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  • Writer's picturemysteriesofmercia

The Pub Protected From Witchcraft

Something strange crouches in a corner of the Three Stag's Heads inn near Wardlow Mires in the Derbyshire Peak District. A mummified cat was found inside a wall during renovations, placed there to protect the house against curses, witchcraft and hexes. She now stands guard in a corner of the front bar.

The author Neil Gaiman popped in for a pint once while passing by and ended up using the inn as the main location in his novella "Black Dog", he included the cat but was also inspired by the black lurcher that used to live there, and there's even a very good locally brewed stout named for him.

Putting protective objects into the structure of a house was once a wide-spread custom in our villages, cats seem to have been the most common object but horse skulls, "witch bottles", swords and even an infant's hand have been discovered in old buildings around the Midlands.

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