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24 Oct: The spirit trap

A spirit trap or sprite flail was found in a Ketteringham house, left by previous occupants from the 18th century to trap evil spirits.

The ritual deposit of clothes and shoes close to the chimney stack in the house on Church Road is a classic example of apotropaic magic designed to bring luck and turn away evil.

These practices were common throughout Europe from the 16th to 19th century as people believed they would ward off spirits or trap demons and witches: they would normally be placed next to doors, windows and fireplaces.

It was once believed that witches were attracted to the scent of human shoes and if they ventured inside, the shoes would forever become their prison.


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