"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Reports of headless ghosts are hardly rare. However, one who removes her own head and tosses it around like a basketball is novel enough for me to welcome her through the hallowed gates of Strange Company HQ. From the "Coffeyville Daily Journal," April 6, 1897:
The country north of Anderson, Ind., has an up-to-date, twentieth century ghost. The people in the vicinity of Florida, a small town, are in a state of excitement, the result of the appearance of the apparition and its unheard of actions.

McClelland Beagle, a gas line inspector, was the first to encounter the ghost. He was riding along a deserted road when his horse suddenly shied and stopped. He looked before him, and his blood froze in his veins. There in the center of the roadway was a white figure strolling along in front of the horse in an unconcerned manner. The form was that of a woman. She did not seem to have any concern for the chilly atmosphere. Beagle whipped up his horse and made a dash at her, but the faster his horse went the swifter the Apparition moved on in front. She took down her hair leisurely, and let it fall down over her white robes. At last she turned into a barn belonging to Andrew Scott, and disappeared.

The next night Beagle induced John Haggarty to accompany him. As they neared the strip of wood the white figure again appeared, singing this time a German lullaby. She strolled along ahead of them and again took down her hair. They tried to run her down. She suddenly stopped, and the next second the buggy passed over the spot but she was not there. A few seconds later they saw a white form appear in the center of the road. The lullaby was again heard. She glided on ahead of them and, coming to the end of the strip of wood, turned in and went up to the barn again and disappeared.

The next night a party of 60 people went on an investigating tour. George Brown and Andy Montgomery headed the party. They encountered the apparition at the end of the wood, and she glided on before them, carefully taking down her hair. When it was done she proceeded to give them a few pointers on what a real, up-to-date, twentieth-century ghost could do. Calmly she took her head from her shoulders and tossed it into the air. It sailed along overhead and at length quietly returned to her shoulders. She then took her head by the hair and as though throwing a sling-shot she sent it sailing along in front of her. It came to no harm, and finally returned to her and she adjusted it on her shoulders.

Finally she took her head off and tucked it under her arm. She seemed in a very pleasant mood as she strolled along headless, and when she reached the end of the woods she again set it on her shoulders, carefully did up the long black tresses, and, as happy as a lark, began singing one of her German songs, strolled up to the barn and disappeared.

A few miles from this spot a great deal of excitement was occasioned a few months ago by a nightly tragedy near an old gas well. A giant would come out. and, strolling down the road, would meet a beautiful young woman spirit, and taking her in his arms would draw a long knife and plunge it into her heart.

Okay, let's all sing: "With her head tucked underneath her arm, she walks the bloody tower..."

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Case of the Woodworked Wife

William Bennett

Tolstoy famously wrote that all happy families are alike. He could only say that because he never met the Bennetts of Fort Bragg, California, a crowd that was happy in a manner unlike any other family in the world.

William Bennett was born in Pennsylvania in 1862. He became an electrical engineer, and, by the early 1900s, he was the operator of Fort Bragg's electrical plant. He was good at his well-paying job, and was liked and respected by everyone in town. However, he was lonely. As a young man, he had been deeply in love, but the girl callously threw him over for another man. The experience so wounded him that he left his hometown and fled out West. His faith in women had been so destroyed that he refused to even try to find another sweetheart.

Unfortunately, his bachelor existence did not please him, either. As afraid as he was of romance, he missed the company of a wife and children. Bennett tried consoling himself by building a house. It was a charming and spacious eight-room dwelling with a flower garden, pets, and plenty of comfortable furniture. However, this ideal family home only emphasized his longing for the ideal family to go with it.

What to do? As he brooded on the problem one day, the solution suddenly came to him. Since his chances of finding the perfect wife and children were remote, why not simply create them?

So Bennett got himself a life-sized block of wood, and carved the woman of his dreams. When he felt he had achieved his ideal of lumber loveliness, he dressed his bride in fine clothes and installed her in the parlor. In due time, the happy couple became the proud parents of a flock of wooden children--five girls and at least one boy. (This was one case where the children could quite literally be called chips off the old block.)

