Shoe-perstitions
(Shoe Superstitions and Folklore)

Compiled by I. Marc Carlson
Last updated 22 February 2008

Although this may have nothing to do with shoes in the Middle Ages, it's something worth researching - particularly since there is an increasingly common modern assumption that shoe concealments are intended for a superstitious or ritual, so we should look at a wide variety of actual superstitious and ritual practices regarding shoes.  My personal position is that we don't know why these items were concealed in walls way back when, and it's sloppy to assume that they all were for ritual reasons (which is where this trend is currently heading).  Some may well have been, others likely were not.  Since the idea was first proposed by June Swann back in the 60s, the idea that they were ritual deposits has certainly influenced the reasons why people are currently depositing shoes, as well as the assumptions about the past.

You'll notice that some of these listed are contradictory, this is because different people had different backgrounds and traditions, and therefore different beliefs.  I am sure this listing is not exhaustive or complete, and it is being enlarged as I find more sources that discuss these things.  Please note that the compiler does not suggest that any of these are valid practices.  

Ultimately leading to an examination of "Shoe Concealments"

In the Highlands, a form of divination was practiced on Halloween whereby you take a shoe by the tip and throw it over your house.  The direction it points when it lands on the ground is the direction you are destined to travel.  If it lands sole up, that is very unlucky for you.  (Rev. J.G. Campbell, cited in Frazer, Sir James G.  The Golden Bough, 3d ed. v.10)
Shoe on a charm bracelet is for "fortuity" (Telesco, Patricia. Magick of Folk Wisdom)
 
 
 
 
It is said to be traditional in England to throw a shoe at someone when they are setting out on a journey, to wish them luck.  The shoe should be thrown in the direction of the journey (Telesco, Patricia. Magick of Folk Wisdom)
When a person leaves home on a journey, throw an old shoe after him so that he will have good luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
"And home again hitherwards quicke as a bee, now for good luck, cast an old shoe after me" (John Heywood, 1598, in Merrifield, 1988)
"And home again hitherward quick as a bee, Now for good luck, cast an old shoe at me;" (John Haywood, http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/osc/osc38.htm)

A Dialogue of the Effectual Proverbs in the English Tongue Concerning Marriage, By John Heywood 1906. (Chapter 9)

"Hurl after me a shoe, I'll be merry whatever I'll do," (Ben Johnson, http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/osc/osc38.htm)

A Masque of the metamorphosed Gipsies (aka The Gipsies Metamorphosed). The Works of Ben Johnson in nine volumes, by W. Gifford esq. 1816. v.7, p.385

"For this thou shalt from all things seek, Marrow of mirth and laughter, And wheresoe'er thou move, good luck, Shall throw her old shoe after." (Tennyson, http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/osc/osc38.htm)

Will Waterproof's Lyrical Monologue, in English Idyls and Other Poems by Tennyson - 1842

 
 
