Yes, you read that right. There may be something hiding in the walls of your home. You might think we’re joking, but at Vintage Cash Cow we take our historical research very seriously to find strange things.
A few weeks back, our blog team uncovered this little gem of information. Of course, like the good team they are, they went running straight to our vintage expert Antony.
Antony is an historical oracle so he already knew... Our poor team deflated faster than a kid who got coal for Christmas. So we decided to let them tell their story on the blog…
It's likely, if you live in an old home, that you'll find some old bloomers, stockings or bodices should you ever decide to renovate strange things.
In fact, it’s so common to find ancient underwear in walls, that it doesn't get reported as news anymore.
So What Gives?
We’d never heard of this phenomenon, so we did some digging to find out more. That’s when we found the Deliberately Concealed Garments Project.
The project encourages people to share information about any concealed garments they find. The aim is to learn more about this bizarre practice and the superstitions around it.
On the project website, you can read all about different caches found in Europe.
It seems the evidence for hiding sock drawer treasures (and other articles of clothing) in a wall, dates back to Medieval times!
Why? Why Would You Hide Underwear in a Wall?
The practice is most common in Western Europe. Most scholars tend to tie the practice in with superstitions of the time.
Often garments are found with witch bottles and other charms. They act as protection for the inhabitants of the household. Among the most popular hiding places are in walls, under floorboards, chimneys, and doorways. It’s thought those were the weakest points of a house, through which evil spirits could enter.
According to St Fagan’s Museum in Wales, shoes are also a common find.
In the 17th century, it was normal to hide ‘witch bottles’ in the home as protection against witchcraft. So it would make sense if the concealed garments were part of that.
Fact or Fiction?
Some scholars are keen to point out that we shouldn’t always jump to such esoteric explanations:
“Concealed garments, for example, are often presented as material evidence of magical practices, but in some cases, it is clear that accidental loss is as likely an explanation as ritual deposition.”
The Materiality of Magic: An artifactual investigation into ritual practices and popular beliefs. Natalie Armitage. Oxbow Books, 2015
The most mysterious thing about concealed garments is how little we know about them.
Personally, we think that we’re looking at a very early form of practical joke! Fact or Fiction? Which do you think it is? Let us know in the comments.
Want more interesting strange things like this? Check this out:
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