The following newspaper article has been intriguing me for quite a long time since I first came across it a few weeks ago. When I first mentioned it in conjunction with Flying Snake magazine on the Wild About Britain Forum at about the same time I was rounded upon as if I were a bounder, a cad, a reprobate. But behold!
The extract is from the Manchester City News in March or April 1888. There is no actual date on the cutting but it is next to three cuttings from those dates.
A MYSTERY ABOUT BATS
The torpidity in which bats remain through the winter season in the temperate and colder climates is well known, and in common with other animals undergoing the same suspension of powers they have their histories of long imprisonments. The following curious instances may serve to corroborate each other. A woodman engaged in splitting timber for rail posts in the woods close by the lake of Haming, belonging to Mr Pringle in Selkirkshire, discovered in the centre of a large wild cherry tree a living bat of a bright scarlet colour, which, as soon as it was relieved from its entombment, took to its wings and escaped. The recess in the tree was only just large enough to contain the animal; but all around the wood was perfectly sound, solid and free from any opening through which the atmospheric air could reach the air could reach the bat. A man while occupied in splitting timber near Kelsall, Cheshire, discovered many years ago in the centre of a large pear tree a living bat of a bright scarlet colour, which he foolishly suffered to escape from fear, being fully persuaded that it was not a being of this world. This tree also presented a small cavity in the centre where the bat was enclosed, but was perfectly sound and solid on each side. The scarlet colour of these prisoners is still inexplicable. (1)
1. Manchester City News c. March/April 1888