Grimalkin: The Mysterious Cat of Nostradamus and Shakespeare
You probably know that Nostradamus was a 16th century French prophet and seer, but did you know that he had a mysterious cat named Grimalkin?
So, why is Nostradamus’ cat Grimalkin mysterious, you ask?
Consider this: During the Renaissance it was believed that Satan sent malicious spirits to help witches carry out their work. These spirits appeared in animal form, and were referred to as “familiars” or “imps.” (A common example of this is the black cat that we associate with witches at Halloween)
One of the more famous literary examples of this is the cat in Shakespeare‘s 1606 play MacBeth, which helped the three blind witches look into Macbeth’s future.
And what was this cat’s name, you ask? Amazingly, the cat in MacBeth is also named Grimalkin (Graymalkin)
Could it be that Nostradamus’ cat, Grimalkin, game him unholy powers to see into the future, just like she did for Shakespeare’s witches?
The only thing that is known for sure is that the lives of Nostradamus and Shakespeare overlapped by only a matter of months, and that they both had an interest in a mysterious cat named, Grimalkin.
- The name “Grimalkin” itself means “an old or nefarious lady or cat,” while coincidentally, the name “Nostradamus” translates to “our lady.”
- Shakespeare has over 40 references to cats in his popular plays
- When the Black Plague broke out in Europe, most of the cats were killed. fearing that cats were spreading the Plague which killed Nostradamus’ first wife and children.