Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shoes in the Wall

"One of the more unusual customs I’ve run across is the placing of worn shoes in the walls of buildings when they are constructed.... The Romans likely brought the custom to Britain....

"In Britain, worn shoes have been discovered walled up over windows, doors, or in chimneys, but also in staircases and under floorboards....

"Shoes are a symbol of good luck.... To put them near windows and doors indicates they were meant to prevent evil from coming inside.
"The notion of shoes as protectors dates to the 14th century when John Schorn, rector of North Marston, Buckinghamshire is purported to have cast the devil into a boot."

Several times cousin Blanche has told me about remodeling that was done to an island home many years ago. They were removing plaster from the old Job Wahab home (located where Sam Jones' "homeplace" is today -- on Silver Lake Drive, on the western shore of Silver Lake harbor) when they discovered a pair of child's leather boots inside the wall.

This is just one more indication of the influence of British folklore on Ocracoke Island. 

Our current Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of Infant & Childhood Mortality on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Well, that explains the footsteps I've been hearing in the middle of the night.

  2. Anonymous12:40 PM

    this has nothing to do with shoes. but i thought that i might get a responce from smoe of you many informed readers.
    what is this that i hear about the funding being stopped for nccat and the old coastguard station, on property still owned by the federal gov't, possibly being considered by a state and national group to build a first class museum on nc coastal history including it's wwii history? i only seem to find snippets here and there with no solid information. the proberty could never be turned over to private hands because of it's federal connection so what gives? has anyone heard anything about this? is there a state or local interest group for this? it sounds like a good idea since the nccat this is dead for now. anyone have any info on this? thanks

    1. According to "The N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching has been granted at least a one-year reprieve from the budgetary chopping block."