Malleus Maleficarum!
030 – Enunciation

We were all thinking it.

I just realized that, in fact, Catskin is not nearly as well known a story as I expected.  Adding to the confusion is that it turns out that there is an entirely unrelated Grimm fairy tale also entitled Catskin.  So maybe I should explain a little about Catskin so that you can follow along?

When I was a kid growing up back east, we lived in a new housing development, right on the edge of an old forest that was steadily being whittled down by the encroachment of man and all that.  A little ways into this forest, there was an old abandoned church.  According to local legend, the boy who was to become Catskin was born in the area sometime in, oh, I dunno, the 1800s.  He was different than most babies.  He was born without skin, emerging from the womb red, raw and screaming.  Being skinless, life was not easy for the boy who would become Catskin.  The local kids did torment him so! (Though I suppose if you don’t have skin, getting tormented by local kids is the least of your worries)  Anyway, the boy was very sensitive to light due to his condition, so he sought sanctuary in an old church, where he hid from all human contact for years and years.

One day, the townsfolk started to notice that an inordinate number of local cats had gone missing. They didn’t think much of it at first, since outdoor cats are apt to go missing for days or weeks at a time, only returning at their own whim.  It wasn’t until the night that the skinless boy emerged from seclusion that people knew where they’d gone – he had been luring cats into the church by hacking off digits to use as bait meat, and then killing and skinning them to make a nice bloody coat to protect him from the light.

When his coat was complete, Catskin came out of hiding, a hulking bloody bundle of calico and tabby and tortoiseshell all stitched together, blinking dumbly in the moonlight.  He shambled into town and he got his revenge on all those bullies who had so tormented him. Then he came back to the church and was never seen again.

His ghost was said to still haunt the premises. Also, if he taunted him in front of a mirror, he would appear and kill you.  KILL YOU DEAD.

In some versions of the story, Catskin had glowing yellow eyes. I don’t know if that’s important.

And you may well ask: What was inside the church? I’ll never tell.

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