Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rocket Cats

The curious case of the "rocket cats"-- drawings of cats and birds with what look like jet packs strapped to their backs, recently discovered in a digitized sixteenth-century manuscript -- is perhaps not so curious. According to Mitch Fraas, a scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, the "jet packs" were actually sacks of flammable material intended to turn the animals into incendiary devices. Released into a besieged city, the animals would wreak havoc by spreading the flames. Fraas claims the idea circulated widely in military manuals of the time and illustrations of these attack animals appear in numerous sixteenth and seventeenth-century manuscripts. More here.