At first, Bennett's neighbors were a bit unnerved by his unconventional approach to family planning, but being a tolerant, live-and-let-live bunch, they soon became accustomed to his household. The ladies of Fort Bragg even began making social calls to the new Mrs. Bennett, and they found these visits unexpectedly delightful. After all, she was always at home, never too busy to welcome visitors, and no one could say she was overly chatty or prone to spread gossip. If you confided your deepest secrets to Mrs. Bennett, you knew she would remain as silent as the tomb. The daughters held receptions, which were attended by the local elite. A contemporary paper boasted, "the sons are well-behaved young fellows, and nothing has ever been said against their habits in any way."

Some snapshots from the Bennett family album.

One day, an itinerant life insurance salesman came to Fort Bragg in search of possible customers. Some resident who obviously possessed a strong sense of humor pointed him in Bennett's direction. The salesman tracked Bennett down and gave him the standard spiel, pointing in particular to the advantages an insurance policy would hold for his family.

"That's just it," said Bennett. "I don't know what my wife would say."

The salesman decided the thing to do was to give his pitch directly to Bennett's spouse. Accordingly, the next day he presented himself at the Bennett residence. The man of the house amicably welcomed him inside, inviting him to step into the kitchen. The agent noticed a woman standing at the sink, apparently washing dishes.

"Good morning!" he said brightly.

Mrs. Bennett did not respond.

The salesman looked at her more closely. He noticed that the head that rose above the blue calico dress was...a block of wood.

"My wife," said Bennett cheerily. "She is as you see, but she's a splendid wife. Never worries me about household troubles or bills; never is late to meals; never quarrels. Isn't she a good deal better than some of those you know?"

The normally fast-talking agent found himself at a loss for words.

Like any good host, Bennett took his guest around to meet the family. In one of the bedrooms, daintily decorated pink, the agent was introduced to a daughter of the house. She was leaning over her bed, as if she were in the process of making it. In the sunny, cheerful sitting room, another girl sat at a sewing machine, while another, smaller girl stood in front of it. A third room was, judging from the furnishings and the photographs on the walls, that of a teenage boy. The agent noticed two more female figures relaxing in the parlor.

"It's..." the agent paused, trying to find a way to express his feelings. "It's peculiar, isn't it?"

"Perhaps," Bennett shrugged. "But think of the advantages. My son never stays out nights, never smokes or gambles; my daughters can never go wrong. They have everything that other children have. I see to that. Jane got a gold watch on her last birthday, and Annie a cameo pin on hers. My wife has a topaz brooch and the boy has all the scarfs and pins he needs. I'm always sure of peace and quiet in my home, and yet I like company when I eat. My family take all their meals with me and it's a good deal better than being alone."

A family of wood might not be for everyone, but by all accounts Bennett was thoroughly and genuinely contented. (Presumably the wife and kids were happy, too, but they were shy about giving interviews.) As the "New York Herald" enthused in 1907, "The daughters can never elope, for their father has only to chop them into kindling wood if they become refractory in such matters, and as for the sons, if they refuse to follow their father's footsteps he has only to put them into the stove and they will help make the house comfortable." Like any good patriarch, Bennett spent all his spare time seeing to his brood's needs. He could often be found in the local stores, carefully examining dress patterns and materials for his daughters, household items for his wife, sporting goods for his son and heir. For Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries he patronized the jewelers. The candy stores knew him well.

The daughters were very fond of sweets, you see.

Christmas of 1905 was a particularly festive affair, as the family was celebrating a new member of the household: just two months earlier, Bennett's eldest daughter got married, to a young man who was as fine and handsome a block of wood as any young lady could ask for. Although no outsiders had been invited to the wedding, it was apparently a lavish ceremony, with the bride bedecked in an elegant gown and an extensive feast afterward.

Bennett invited his nearest neighbors for Christmas dinner. They all came, attired in their best clothes, and sat at the holiday table with Mrs. Bennett, daughter Jane and her new husband, and the other young Bennetts. An excellent time was had by all.

