Did You Know a Famous Musical Mouse Once Lived in Illinois?
I don't know about you, but when I hear someone say "musical mouse", I assume they are talking about Mickey Mouse. Yes, Walt Disney himself was born in Chicago, Illinois, but the musical mouse story I am about to tell you has nothing to do with Walt or his famous mouse Mickey.
Have You Heard the Story About Rockford, Illinois' Musical Mouse?
The story about a musical mouse named, quite obviously, Mr. Mouse, was all the rage in Rockford back in late 1883. What made Mr. Mouse so special? Apparently, he could sing! According to Kathi Kresol of Haunted Rockford, a man named Mr. Blakesley who lived "at the foot of Winnebago Street", was awoken one night back in December of 1883 to a weird noise that sounded like a canary singing.
For several days and nights, Mr. Blakesley searched for the mysterious singing creature when he finally discovered a mouse 'singing' right there in his bedroom! After several attempts to catch the singing mouse, Mr. Blakesley finally succeeded.
Mr. Mouse was apparently more handsome than the average rodent and was described as; "a beautiful maltese color, with a breast of snowy white fur". Mr. Mouse's head was also unique because it was reported as larger with longer ears, and his feet were all snowy white.
Now that you understand how truly unique Mr. Mouse was, let's get to the best part of the story.
Rockford's Fascination With the 'Musical Mouse'
After discovering how truly extraordinary Mr. Mouse was, Mr. Blakesley decided to put his new friend on display for the whole town to see...literally. According to Haunted Rockford's article;
Blakesley built a little house from tin for his musical guest. It had two stories, and he would set fresh bedding outside of the cage. The little mouse would pull it through the bars of the cage and carry it to the second floor to build a little nest. Every morning, the mouse would pull the bedding to the first floor, where it would spread it out to air.
Besides Mr. Mouse's adorable house and particular ways of eating (he ate one piece of food at a time kind of like a canary), Rockfordians were obsessed with watching the mouse's musical performances that Mr. Blakesley trained the critter to do on command.
Haunted Rockford's article doesn't mention how Rockford's Musical Mouse met his end, but it does say that many people offered to purchase him from Mr. Blakesley, including the Chicago Museum, but he respectfully declined. I am choosing to believe Mr. Mouse ran off and joined the circus where he still entertains today.