magic Animal at Our Side), 1989. As it seems there is no English translation, perhaps an Italian one (Gatto, amico, mago, 2005). But I am sorry, I have not read the book.
In the end I think all necessary can be found in the already mentioned articles about the Werkatze.

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9 thoughts on “Maunz

  1. Thank you for looking into this for me, my friend! So no such stories carried down by way of the Germanic tribes. Much lost in oral tradition I suspect, like that of the Native Americans here on this continent. I’ve always thought of the Germanic tribes as being more “Celtic” that those of the UK, but I was really never sure what it was I read in history to make me think that. I’m probably wrong, but there was this exciting article from last year. I will work on my story and share it with you via email perhaps.

    http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20160317/were-the-original-irish-really-celts-discovery-hints-otherwise

    The story in my head was inspired by this song, by my favorite Artist. She’s everything I wish I could be. Neko Case “Dirty Knife”

  2. I am sad that they dug out these blokes in the backyard of the pub : So I can not tell people anymore that the Irish are immigrated from Franconia …
    I never have heared about Ms Case before Melanie, thank you for showing this lady to me.

  3. As it happens, the BBC has just been running a documentary series outlining archaeological discoveries that suggest that the culture of massive stone circles originated….. in Orkney, quite the other way around from the assumption of its spreading north along the Atlantic coasts of Europe – which might chime with that news story.

    As for cats, pshaw – don’t forget the Curse of the Were-Rabbit:

    (I suspect this may disappear from Youtube quite soon)

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