In the words of the "New York Herald" reporter, "Mr. Bennett is not an insane man by any means, but knows exactly what he is doing and why he is doing it."

In case any genealogists are wondering what became of Bennett's family, in his old age and nearing death, he feared leaving them alone. He knew that no one would love and care for his wooden wife and children the way he did.

So he burned them.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is sponsored by a school of well-educated cats!

Why the hell are all these dentists dying?

I've wondered about this myself:  Why the hell are gay men called "fairies?"

What the hell became of Queen Zenobia?

What the hell became of USS Cyclops?

Another of those evergreen questions:  What the hell happened at Dyatlov Pass?

Who the hell did Alfred Arthur Rouse murder?

Watch out for those blue flame ghosts!

Watch out for those Demon Cats!

Eighteenth-century gambling at White's.

You wouldn't want to go to Alfred Hitchcock's dinner parties.  But you probably already knew that.

You wouldn't want to go to a 17th century sailor's dinner party.  You probably already knew that, too.

A Buddhist monk may have set himself on fire in ancient Greece.  Yeah, history is weird.

An 18th century nobleman goes on trial for rape.  Surprise, surprise, he skated.

An interesting theory about ghosts.

The New Orleans riot of 1817.

A brief history of aftershave.

The brutal murder of a mysterious woman.

Some anecdotes from the court of Napoleon.

Speaking of Napoleon, the man himself gives us English As She Is Spoke.

The lynching of Cattle Kate.

Hey, let's listen to rats playing a theremin!

A Roman mermaid.

Necromancy turns out to be a pretty expensive hobby.

Eesh. It seems that a famed archaeologist was nothing but a scam artist.

Victorian advice about perfume.

The world's worst roommate.

Victorian "penny beds."

Encounters with unicorns.

Hieronyma and the incubus.

Yet another Roman Emperor comes to a nasty end.

A useful guidebook for merchants and smugglers.

Hate tofu?  Blame Ben Franklin.

The monster of Drumate Lake.

The tale of the bullock and the gold ring.

Abraham Lincoln in Greenwich Village.

The legend of Vortigern.

So, let's talk about George Washington's bedpan.

A deadly duel in the bedroom.

Astronauts return to earth with altered DNA.

A fairy who likes cake.

And finally...um, I'll just leave this one here.

That's all for this week! Join me on Monday, when I'll present a man and his homemade family. In the meantime, here's some Praetorius:

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Just call this one, "Bert's Wild Weekend." "The Tennessean," April 3, 1979:
Memphis--The modest four-room house where Bert Gross lived for the past 13 years was never anything special until objects began flying around the home.

The frame house sitting on a small hill just across the city limits in Desoto County, Miss., looks ordinary from the outside, but Gross said strange happenings transformed it over the weekend.

The former construction worker, 54, said he and his five children were sitting in their bedroom-living room watching television Saturday night when a swarm of insects suddenly entered the room and began buzzing around their heads. Then a pillow flew off the couch and landed eight feet away.

That was just the beginning of a weekend of mystery, Gross said.

Over the next two days, a coal-burning heater in the same room collapsed, a portable television set crashed to the floor, and an upright freezer turned itself around in the kitchen, Gross said.

He called neighbors and Desoto County sheriff's deputies over to watch when drawers began opening and closing and items ranging from cans of spaghetti sauce to an alarm clock hurled through the air.

A reporter for the Commercial Appeal said he witnessed the bizarre happenings while spending several hours in the house Saturday.

Gilbert Hines, 58, who lives behind the Gross house, said a pillow made him a believer.

"I'm a hard believer, especially when it comes to what people tell me," Hines said. "But a pillow came from a corner and hit me on the leg. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it."

While no one could explain the phenomenon, friends urged Gross to move his children ranging in age from 13 to 24 out of the mysterious house. Gross convinced his family to stay over the weekend, but said he might change his mind later unless things begin staying where they belong.

A follow-up story appeared the next day in the "Tampa Tribune":
Bert Gross said Tuesday he was going to wait until things "calm down" before doing any more talking about the ghostly events that he says have been happening in his Memphis, Tenn., home.

