Of course everyone knows about modern day laser cats, but National Geographic shows us the concept of feline firepower is centuries old…

by MATT ROURKE, AP - 2

by BRAD SCRIBER

A series of 16th-century manuscripts that have been making waves on the Internet look like a Monty Python version of the Renaissance: They show cats outfitted with flaming backpacks, attacking castles and villages.

But the illustrations are legit. They’re intended to show how cats and birds could in theory be used to set fire to a besieged city, according to a University of Pennsylvania scholar.

Mitch Fraas, scholar in residence at the University of Pennsylvania—the university digitized the manuscripts last year—says that the drawings are from artillery manuals and are accompanied by notes explaining how to use animals as incendiary devices.

by MATT ROURKE, AP - 3

Fraas translated from the original German:

“Create a small sack like a fire-arrow… if you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a cat from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well and thereafter let the cat go, so it runs to the nearest castle or town, and out of fear it thinks to hide itself where it ends up in barn hay or straw, it will be ignited.”

Fraas is skeptical that any army ever deployed what he calls a “pretty grisly” tactic: “It seems really hard to believe that would ever work.”

by MATT ROURKE, AP - 1

the post continues here…

(NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC  3.10.14)