Old Kattie/Kathy

Old Kathy, or Kattie (depending on which source you read) is a lady that has been surrounded in folklore since the 1700’s.



Residing in Ruswarp, Old Kathy lived in a small cottage in the small town next door to Whitby. The villagers of the town lived in fear of Kathy, and avoided her at all costs for it was feared that even if Kathy caught sight of you it would be dangerous for whomever she laid eyes on.

According to Eileen Rennison’s fantastic book ‘Yorkshire Witches’ Old Kathy was well known for having many demons and familiars which she would call upon to bring misfortune to those who crossed her. Old Kathy lived alone in her Ruswarp cottage, no one had ever seen inside – no one ever dared to look inside, until one day a travelling salesman came into town.

Abe Rogers was a pedlar who sold household goods, and sometimes spices (which goes in


Old Kathy doll that appears in the Whitby Museum.

favour to support that he was a warlock of  some description). He was unfamiliar with Kathy’s legend so when he came across her on the moors he had no idea of her reputation of being a witch. No one is sure what began it, but Abe and Kathy began having a heated argument which lead to Kathy brandishing a knife and attempting to stab Rogers. Abe knocked the knife from Kathy’s hand, blocking what could have been a fatal blow, and threatened to strangle Kathy if she didn’t stop. This enraged Kathy who began summoning up her demons in words unfamiliar to Abe.The demons surrounded Abe and began closing in, on the demand of their leader, but Abe was calm though and produced a spice from his bag, throwing it towards the demons who were blinded by the dust cloud that the spice had made. Kathy was blinded, which Abe took advantage of when he began striking the demons with a knife, the demons were injured but Kathy was lucky.

Strangely enough, Abe and Kathy became good friends after this odd meeting, no one is sure how, or why but Kathy trusted Abe enough to let him into her home and he carried on visiting even after the incident.

All what is left of Old Kathy now is a doll that was made of her likeness, it now resides in Whitby Museum.


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