Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Palisades Rathouse: Elderly Twins Fed Local Vermin Population

Illustration by Chris Rahn

Old ladies lovingly nurtured rats, turning a home in one of the nation's priciest enclaves into Willard...

In 1997, I lived in a house on Arabella Street, uptown New Orleans. A couple of blocks away there was a grocery store and across the street was an unpainted, not small, but beat up old house. Every time I would walk by that house, I caught a wiff like you get when you're around a place with a lot of animals. I figured they must have had a fair handful of dogs or cats, or both.

One night I was walking along and I passed by the old stinky house. I heard a rustling in the vine entwisted live oak to my right and when I looked over, staring at me were at least thirty rats, sitting calmly in the vines, or scurrying about. The thing that struck me immediately was that they showed no fear. I had the distinct sense that they were used to being close to humans.

I reflexively jumped to the side and I never walked on that side of the street after that. I saw the rats now and again, but not always.

I would tell friends about what happened and they either wouldn't believe me or didn't really care, so I just stopped bringing it up.

One day, a couple of years later, I received a phone call from a friend, frantically telling me to turn on the television. Apparently, rats had been burrowing into the grocery store and messing things up. Some people got the idea that it might be that house across the street. On the other side of the street from the store and the house was an old Jewish cemetery. A news crew set up in there with cameras on the house. What they found was, the man living there would come out and hold and pet and feed the rats, even kiss them. They lived with him in the house, hundreds of them. They interviewed the guy and he was unphased and unrepentant. He loved those rats.

At least I knew I wasn't hallucinating or imagining things.

The story linked to above seems far more extreme than mine.

via szanalmas

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