deseased

Rattenkönig (Rat King), 1683.

Rat kings involve a number of rats intertwined at their tails, which become stuck together with blood, dirt, ice, or feces—or simply knotted. The animals reputedly grow together while joined at the tails. The numbers of rats joined together can vary, but rat kings formed naturally from a large number of rats occur more rarely. Historically, various superstitions surround rat kings, and they were often seen as a bad omen, particularly associated with plagues.