 
Drop an old shoe outside by the front door as you leave the house on a journey and then you will not have any bad luck on the trip. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
In England, old shoes are tied to a bridal carriage to bring luck.  In Transylvania it's to increase fertility (Hartland, Legend of Perseus)
Throwing the old shoe was not always confined to weddings, though the custom nowadays has come to be associated entirely with the going away of bridal couples (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/osc/osc38.htm)
Shoes behind the car at a wedding are for luck (Source unknown)
Shoes are tied to a bridal couple's car, and the bridesmaid who obtained the old shoe will be the next to marry (R.B. Rice, citing J. H . Thornton, Sussex Life, Dec 1970, in Merrifield, 1988)
In the Highlands, a bridegroom's left shoe should be without buckle or latchet "to prevent witches from depriving him, on the nuptual night, of the power of loosening the virgin zone".  (Pennant, "Tour of Scotland" Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels iii, 91, cited in Frazer, Sir James G.  The Golden Bough, 3d ed. v.3)
In the Isle of Skye, "the bridegrooms put all the powers of magic to defense, for he was married with both shoes tied with their latchet." (Pennant, "Second Tour of Scotland" Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels iii, 365, cited in Frazer, Sir James G.  The Golden Bough, 3d ed. v.3)
In Scotland the shoe tie of the grooms right foot is unloosed at the church door (Rogers, Ch., Social Life in Scotland, cited in Frazer, Sir James G.  The Golden Bough, 3d ed. v.3)
"In Anglo-Saxon marriages the bride's father delivered her shoe to the bridegroom, who touched her on the head with it in token of his authority." (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/osc/osc38.htm)
In Lancashire, if you want to conceive a child, try on the shoes of a woman who has just given birth  (R.B. Rice, citing J. H . Thornton, Sussex Life, Dec 1970, in Merrifield, 1988)
Undertakers refuse to bury people with their shoes on?  (Source unknown)
Cambridgeshire lightermen consider shoes taken from a dead man's feet to be especially lucky (Porter, 1969, in Merrifield, 1988)
An old shoe is a lucky object (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Old shoes should be worn on Friday the 13th for good luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Nothing new should be worn to a funeral, especially shoes (Hole, C. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions)
A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen. It can be reversed by reaching under the bed and turning over a shoe (Hole, C. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions)
If you leave shoes lying on their uppers, you will quarrel with someone during the course of the day (Bengal)
By wearing holes in the soles of your shoes you will become wealthy (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
"If you wear your shoes out on the toe/You will spend money as you go" (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If a woman walks without shoes during the six weeks following childbirth, then her child will take a dangerous fall when it is learning to walk (Grimm, J. Deutsche Mythologie 1835)
In Hessen, a woman will steal her beloved's shoes, and wear them for eight days to make him love her (Ploss, H. Das Weib in der Natur und Volkerkuende, 1895)
Never wear your shoes in the house, because it brings the devil in your house (Hawai'ian)
If you want to win at cards, you must put on the shoes you are gong to play in before you eat. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Never put on the shoes you are gong to wear to a party after you eat or you will lose every time  (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Look for bad luck, if you do not place your stockings inside your shoes at night. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Putting your stockings in your shoes before going to bed will cause you bad luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It causes misfortune to place your shoes higher than your head. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
New shoes that have never been worn should be put high above the floor for luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To place old shoes high off the floor is unlucky. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Set your removed shoes higher than your knees and you will be sick. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Tying your shoes together and hanging them on a nail will give you bad luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To hook first the top buttons of your shoes will bring you bad luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If you repeat "Hoping this night, my true love to see, I place my shoe in the form of a T" (place your shoes heel against instep and do no speak again that night.   You will marry the man you see in your dreams (Emrich, D. The Folklore of Love and Courtship, 1970).
Repeat at bedtime "Point your shoes toward the street, tie your garters around your feet, put your stockings under your head, and you'll dream of the one you're going to wed." (Emrich, D. The Folklore of Love and Courtship, 1970).
On your birthday, when you go to bed at night, take off your shoe or slipper.   Stand with your back to the door and throw the shoe over your head,  You must not look at it before morning. If the toe points to the door, you will be a bride before the end of the year  (Emrich, D. The Folklore of Love and Courtship, 1970).
To put on two shoes that are not mates is the sign of good luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If you pull on odd shoes and change them, you will meet with an accident. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To get rid of an unwanted guest, take some Move Quick Powder and sprinkle it around your floor and in the corners.  Then turn your left shoe upside down and put it under your bed.  (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
To get rid of an unwanted guest, take one of his or her shoes, place it in the middle of a busy road, and set it down.  Then calling out their name, declare that you want them to leave.  (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
Get a shoe from the oldest woman you can find.  Take it to your place of business and burn it to a crisp.  This will drive away bad business.  (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
To identify a murderer, you must first obtain a shoe worn by a baby of less than a year old (of the same gender as the murder victim's).  After the victim has been buried, dig down as deep as possible, as close to the heart as possible, without touching the coffin or the vault.   Take a handful of dirt at the bottom of the hole, and put it in the baby shoe.   At midnight burn the shoe and call upon the spirit of the victim to bring the murderer back.  Then carry the ashes back to the grave and bury them in another hole in the middle of the ground above the grave.  In a matter of days, the murderer will identify himself somehow.   (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
It causes bad luck to burn old shoes. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To have good luck, salt and pepper an old shoe and burn it. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Burn an old shoe for luck; Always burn your discarded shoes and you will have good luck (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Pull off the sole of an old shoe and burn it will cure fits and fever caused by conjure or hoodoo (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1496))
Burn an old shoe, breathing in the smoke will cure a toothache (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1497))
Burn an old shoe, breathing in the smoke will cause a toothache (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1498))
