is that a dead cat you are concealing in your pocket, or....?
February 29, 2004 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Deliberately concealed garments footwear and other items have been found tucked away in buildings, sometimes even wrapped around mummified cats. This project of the University of Southampton's Textile Conservation Centre is developing an online archive of the finds they have made in an effort to raise awareness of this folk custom.
posted by jessamyn (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Too freaky! Great links, jessamyn.
posted by shoepal at 8:33 PM on February 29, 2004

Very cool, jessamyn - this is what MetaFilter's all about! I'd never heard of this before.
posted by biscotti at 10:07 PM on February 29, 2004

wrapped around mummified cats

The first time I buried a pet with my own hands (cat killed by speeding car), I wrapped him in a paisely cloth wall hanging I had had since college. This discount scrap of fabric, which had hung in every bedroom I had lived in from age 19-22, was his shroud. It's very traditional burial magic - you give up something you care for, something intimate (often a garment) into the grave.
posted by crunchburger at 10:32 PM on February 29, 2004

[This is good.]
posted by rushmc at 11:05 PM on February 29, 2004

As colonial-era buildings all over New England are restored or excavated, shoe concealments and bottle concealments have been found to be very common. It's bound to have been a thing somewhere between ceremony and magic: in with the good karma, out with the bad.

Occasionally they find carpenters' tools, which I expect are there accidentally. Where's me bloody hammer got to, now? Anyway it's better than leaving a clamp inside the guy whose appendix you just took out.
posted by jfuller at 5:24 AM on March 1, 2004

This is really neat! My dad and I were once salvaging granite steps from the ruins of a c. 1720's farmhouse in southern Maine and found a shoe inside an earthenware crock under the first step. I've occasionally wondered about why it was there. Now I know (more or less).

I wish we'd kept it instead of saying "Yuck! Old shoe!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:26 AM on March 1, 2004

I have read that people would hide old children's shoes in homes' walls, etc as a good luck charm.
posted by terrapin at 6:50 AM on March 1, 2004

Lovely stuff in there, many thanks, jessamyn. (Takes me back to folklore research I once did in the Himalayas, including the protection of the entrances/exits to buildings.)
posted by carter at 7:27 AM on March 1, 2004

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