A 17th century English woman, Joan Flower, along with her two daughters, was hung for practicing witchcraft. Joan and her daughters were employed by the Earl of Rutland and were accused of cursing his family. His sons had died, and his wife had become barren, and someone had to take the blame for it. It was said that the daughters had stolen some of the Earl's possessions and given them to their mother who rubbed them on the fur of her cat uttering curses. Nothing is recorded about the fate of the cat, but it is unlikely that it escaped with its life.
Witches and cats have had a long association with Halloween. Because cats are nocturnal creatures and do their roaming at night, they were seen as the servants of witches and out to harm those that the witches had cursed. It was also believed by some that witches had the supernatural power to change into cats and so more easily carry out their wicked deeds and escape detection. Mythical stories recount great gatherings of witches when the seasons changed, on the eve of May Day and on the eve of October 31 Halloween.