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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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TORTURE TREE.

THIS IS LOCATED IN A SMALL PARK OUTSIDE OF PERRY, NEW YORK.
WILLIAM BOYD AND THOMAS PARKER, MEMBERS OF SULLIVAN'S EXPEDITION
WERE CAPTURED BY THE SENECA INDIANS IN 1779. THE INDIANS CUT OPEN
THE TWO MEN, PULLED OUT THEIR INTESTINES, AND ATTACHED THEM TO A
LARGE TREE. THEY THEN FORCED THE MEN TO RUN AROUND THE TREE UNTIL
ALL THEIR INTESTINES WERE OUT, THEN LET THEM BLEED TO DEATH.
THE PARK CONTAINS THE TORTURE TREE, WITH A STONE PATH IN A CIRCLE
AROUND IT, THE GRAVES OF BOYD AND PARKER AND A PLAQUE
COMMEMORATING THIS TORTURE.

Where learned: NOT LISTED

Keyword(s): TORTURE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Plant
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

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AT PARTIES, ESPECIALLY THE ONES THAT HAVE ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGES SERVED, I NOTICED THAT WHEN A PERSON GETS
SLIGHTLY TIPSY, HE WILL PICK UP A CAT (IF THERE IS ONE
AROUND), AND START SWINGING IT BY THE TAIL. MOST OF
THE TIMES, THE PERSON SWINGING THE CAT WILL HOP UP ON
A PIECE OF FURNITURE, SUCH AS A TABLE, CHAIR, OR COUCH,
JUST TO SHOW OFF WHAT HE IS DOING.

Submitter comment: AT A GRADUATION PARTY, MY FRIEND BEGAN SWINGING HIS
CAT BY THE TAIL, AND A FEW SECONDS LATER WAS HOLDING
ONLY THE TAIL. I TOLD THIS EVENT TO SEVERAL PEOPLE
AND FOUND OUT THE ABOVE ITEM. NEEDLESS TO SAY, MY
FRIEND'S CAT STILL DOESN'T LIKE HIM, AND PROBABLY
NEVER WILL.
ONE THING THAT I NOTICED DIFFERENT BETWEEN THIS
INCIDENT AND THE ITEM WAS THAT MOST OF THE TIME WHEN OTHER
PEOPLE WERE SWINGING THEIR CATS BY THE TAILS, THE CATS STAYED
ATTACHED TO THEIR TAILS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE ; DETROIT ; ROSEVILLE

Keyword(s): ANIMAL TORTURE ; EXPRESSING HAPPINESS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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