The Cat Hoax : Famous Impostors by Bram Stoker

Famous Impostors : Hoaxes The Cat Hoax


Bram Stoker

Famous Impostors by Bram Stoker

The Cat Hoax

One very amusing variation of the countless imitations, which the success of this trick gave rise to, was the “cat hoax” at Chester, in August, 1815. It was at the time when it had been determined to send Napoleon to St. Helena. One morning, a number of hand bills were distributed in and around Chester, stating that, owing to the island of St. Helena being invested with rats, the government required a number of cats for deportation.

Sixteen shillings were offered for “every athletic full-grown tom cat, ten shillings for every adult female puss, and a half-crown for every thriving kitten that could swill milk, pursue a ball of thread, or fasten its young fangs in a dying mouse.” An address was given at which the cats were to be delivered; but it proved to be an empty house.

The advertisement resulted in the victimisation of hundreds of people. Men, women, and children streamed into the city from miles around laden with cats of every description. Some hundreds were brought in, and the scene before the door of the empty house is said to have baffled description.

When the hoax was discovered many of the cats were liberated; the following morning no less than five hundred dead cats were counted floating down the river Dee.

Famous Impostors

Chapter I. Pretenders
A. Perkin Warbeck
B. The Hidden King
C. Stephan Mali
D. The False Dauphins
E. Princess Olive

Chapter II. Practitioners of Magic
A. Paracelsus
B. Cagliostro
C. Mesmer

Chapter III.
The Wandering Jew

Chapter IV.
John Law

Chapter V. Witchcraft and Clairvoyance
A. Witches
B. Doctor Dee
C. La Voisin
D. Sir Edward Kelley
E. Mother Damnable
F. Matthew Hopkins

Chapter VI.
Arthur Orton (Tichborne claimant)

Chapter VII. Women as Men
A. The Motive for Disguise
B. Hannah Snell
C. La Maupin
D. Mary East

Chapter VIII. Hoaxes, etc.
A. Two London Hoaxes
B. The Cat Hoax
C. The Military Review
D. The Toll-Gate
E. The Marriage Hoax
F. Buried Treasure
G. Dean Swift’s Hoax
H. Hoaxed Burglars
I. Bogus Sausages
J. The Moon Hoax

Chapter IX.
Chevalier d’Eon

Chapter X.
The Bisley Boy