The Witch? guide to home se­cu­rity

EDP Norfolk - - Last Word In Property -

LAST month I briefly con­sid­ered how we have a right to pro­tect our homes and how over the years have im­proved our meth­ods of pro­tec­tion. But as the dark nights start to draw in and the trees shed their leaves, my thoughts turn to­wards the un­wanted guests that no hi-tech home se­cu­rity sys­tem can ever pro­tect us from.

So, with Hal­loween fast ap­proach­ing, how can we pro­tect our homes and loved ones from the evil spir­its and witches that haunt the night skies?

As usual, I looked at how our an­ces­tors dealt with such fears.

While re­search­ing this, I was sur­prised that many of the things we do to­day for luck were orig­i­nally used to pro­tect us, for ex­am­ple our lucky horse­shoes. Many hun­dreds of years ago there were sto­ries of ‘fairy folk’ who lived in the forests of Eng­land. They would steal chil­dren and pre­vent cows from pro­duc­ing milk. They were very afraid of their en­e­mies’ iron weapons, and the best method of pro­tect­ing your home from them was to hang an iron horse­shoe from your door. Wind chimes were also designed to fend off bad spir­its, as were bells on the necks of live­stock.

We are not as afraid of evil spir­its as our an­ces­tors were, but if you look care­fully at some of the very old prop­er­ties in our re­gion, you may see the ends of bot­tles lodged be­tween the flint or bricks on the gables of some house.

These were to fend off evil spir­its as was the prac­tice of plac­ing a pair of child’s shoes in the roof space; not creepy at all!

But prob­a­bly one prac­tise that I am very pleased no longer ex­ists is that of brick­ing in a live cat be­hind the fire­place. Witches tend to have been the big­gest fear for our an­ces­tors, and I un­der­stand, al­though I have never seen one, that if you live in a very old house you are likely to see a witch’s mark.

These were or­nate cir­cu­lar carv­ings, of­ten found at weak points in a house, such as win­dows or door­ways.

An­other method of keep­ing the witches away are hag stones, which are large flint stones that have a nat­u­ral hole through the mid­dle. These seem quite com­mon to­day out­side ru­ral farms or cot­tages.

But surely the most bizarre is the witch’s bot­tles. It was be­lieved that if you filled a bot­tle with hu­man hair and urine and buried it close to your house, this would pro­tect your home.

If you think that this is all mumbo-jumbo, bear in mind that the last per­son to be im­pris­oned for witch­craft was He­len Dun­can. Ar­rested dur­ing a séance, she spent nine months in Hol­loway pri­son in 1944. I must leave it there as I have a cou­ple of Coke bot­tles to fill!Š

Above: Our an­ces­tors were fear­ful of witches

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