Burn an old shoe with sulphur and "asafitidy", then smoke the ash and what's left in a pipe to cure asthma (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1499))
Burn an old shoe to ashes, and put them in a bottle with water, then drink the water to cure backache (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1500))
Burn an old shoe, and a "bluestone" to ashes, and mix them with some gunpowder and fresh hog lard to make a salve for sores (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1501))
Burn an old shoe throughout the house to make evil spirits of folks who've died go away and stop troubling you (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1502))
Burn an old shoe with brimstone and sulfur in a bucket in all four corners of the house to make evil spirits of folks who've died go away and stop troubling you (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1503))
Pull off the sole of an old shoe and burn it to drive away people who mean you ill, as well as "witchcraft people" (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1504))
Burn your old shoes so no one can "jomo work" on you (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1505))
Burn your the middle sole of your old shoes to drive away your enemies (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1506))
Just burn the sole, never the whole shoe, with some brimstone/sulfur/bluestone, to drive away your enemies (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1507))
If you think that someone is casting spells on you, find thrown away shoes, a man's and a woman's, and with the woman's on top of the man's, you burn those with some sulfur and saltpeter, bluestone, gunpowder, and salt (the woman's shoe on top specifically to protect you if you are a woman, the man's shoe on top if you are a man)  (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1508))
Burn your old shoes with cayenne pepper in a fire where the person you want to go away can see the smoke, and seeing the  smoke they will go and never come back (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1509))
Burn all the old shoes from a family you want to protect; burn them to crumbling.  Mix these with cayenne pepper, a new package of salt, a new package of sulfur, and mix them all up.  Put them in a sifter and then right after sundown, you start from your backdoor sifting that powder all the way around the house (or your barn or whatever) coming back to the backdoor.  Name the names of the people (one or three) you don't want in the house.  Do this for nine consecutive days (in the morning just before sunrise, and after sunset for nine days).  You can also use river shore sand in the place of old shoes.  (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (1510))
The Romans believed that it was a bad omen to put a shoe on the wrong foot (Hazlitt, Faiths and Folklore, 1905)
If your shoes are placed on the wrong feet, you will have an accident with one of your feet. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Placing the left shoe on the right foot signifies a misfortune or foretells an accident (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is bad luck to put your left shoe on first.  (Randolph, Ozark Magic and Folklore)
Dressing the left foot first means a misfortune that day. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If you dress the left foot first, you will quarrel that day. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Put your right shoe on first or you would die early (Source unknown)
It indicates bad luck to step into your left shoe first (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is lucky to put your left shoe and stocking on first. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
The right shoe should be put on first to secure luck for the day. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Put on your right shoe and sock first, so you will have good luck through the day. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To acquire good luck for the day, put your right foot out of bed first and draw on your right sock. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To dress one foot completely before starting the other will bring you bad luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Put on the right garter and left shoe first and you will be fortunate. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is lucky to don the left garter and right shoe first. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is an indication of bad luck to to put the right shoe on first. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need); Place your left shoe on first for luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Put on your left stocking and left shoe first and neuralgia will leave and never return (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is bad luck if you step you left foot out of bed first in the morning.   (Randolph, Ozark Magic and Folklore)
If the groom buckles the bride's left shoe on their wedding day, she will take control of the marriage (Grimm, J. Deutsche Mythologie 1835)
The left shoe and right garter should be taken off first to procure good luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Removing the left shoe first is very unlucky. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
A piece of jacinth in your shoe will protect you from injury or sickness, and make people more hospitable to you. (Telesco, Patricia. Magick of Folk Wisdom)
The removal of a shoe marks the winding up of negotiations among the laws and ordinances given in the book of Deuteronomy (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/osc/osc38.htm)
People who daydream too much should put a piece of lead in their shoe. The weight will bring them back down to earth. (Telesco, Patricia. Magick of Folk Wisdom)
For luck, mix Dragon's Blood/Herb-Robert with powdered sugar, steel dust and incense. Put this in your shoe or pocket. (Hurston, Zora Neal)
You can be made lame by having something put in your shoe. (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
If you take two pieces of paper, write the names of six apostles each, fold them up and put them one in each shoe.  You will win your legal case.  (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
Or, if you do this, you have split the apostles, so that the Jury will be split.   (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
Put the names of the Apostles on a single leaf and put that in one shoe (Hohmann, J Long Lost Friend, 1820)
If you take a lock of hair from your intended beloved, fold it in a piece of cloth, folding it towards you, and put that in your shoe.  Your beloved will follow you anywhere. (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
The bride (or her father) should put a coin (Frequently a sixpence) in her shoe for good luck (Source unknown)
To dream of what your next boyfriend will look like, ake a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme. Sprinkle them three times with water and place each herb in a shoe. Put the shoes at the foot of your bed (Source unknown)
Cure rheumatism by keeping salt in  your shoes (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
For a rheumatism cure, keep a teaspoonful of sulfur in each shoe. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Rheumatism will be cured or prevented, if a penny is worn in each shoe (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Wear elder leaves in your shoes to ward off rheumatism (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
"Find a penny, put it in your shoe, you'll have good luck, the whole day through" (Source unknown)  My wife tells me that this depends on what side up the penny is facing.  Heads is good luck, tails is not (Source unknown)
