The explanation is more ominous than you might think…



via Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 128, f.74r


Objects of Intrigue: 16th Century Rocket Cats

by Allison Meier

(From Atlas Obscura)


“Why are these animals in a 16th century manuscript wearing jet packs? That’s the mystery Mitch Fraas, Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, set out to decipher. It turns out the truth is a bit macabre, but the illustrators obviously took some whimsical joy in depicting these rocket cats and birds. Fraas told Atlas Obscura more about these fire-fueled cats:

Just about a year ago, a friend sent me a link with a picture from one of our manuscripts here at Penn. I gaped… was that really a picture of a cat and a bird propelled by rocket packs!? This seemed pretty unlikely for a 16th century manuscript, but within a week I had turned up another half dozen examples of similar illustrations. So, what’s the deal with these rocket creatures?…


For the complete piece click here to go to Atlas Obscura.