Cauldrons to coffins: creepy curios in our collection
Many of the historic houses that we look after have their fair share of dark and grisly tales and some are even said to play host to a ghost or two. Although we cannot guarantee you a ghostly encounter when you visit, we have plenty of eerie and macabre objects in our collection to send shivers down your spine. Here are just a few.
" Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble."
Witch marks at our places
What are witch marks?
Witch marks can be found at many of the houses we look after and come in many forms. They were thought to guard against evil spirits and witches’ spells. Could this one, at Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire, have been made by Isaac Newton?
Where are they found?
Witch marks are usually found near the opening of buildings – fire places, windows, doors or the roof. These were thought of as high-risk areas for evil spirits getting in. This one was found in the basement at Clandon Park, Surrey.
Daisy wheels, such as this one at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire, are common. It was thought that demons were easily tricked and if they saw a line they'd follow it to the end. The endless line of a daisy wheel would trap them.
Deliberate burn marks are often found on beams. One theory is they were thought to protect the building against fire. This one at Brockhampton, Herefordshire, is a double V for Virgo Virginum, Latin for Virgin Mary.
A rare protection sign called an Auseklis Cross (which looks a bit like a star) can be found on the Stable Block at Belton, Lincolnshire. The symbol is more commonly found in eastern Europe.
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was also a keen amateur photographer and liked to experiment with different photographic techniques to create a range of artistic images.
This photograph, with two ghostly figures of himself, was created using a double exposure.
The technique had been used before, by unscrupulous early photographers who tried to claim that they had photographed ghosts.
Listen to the National Trust Podcast: Halloween special
In episode 67 of the National Trust Podcast, curator James Grasby visits 500-year old Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire, to find out how the Tudors protected their homes against evil. James meets house staff who reveal strange relics of our past.