"I'm not letting anybody into the house for a couple of days until I have time to think it all over," said Gross, refusing to be interviewed.

Carloads of sightseers have been driving past the modest home since reports circulated last weekend about a freezer moving itself, tennis balls flying through the air and objects --ranging from cans to alarm clocks--tumbling from counters. Unable to cope with the phenomenon, Gross took his five children and went to stay with relatives. "There have been television crews out there filming without my permission and people on my porch trying to get in," Gross said. "I just don't know what to think about it all."

The frame house has been locked and a rusted lawn chair stays propped against a sagging screen door. to keep it shut and the spectators away. Outside sits a portable black-and-white television that Gross said crashed to the floor during the bizarre weekend.

Gross said the strange events started Saturday night. While watching television, Gross and his children were surrounded by a swarm of flying insects. A few moments later, he said, a pillow flew off a couch and landed two yards away. A reporter who was asked to witness the mysterious events said he was talking with Gross when a pillow on a couch flew across the room and hit him on the leg.

"I can't explain any of it," Gross said.
The family returned to their home, but strange events kept up for at least several more weeks. On the 15th, the stove suddenly collapsed, forcing the family to cook meals on an outdoor grill. Dirt mysteriously flew around the house, and the refrigerator and freezer moved during the night. The family finally moved, and, so far as is recorded, the exploits of the Gross Poltergeist came to an end.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Doctor and the Deadly House Call

Helen (or Helene) Knabe's life was remarkable, in the best sense of the word. Unfortunately, her death was also remarkable, but in the worst possible way.

Knabe was born in 1875, in Rugenwald, an area by the Baltic Sea that is now the Polish city of Darlowo. She grew up bright, fiercely ambitious, and determined to become a doctor. Feeling that her native land offered her few opportunities to follow her chosen profession, she decided to move to America. Her destination was Indianapolis, Indiana, where several relatives had already emigrated. Upon her arrival, she found work in the household of an Indianapolis doctor, acting as cook and general housemaid. She learned English, and through sheer hard work and self-denial, saved enough money to enter the Medical College of Indiana.

Knabe proved to have a great natural aptitude for medical research--so much so that by the time she graduated in 1904, she had become an instructor at the college. She eventually became the state board of health's assistant pathologist, then Indiana's very first official bacteriologist--an incredible career trajectory for a woman of her day, and a solid tribute to her skill and discipline. She was a recognized expert in rabies and sexually transmitted diseases. In 1908, she resigned in order to open her own medical practice, which was an immediate success. By the time Knabe was thirty-five, she was personal physician to many of Indianapolis' elite. She had an unblemished reputation, and was highly and justifiably respected; the ideal example of a "self-made woman."

So the obvious question is: Why would anyone want to murder her?

On the morning of October 24, 1911, Katherine McPherson, Knabe's assistant, entered the doctor's apartment house (which also served as her office.) The front doors had been locked from the inside, and everything in the outer rooms seemed completely normal. However, Knabe herself seemed to be absent. The puzzled McPherson searched the apartment for her employer.

The mystery of Knabe's silence was quickly solved when McPherson entered the doctor's bedroom, and found her dead body. The corpse lay on a blood-soaked bed. It was immediately obvious that this was a murder, and a particularly brutal one.

Unfortunately for the course of the investigation, McPherson completely lost her head. Instead of immediately phoning the police, she summoned some of Knabe's friends and relatives to gawk at the horrid sight and generally do a splendid job of contaminating the crime scene and wasting valuable time.

When the police finally arrived--more than an hour after McPherson's initial discovery--they found that someone had cut Knabe's throat so viciously that she was nearly decapitated. As the body was wearing a nightdress, it was presumed she had been attacked while she slept, probably very quickly and efficiently. (Incidentally, there were no signs that she had been sexually assaulted.) Only one item was missing from the apartment: an instrument called a microtome, which was used to cut extremely thin sections of material for microscopic examination. It was presumed that this had been the murder weapon.

