Witch’s cat in the morning

This morning’s name was Pyewacket, which came to me as the name of the cat in Bell, Book and Candle. The cat, with Kim Novak:

On the name Pyewacket, from Wikipedia:

Pyewacket was one of the familiar spirits of a witch detected by the “witchfinder general” Matthew Hopkins in March 1644 in the town of Manningtree, Essex, England. Hopkins claimed he spied on the witches as they held their meeting close by his house, and heard them mention the name of a local woman. She was arrested and deprived of sleep for four nights, at the end of which she confessed and called out the names of her familiars, describing the forms in which they should appear. They were:

Holt, “who came in like a white kittling”; Jarmara, “who came in like a fat Spaniel without any legs at all”; Vinegar Tom, “who was like a long-legg’d greyhound, with a head like an Oxe”; Sacke and Sugar, “like a black Rabbet”; Newes, “like a Polecat”; Elemanzer, Pyewacket, Peck in the Crown, Grizzel, Greedigut, described as imps.

Hopkins claims he and nine other witnesses saw the first five of these, which appeared in the forms described by the witch. Only the first of these was in the form of a cat; the next two were dogs, and the others were a black rabbit and a polecat – so Pyewacket was, presumably, not a cat’s name. As for the other familiars, Hopkins says only that they were such that “no mortall could invent.” The incident is described in Hopkins’s pamphlet “The Discovery of Witches” (1647).

In the Hollywood film Bell, Book and Candle (1958) Pyewacket is the name of the Siamese cat/familiar of Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak). In the 1967 children’s novel Pyewacket the title character and protagonist is an alley cat. In the 2008 computer game A Vampyre Story Pyewacket is the name of the familiar of the (missing, presumed dead) sorceress that used to own the castle where the game begins. She is also a Siamese cat.

Bell, Book and Candle is an old favorite movie of mine. It stars Novak and Jimmy Stewart and has a wonderful supporting cast: Jack Lemmon, Janice Rule, Elsa Lanchester, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold.

On Novak, from Wikipedia:

Kim Novak (born Marilyn Pauline Novak on February 13, 1933 in Chicago) is an American actress. She began her career in “Pushover” (1954) at age 21, and came to prominence almost immediately with a leading role in the film Picnic (1955). Other films from this period of her career include The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), The Eddy Duchin Story (1956), Pal Joey (1957), Jeanne Eagels (1957), the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo (1958), Bell, Book and Candle (1958), and Middle of the Night (1959). After a decade in the entertainment industry, Novak withdrew from the public eye in 1966 and appeared in films only sporadically until 1991, when she retired from acting following a tempestuous experience with director Mike Figgis on the set of Liebestraum, her last film to date.

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