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Tunnel Tours were back by popular demand last week at Bucks County Museum.
The museum hosted this special event offering locals the chance to see what’s in the basement and hear about the amazing history of the building and the local area. The behind the scenes tour took visitors down into the basement and cellar of the building to view the historic features including a cellar and a short run of tunnels. The experience also included the chance to view some artefacts from the collection of Bucks County Museum, which relate to historic customs in every day life in the past.
One of the items shown was a shoe, which is actually an overshoe, known as a patten, it was found alongside the other shoe, nailed to the entrance to one of the basements. It’s an example of a ‘concealed shoe’ which was a common practice right up until the mid to late 19th century. They are generally found in entrances, attics, chimneys, doorways, etc and are supposed to protect these access points from evil spirits. A shoe is used as it takes on your shape and so represents you. The spirit or demon would be fooled into thinking it was you and then get trapped in the shoe. It is bad luck to remove these shoes!!! Hence why the museum left one of them nailed above the doorway in question.
Another artefact that was viewed was a Witch bottle - they found the witch bottle under the floorboards in the Georgian Room. It works in a very similar way to the concealed shoe - it protects access points from unwanted supernatural visitors. More often than not they contain human urine and pins. The urine, yet again is part of you so would attract the witch then she would get stuck in the bottle (witches can’t travel backwards!) and be killed by the pins.
Then of course every old building has a resident ghost, the museum is no exception with Eric - who was christened by museum staff, Eric is the ghost of the Anglo Saxon child, whose skeleton was found near the well in the basement of the museum during the 1990s renovations.
Over 100 tickets were sold for these very popular tours led by the excellent tour guide Emma Ward Greenway. The tours have been a sell out success and they hope to run them again in October, so keep an eye on their web site for more tickets being released around then!
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