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Highway 16A West
Yorkton, SK

 

Mystery in the Attic


Old shoes in an attic
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Old shoes were discovered in the attic. Why were they there? Why weren’t they discarded? Why throw them into the attic?

Years after the log house had been moved into the Museum, an article in BBC News Magazine (15 March 2012) led WDM staff to this comment from Australian historian Ian Evans. “This is all part of the ancient practice of defeating witches and evil by placing artefacts in those parts of buildings where harmful spirits might lurk.”

“Evans points out that shoes are the only piece of clothing that retain their human shape after being taken off. He says they act as a defiant, permanent, reminder to the spiritual world, of the primacy of human beings.”

Old shoes in the attic

Were the shoes in the attic deliberately placed there to ward off evil?

Isolated and alone. A world away from family and friends. Newcomers to Saskatchewan may have been fearful. “Fear, because the immigrants were terrified of losing their children to illness, which many associated with evil spirits. ...Trusting their own tried and tested rituals made comforting sense.”

Did Metro and Elena Penteluk protect their young family by secreting shoes in the attic, a consoling and familiar custom from their homeland? WDM staff mused that the old shoes long-hidden in the attic of the small log house in Saskatchewan might reflect how the Penteluks sought solace in a tradition brought with them from Bukovina.