Investigators soon realized they faced a twin mystery: the question not only of who had murdered Knabe, but how the crime had been committed. All the doors and windows were locked from inside, with the exception of the windows in Knabe's bedroom. These were open, but securely covered by screens. The outside windowsills were coated with a thick layer of dust, indicating that the murderer had not entered or exited through them. It was thought Knabe must have let her killer into the apartment, although no one was able to say who this person might have been, or why the doctor would admit this person into her apartment in the middle of the night.

This inability to satisfactorily explain how anyone could have gotten into, then out of, Knabe's apartment, coupled with the lack of any evident motive for murder, led William Holtz, the chief of detectives, to argue that the doctor had not been killed at all: she had committed suicide. He pointed to the fact that Knabe's launching of a private practice had left her heavily in debt, something that had worried the normally financially prudent doctor. Working against this theory was the fact that the knife used to slash Knabe's throat was never found. It was pointed out that even the most determined suicide would have trouble nearly cutting off their own head and then disposing of the weapon. The body also had a defensive wound in one forearm.

Two days after Knabe's death, police received their first lead: a man named Joseph Carr told them that on the night Knabe died, he had walked past her apartment at about 1 a.m. He heard two screams, which were followed by a man exiting the alley behind the building and running up the sidewalk. When this man realized he had been seen, he quickly covered his face with a handkerchief and dashed off. Carr thought the man was about forty years old, and was dressed in a dark suit. Another witness came forward to state that around 8 p.m. on that fatal night, a man who fit the description of the one encountered by Carr asked him for directions to Knabe's apartment building. A woman who lived near Knabe stated that at the same time Carr saw this mystery man, she heard someone running past her house.

The particularly baffling circumstances of Knabe's death proved to be an excellent breeding ground for increasingly crackpot theories. Some stubbornly clung to the suicide scenario. A letter of Knabe's where she discussed her interest in Buddhism caused others to mutter of crazed Buddhist death squads. My favorite suggestion came from another female physician, Dr. Carrie Gregory. Gregory stated that one of Knabe's female patients had been suffering from "an ailment that was drying up the blood." Knabe opted to treat this woman by transfusing the patient with two quarts of blood from the Knabe's own body. Sadly, this novel treatment wound up killing the doctor. In order to cover up this embarrassing turn of events, Knabe's fellow physicians simulated a murder by slashing her throat and smuggled the body into her apartment.

I do not know how successful Dr. Gregory was in her chosen profession, but she would have wowed them as a Gothic novelist.

Knabe's murder soon went into the police's "cold case" files, and it remained there, getting chillier by the day. The Indianapolis chapter of the Council of Women hired a private detective named Harry Webster to look into the mystery, but he seemed to have as little success as the police. Then, in March 1912, a sailor named Seth Nichols was arrested for public drunkenness in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Before Nichols had a chance to sober up, he told police that a man he only knew as "Knight," had paid him $1,500 to murder Dr. Knabe. However, it soon became disappointingly evident that Nichols' story simply did not stand up under examination. When records proved that Nichols had been on board his ship the night Knabe died, authorities quickly lost interest in him. Nothing more was heard of the mystery until December 1912, when a grand jury was convened to debate the question of just how Dr. Knabe died. During this hearing, a vital piece of evidence was presented that had, inexplicably, been ignored until that time: a bloody handprint had been found on Knabe's pillow. Harry Webster also presented his findings. The result of all this was that the grand jury returned two indictments in Knabe's death: Dr. William Craig, president of the Indiana Veterinary College, was charged with murder, with an undertaker named Alonzo Ragsdale being named as Craig's accessory.

