A hundred years ago the British were hiding in the walls of their houses shoes to protect yourself from evil
In the British Isles in thousands of homes hidden in the walls and in various hiding places boots and shoes. Old tradition assumed that it will protect the house and its owners from harm and misfortune.
In 2014, Laura Potts started a kitchen renovation in her house Georgian era (XVIII century) in the village near the city of Norwich. When she once came to visit builders and check it, she found on the windowsill of an old Shoe. She was told that this Shoe, which was female, was found in an old chimney.
The Shoe was worn and was outdated. Laura Potts posted his finding in social networks and attracted the attention of the public, including relations Manager University of East Anglia, who reported it to the teachers.
History Professor Malcolm Gaskill says that most likely the Shoe in the chimney left intentionally to protect the house from witches and it was on the wrong track in the pipe.
In the early modern period (mid 17 century) a lot of people believed in supernatural beings like ghosts, demons, goblins or elves. But the most terrible for the people were witches. Because they looked like people and they were difficult to recognize. Worst of all was that a sorcerer or a witch could be anyone, even your neighbor.
Therefore, superstitious people tried by all means to protect your house from evil forces. In Vogue for such cases was the so-called witch bottles. Of filled different contents like herbs, nails, urine, pieces of cloth and buried under the threshold of the house or was hiding somewhere inside the house. The bottle was supposed to attract the attention of witches and distract from the real people.
Apparently the same purpose was served by the old shoes of the master or mistress of the house. It bore the «fingerprint» of human personality and perfectly suited for the role of bait for the witches.
Six years ago, an old Shoe was discovered in the house Alison Norman and also in the chimney. Shoes found, when workers were restored fireplace from the 17th century. She was wrapped in the bag and belonged to a child. The shoes were not 17 and not 18 century. She was from the late 19th century. Even in those years there was a very strong superstition.
The size of the shoes belonged to the 2-3 year old child. When Alison told about the discovery, the locals began to tell her that she couldn’t stand the shoes out of the house, as it might «scare her luck.»
This women’s boot approximately 1675-1699 years were found in the wall of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire
According to the historian Siri Houlbrooke from the University of Hertfordshire. over the years, the purpose of concealment in the houses of the old shoes has varied. It could be to scare away the witches, and later to scare away demons or ghosts or the supernatural in General.
The theory is that the forces of evil smelling shoes (by smell or energy) and take them for real people and attack them instead of attacking people. And then the Ghost or spirit to be inside of clogs in the trap.
This 18th century Shoe was found at the College of St. John’s, Cambridge in 2016, during the reconstruction of the fireplace in one of the rooms. He was between the fireplace and the panelling of the wall
According to Holbrooke, he knows more about the numerous cases of finding old shoes inside houses. Most often it was in the rural houses and sometimes in Church buildings. In total, according to the historian, in the UK thousands of homes with such «time capsules».
Sometimes old shoes find houses in the US, Canada and Australia. Immigrants from Britain were transported to the New world and their superstitions. And there’s this tradition continued the longest, at least until the 1930-1940-years. In Britain, the tradition died out immediately with the beginning of the 20th century.
In Northamptonsh Museum houses a large collection of old shoes found in homes. There is the found of the Shoe. Since the 1950s, is known about three thousand of these finds in the British Isles. This was mainly in the South-East of England, but there were even Shetland.
Interestingly, over 900 shoes was childish. The caretaker of the Museum MS Shawcross doesn’t know what it is connected, but suggests that it was believed that children were more pure of soul, and should stronger to protect them from witches. Especially given what in those years was a large infant mortality.