Richard Madeley’s Ghost Cat!

Not a ghost catI was lucky enough to listen to everyone’s favourite Madeley, Richard, on the radio on the way into work today. This experience came about through a combination of me always listening to the radio while commuting, choosing to tune into Radio 2, and the time being a little after eight in the morning during a period when Richard Madeley is sitting in for Chris Evans in his regular slot.

You will note that these matter-of-fact occurrences just happened to coincide and that there is no immediate need to exclaim “Holy halibut! It’s the work of angels! Explain that Dawkins!” It’s quite important to note that.

So, back to that there radio programme…

Madeley related a story – a true story because someone he knew told it to him – about a ghost cat. A summary of the story follows:

Some time ago a man – let’s call him Caron Keating’s brother Paul because that’s his name and there’s no escaping the shame of idiocy here – went to Ireland and, while there, hopped in a taxi to visit the place where his dad was buried. Arriving at the cemetery he realised he couldn’t remember which grave was his father’s and looked up and down for some time in vain. Suddenly, he spotted movement and, following it, discovered a large, grey cat sunning itself on a grave. The grave – you won’t be at all surprised to hear – was his father’s! The cat scarpered just like a cat might do if it were a cat. 

Trying to pray at the grave, Paul was distracted by the cat which reappeared and purred; a very spooky thing for a cat to do unless that cat were really a cat and not a sentient brick in a cat suit. His praying ruined, Paul returned to the taxi with cat in tow, and struggled to get away from the cat’s persistent following. The cat clearly wanted attention. Very, very spooky. For a mushroom. Not so much for a cat.

A few days later Paul visited his brother and mentioned the cat. His brother went very quiet and pulled out an old photograph of their dad that he had apparently hidden from Paul for some reason all his life. The photo was of the father, younger (since photographs record moments that happened in the past), and with a grey cat!

“Is that the cat?” asked Paul’s brother, pointing at the vintage polaroid’s three inch by three inch faded image of a man with a moggy.

And do you know what? It was!

Paul couldn’t explain it. Richard Madeley couldn’t explain it. Nobody could explain it. There was nothing for it but to say this was clearly a ghost cat with the soul of the dead father residing inside. Obviously.

Or, and this is just a thought, there might be an explanation after all which has a better fit for this particular scenario. Bear with me. This explanation is: it was just a normal cat.

Ghost cat? Or normal cat? How do we decide which is more likely? Through statistical probability; for there is no other way.

The Argument For A Ghost Cat

We can ascertain the probability of the cat being a ghost cat by dividing the number of global cats that are definitely ghost cats based on confirmed ghost cat recordings (zero) by an approximation of the total number of cats in the world (many).

This gives us a likelihood of the cat being a ghost of: zero percent.

But as a sceptic I only say never when mentioning that I never say never (except for that first never) and so we add a bit that I like to call “The Sceptical Get-Out Value” to give us a final likelihood of: zero percent.

The Argument For A Normal Cat

The argument for this cat being a normal cat and not a ghost cat is more complicated as the burden of proof is always on whoever doesn’t think a perfectly normal thing is a ghost, UFO, monster, spirit, demon, or deity.

Let us consider the location: Ireland. Let us consider whether cats exist in Ireland: they do. Let us consider whether there is more than one grey cat in Ireland: there is. Let us consider whether the actions of the cat are in keeping with the sorts of things that cats do: sunning, purring, and looking for attention are considered cat traits. Let us consider whether it is possible for a cat to be in a cemetery: it is. Let us consider the chance of a cat being on any grave at any given time: quite high. Let us consider whether the cat is simply likely to be normal cat by subtracting the previously determined likelihood of it being a ghost cat from 100%: that’s quite a lot.

This gives us a final calculation of: of course it’s just a cat you bloody morons.

The Argument For Not Letting People Talk About Ghost Cats On The Radio

I almost crashed because I was shouting at the radio. You came this close to being sued Richard Madeley. You and your ghost cat.

Author: Mark

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  1. loved this story, as a cat lover i have had many lovely cats over the years and when each one died for a time after i could still hear loud purring in my bedroom as my cats always slept at the bottom of my bed. and i can promise you it was definitly not my husband.

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  2. It’s just like you to tear apart an uninformed, insubstantial and erroneous supposition.

    There – I said it.

    I also love the new look to the site.

    There – I said it again.

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  3. It was a brilliant story. I only heard it today (12th April), he repeated it again. I love a good ghost story.

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  4. Good story but easily explained by a mixture of coincidence & sub conscious memory. He had been to the grave b4 so it wasn’t the cat that made him realise it was his Dads grave – it was already in his subconcious. Likewise, he had probably seen photos of his Dads cat but forgotten about it but his subconcious still had the memory – when he described the cat to his brother, he was describing the one that had been triggered by his subconcious so no wonder his brother recognised it.

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  5. I heard that episode and was bowled over by the madness of it all too.

    Then a couple of months later…

    I was walking home at night and just before I got to my flat this grey cat jumped up on the wall beside me looking for attention. Lo and behold it was a friend’s cat. An indoor cat that shouldn’t be out. A cat I knew very well because I fed it whenever she went on holiday.

    Well I rang my friend and she was out so couldn’t confirm, but she was nearby so headed to me immediately.

    The more I looked at the cat the more I thought it’s not exactly the same as Spencer but I can’t be sure.

    By the time my friend arrived I was pretty sure it wasn’t him but still not convinced enough to walk away from it.

    She arrived and wasn’t even sure at first, but after staring at him for a minute knew it wasn’t her cat.

    So we left it. She went home and her cat was home all along.

    So there you have it. Two people, one who’d seen the cat many times and one being the bloody owner; both who were ID-ing the wrong cat. How is someone expected to ID a cat they saw once, a couple of days later in a photo?

    The point is : LOADS OF CATS LOOK THE SAME!

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