Craig and Dr. Knabe had been "an item" since soon after they first met in 1908. However, shortly before Knabe's death, their romance had hit a rocky patch, evidently over Craig's assumption that she would give up her career after they married. According to some of their acquaintances, Craig had decided to break off their relationship--in fact, he was seeing another woman. Knabe, it was suggested, was not going to take the breakup quietly, thus giving Craig a motive for murder. A man named Harry Haskett claimed that he had seen Craig leaving Knabe's apartment building around 11 p.m. on the night Knabe died. (Of course, if you wish to pin the murder on Craig, this testimony clashes with the other witnesses who allegedly saw a man fleeing the scene two hours later.) One Dr. Eva Templeton stated that Craig's housekeeper told her that on the night of the murder, Craig arrived home late and had immediately changed his clothes. (Curiously, it is not clear if the housekeeper herself ever verified Templeton's story.)

As for Alonzo Ragsdale, he had been the administrator of Knabe's estate. Found in his possession was a kimono that had belonged to the dead woman. Tests showed that it had been bloodstained, then washed in "a strong chemical solution." The assumption was that he had helpfully removed this bit of evidence, as a favor to Craig. (It was never explained why Ragsdale would keep such a massively self-incriminating item.) For his part, Ragsdale said that he had a number of Knabe's more unimportant possessions, and there was no evidence that this kimono was even in Knabe's apartment at the time of her death.

Craig stood trial in November 1912. When Harry Haskett was put under oath, he suddenly became much less certain that he had seen Craig leaving Knabe's apartment. Several of Knabe's neighbors testified to hearing screams around midnight--one hour after this alleged sighting of Craig. In short, the prosecution so signally failed to present any evidence that Craig was the murderer that on December 9, the judge instructed the jury to dismiss the case. Accordingly, the charges against Ragsdale were also dropped.

The ignominious failure of the case against Craig was the end of any formal investigation into Helen Knabe's death. The question of who murdered the pioneering female doctor, and why, will almost certainly remain unknown. Indianapolis psychics and leaders of "ghost tours" insist that Knabe's spirit still haunts the city. If such is the case, the lady's wraith has shown a disappointing failure to elucidate the mystery.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is sponsored by another of our celebrity cats!

And Buster Keaton.

Why the hell did ancient people drill holes in their heads?

What the hell is an island?

Who the hell made the Portolan Charts?

Watch out for those owls!

Watch out for those phantom hitchhikers!

A court case involving ghosts and bleeding corpses.

Watch out for those cursed vases!

The woman who thought she was married to Napoleon.

Shorter version:  water is weird.

A princess' generous ghost.

The diary of a 17th century vicar.

So maybe it's true that elephants never forget.

The donkey who starred in St. Patrick's Day parades.

Recent cases where airplanes encountered UFOs.

That time San Francisco rioted over a beer-drinking actress.

A quack's peculiar disappearance...and equally peculiar reappearance.

The captain whose sea was the desert.

The heroic voyage of Mary Patten.

A dinner with the Alexander Hamiltons and the Bonapartes.

Letters from ancient women.

When you have three brothers nicknamed "Newgate," "Cripplegate," and "Hellgate," you know you're dealing with a fun family.

A brief history of hair transplants.

A magnetic anomaly in Africa.

Blood and the Shroud of Turin.

A Chinese poltergeist.

The odd case of the Black Pig of Kiltrustan.

The (relatively) forgotten Garfield assassination.

The mystery of the appendix.

Folklore and psychotherapy.

Etiquette rules from 19th century France.

A forgotten aviation pioneer.

When father is very unlike son.

The world's oldest tattoos.

How wild animals self-medicate.

The once-renowned Wyld's Globe.

A woman who was framed for witchcraft.

Because I know you've been dying to ask me what London weather was like in the late seventeenth century.

The Coker Hill haunting.

Why it was a bad idea to invite Horace Walpole to a cricket match.

This week in Russian Weird looks at Siberian "wild people."  And what really became of this Soviet spy?

Captain Halpin meets a ghost.

Is this the world's oldest writing?

The serial killer of elephants.

That's it for this week!  We meet again on Monday, when I'll look at a doctor's mysterious murder.  In the meantime, here's some classic Irish music.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

It's another Talking Cat Week at Strange Company! From the "Baltimore Sun," December 21, 1949:
Kiki, of Charles Street avenue and Chesapeake avenue, withheld comment yesterday afternoon on his guardian's claim that she regularly regularly holds conversations with him. Kiki is a cat.

