Witch hunt for story behind old St Neots boot
A WITCH-hunt is underway to find out more information about an old boot that has been kept under lock and key at St Neots Museum. A researcher from Australia has contacted curator Anna Mercer in a bid to find out more information about the rare artefact,
A WITCH-hunt is underway to find out more information about an old boot that has been kept under lock and key at St Neots Museum.
A researcher from Australia has contacted curator Anna Mercer in a bid to find out more information about the rare artefact, which is believed to date from the early 19th century.
Mrs Mercer said: "The boot itself is fairly normal. It is made of leather with a hobnailed sole and is probably from the earlier part of the 19th century but what makes it interesting are the circumstances in which it was found - built into the chimney of a house in Duloe."
Mrs Mercer explained that boots or shoes hidden in chimneys are often interpreted as "witch boots", which are intended to ward off evil spirits who might otherwise try to enter the house via the chimney.
She said: "Witch bottles have also been found, often containing fingernail clippings, hair and iron pins or nails. Apparently, the hair and fingernails were intended to attract the evil spirit, making it think it had found a living human, and the iron objects then impaled or trapped it in the container."
Although there are no traces of any witch deposits in the Duloe boot, a note that accompanied the artefact from its original resting place in the former Longsands School Museum suggest there were items inside when it was discovered.
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Mrs Mercer is now hoping someone living in the area knows some more about the boot's origins.
She said: "The museum has recently been contacted by an Australian researcher who is writing a book about witch deposits and would like to know more about this artefact. As the Longsands museum started in the 1970s, it seems quite likely that someone still living in the area might remember something about this - possibly even the person who found it or gave it to Longsands."
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