The claimant is Dr. Clara B. Fishpaugh, Ph.D., D.Sc, a former professor of education and psychology at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Kiki wandered into Dr. Fishpaugh's Towson home about six years ago, she recalled. The first time that she learned of his superfeline faculty of speech, Dr. Fishpaugh said, was not until about two years later. "I had brought him some lamb kidneys from the market. He's very fond of lamb kidneys.

"'Kiki,' I said. 'Mr. Will gave you these. Do you think you ought to thank Mr. Will?'

"Kiki distinctly replied. 'Yeah.' He never has managed to pronounce pronounce his S's."

Since that astonishing exchange. Kiki's vocabulary has been enormously increased, or. at least, more fully demonstrated, Dr. Fishpaugb recounted. On a hot summer day, the cat is likely to come crawling into the house, apparently hot and tired, collapse on a cushion and exclaim. "Aw in," which, Dr. Fishpaugh explained, means, "I'm all in."

One recent inclement afternoon, Kiki returned dripping rain and informed the psychologist, that he was "cold-wet."

A great lover of crabmeat, Kiki recently surprised Dr. Fishpaugh by scorning a dish of it and strolling airily out of the dining room. "What's the matter?" Dr. Fishpaugh inquired. "Don't want it," Kiki reportedly replied.

Dr. Fishpaugh was afraid for a moment that Kiki was talking nonsense until she observed that he had neglected food only because he had caught sight of one Suzie, another cat, with whom he is on good terms.

"Kiki is not very friendly with strangers." Dr. Fishpaugh pointed out. "But, after all, there is no other animal as individualistic as a cat, is there?" Like a child coaxed to perform for the benefit of visitors. Kiki is likely to seal his lips and utter not a word when on show. This childlike obstinacy fits Dr. Fishpaugh's theory that animals in some ways resemble human infants. "It has always been my opinion," she said, "that animals learn like children, only more slowly. The trouble is that few animals are given the chance to learn."

Furthermore, Dr. Fishpaugh contends that animals learn not only by association but by their reasoning power and intelligence. Although occasionally inclined to be moody and even rude, Kiki usually calls Dr. Fishpaugh "mom," she said fondly.

As an indication of the high regard in which he holds her, Dr. Fishpaugh told of Kiki's reaction to a recent picture taken of the two together. "Kiki looked at the picture intently. He looked at me intently. He looked back at the picture, and took his paw and knocked the picture out of my hand. He evidently didn't think that the camera had done me justice."

Although most of Kiki's conversation seems reserved for Dr. Fishpaugh. she says her pet once amazed a brush salesman and on another occasion caused a plumber to observe Kiki had "a lot more sense than some people." The brush salesman had been in the house a half hour and Kiki obviously didn't like him, according to Dr. Fishpaugh. She said Kiki finally burst out with: "Man." "Do you have a parrot?" she quoted the brush man. "No, a talking cat," she said she replied.

Kiki apparently looks after his own health quite carefully. He retires for the night promptly when the clock strikes 8 P.M. He wears a snug sweater which Dr. Fishpaugh has provided for him. He carefully avoids the lawn when he is warned that dead grass is being burned there. He stays at home when Dr. Fishpaugh tells him that dogs are at large outside.

Dr. Fishpaugh said that some of Kiki's sentences are almost complete, such as, "Dog out now." There are times, on the other hand, when Kiki's remarks are limited to cryptic monosyllables and nods of the head.

He apparently tends to be reticent when his feelings are hurt. One of the times that Kiki really seemed to be offended was when Dr. Fishpaugh told him about a talented cat that could sing "Silent Night" and earn large sums doing so. "Kiki warbled a few notes," Dr. Fishpaugh said. "It didn't sound like much. When I asked him to try again he just shrugged, as though to say, 'I already showed you I can do it.' "

Yesterday, Kiki wouldn't even shrug.

A side note: to date, I haven't been able to find out anything about the cat who sang Christmas carols, but rest assured, the search goes on.