Keep red pepper and salt in your shoes for luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Salt and pepper kept in your left shoe causes good luck. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Wear salt in the heel and toe of your right shoe to be lucky. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Wearing pepper in your shoes will keep your feet warm during cold weather. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Put sugar in your shoes to coax your shirt tail down. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
You can coax your trousers down by keeping sugar in your shoes. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Stick a hairpin into your shoe and you will meet a good friend. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Wear red pepper in your shoes to keep out of trouble. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If you place a four leaf clover in the heel of your left shoe, you will marry the first man you see (Emrich, D. The Folklore of Love and Courtship, 1970).
If you tuck a piece of fern or of southernwood in the toe of your shoe, you will marry the first boy you meet  (Emrich, D. The Folklore of Love and Courtship, 1970).
A shoe string coming untied shows that you are in the thoughts of a friend. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If your shoe string comes unlaced, someone is talking about you. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Something good is being said of you, if your right shoe string comes undone. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To have your left shoe string come loose means that evil is being spoken of you. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If you are walking and your shoe string comes unfastened, your father loves you better than your mother does. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
When walking, if your shoe string comes untied, you are loved more by your mother than by your father. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is unlucky for lovers to give each other a gift of shoes (berlin)
Don't buy your man a pair of shoes or he will walk out of your life forever (Source unknown)
If you give a pair of shoes to a friend, he will walk away from you. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Never accept a gift old old shoes, or you will walk in the former owner's troubles. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Never borrow a pair of shoes from anyone or your friendship with that person will soon be broken. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Never walk in one shoe, lest your parents, or one of them die ("Jews of Minsk" Jewish Encyclopedia)
As many steps as a child takes in one shoe, so many whippings will he receive (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Every step taken in one shoe is a step into trouble. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If you walk about with one shoe on and one off, you will have a year of misfortune for each step. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Never walk around with one shoe on and one shoe off or you will lose your mind. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To walk in one shoe will bring you as many bad days as steps taken. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
In Poona, India, if a man feels that he has been struck by an incantation, he at once takes a hold of an upturned shoe (North Indian Notes and Queries)
If one of your shoes turns up missing, you may want to seek out a "Practitioner" to have a hex removed. (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
If poisoned, take the sole of a victim's shoe, burn it to a crisp.  Powder that, then mix it with graveyard dirt.  Put that into water and make the victim drink it to rid the body of any poison. (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
If you are the victim of occult attack, wear your shoes on the wrong feet, and your clothes inside out. In fact, wearing your shoes on the wrong feet can be used as a general protection from evil magic. (Haskins, J. Voodoo & Hoodoo, 1978)
If new shoes creak, it's a sign you haven't paid for them yet (Great Britain, India); If your new shoes creak as you walk, it means that you still owe the shoemaker his bill. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is a sign of good luck to have old shoes squeak while you are walking in them. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
You may prevent shoes from squeaking by driving a peg into the center of each sole (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If shoes or boots are lying on the table, they must be put back on the floor before putting them on or they will bring bad luck (Strackerjan, L. Aberglaube und Sagen aus dem Herzogtum Oldenburg. 1867)
It is bad luck to put shoes on the table, even brand new, still in the box shoes (Randolph, Ozark Magic and Folklore)
The reason you never leave shoes on a table -- your soul will go to get the shoes and fall off the table to hell (Source unknown)
Do not place shoes upon a table, for this will bring bad luck for the day, cause trouble with your mate and you might even lose your job as a result (Source unknown)
Never put your shoes on the table or you will die by hanging (Source unknown)
Never put new shoes on a table, it would cause a family fight (Source unknown)
If you let your shoes or slippers rest on a table, you will quarrel with someone soon/before night (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Putting new shoes on a table is unlucky (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is an omen of bad luck to place your shoes on a table. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is fatal for one's success to lay shoes on a table. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
It is bad luck to place hat, shoes, or a gun (other than a pistol under your pillow) on a bed.  {Randolph, Ozark Magic and Folklore); Never put your shoes on the bed, that means a death in your family (Missouri); To lay your shoes on the bed means bad luck (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Never put new shoes under a bed and then go to sleep, it will cause nightmares (Source unknown); It is a bad sign to set your shoes under the bed. (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
If you stand your shoes under a bed and the toes point inward, you will have bad luck (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
To obtain good luck, let your shoes remain under the bed so that their toes point outward (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Rest your shoes on a chair and you will be unfortunate (Superstitions: 10,000 You Really Need)
Take the insole of her right shoe, and write "I don't want no man to take her away from me [her name] an give me no trouble about it" on the insole, and wrap it in a rag, wipe her and keep it where she won't find it.  (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (3260))
If you take a bit of lint cotton bedsheet after you've slept with a woman on it, and wad it up between your big toe and the next toe (either foot) in your shoe as long as it's there, she won't be able to have sex with another man  (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (3263))
If you take a bit of bedcloth that you've slept with a man on, wipe with it, and stick a scrap of that in the toe of your shoe, he won't leave you.  (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (3261))
If you take a bit of bedcloth that you've had sex with a man on (specifically when he's had an orgasm, but you haven't), wipe with it, and stick a scrap of that in the toe of your shoe, he won't be able to have sex with another woman.  (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (3262))
Take his handkerchief, a new one, and stick it in his left shoe all night long while you are having sex with him, then bury the handkerchief under the house in the morning and it will keep him coming home  (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork (3264))
A Charm Against Bad People:

"It is said that if you suspect a person for badness, and he sits down on a chair, and you take a shoemakers wax-end that has not been used, and stick one end of it on the underside of the chair, and you sit on the the end of it, he will immediately make water, and in a short time die."

(Hohmann, J Long Lost Friend, 1820)

Magically poisoned shoes

"... A pair of new shoes just come from the shoemaker causes such pain that the victim can not walk.  He continues to grow weaker and thinner and to suffer even after the shoes are removed and at last dies of the effect of the conjured shoes."

("Folk lore scrapbook", Journal of American Folk-Lore, vol. IX, no. 33)

 

Putting Shoes in Walls, Floors, Roofs or Rafters ???
Superstitions or rituals explicitly linked to placement of offerings in floors, walls, roof or rafters. In Germany, cutting six onions in half, hollow them out, filling them with salt, and sticking them in the attic, or the room closest to the sky is a means of predicting the weather.  If the salt in the onion stays dry, the weather will be dry. (Telesco, Patricia. Magick of Folk Wisdom)
  Medicina de Quadrupedibus, attr. Sextus Placitus (4th-6th Cent); translated into Anglo Saxon in 10th century:

Take [a dead badger's] liver, divide it and delve it down at the turnings round of thy land boundaries, and of thy borough wall foundations, and hide the heart at thy borough gates; then though and thine shall be released in health to go about and home to return all pestilence shall be driven away, and what was ere done shall naught scathe, and there shall be little mischief from fire

Translated by O. Cockayne (1864-6) in Merrifield, 1988

  To Ward off the Disaster of Fire:

"Take a black hen from the nest in the morning or the evening, cut off the head and lay it on the ground; take out the crop and that that with the head, taking nothing out of it; get a  a piece of the chemise of a maiden,  who is pure virgin, in which she has had her monthly courses, take the part she has sained, a patch the size of a plate; get an egg laid on Maundy Thursday, wrap the three together with wax, put it in a neat earthen pot and bury it under the threshold..."

(Hohmann, J Long Lost Friend, 1820)

  To Prevent Bad People from Injuring Cattle:

"Take worm-wood, black cumin, five finger, and asafoetida, each of 3 cents worth; take hog-bean straw, the scrapings behind the stable door and a a little salt; and make hem all into a little bundle and put it in a hole in the sill and plug it with ivory wood.   It helps sure."

(Hohmann, J Long Lost Friend, 1820)

 

"In some countries they nail a wolf's head to the door, to prevent and cure all mischiefs by charms and witchcraft"

(Scot, R. The Discovery of Witchcraft, 1665)

  If you hang up a large metal shoe buttoner above the front or main entrance of a house, no thief or robber can enter.

(Dieffenbach, V. "Powwowing among the Pennsylvania Germans" Pennsylvania Folklife 1968)

  If, at the dark of the moon, you nail a gall bladder from a black cow, the skull of a dog, and a bat's wing over the door of a stable, no witch or evil sprit can ever get in to do any harm to man or beast.

(Dieffenbach, V. "Powwowing among the Pennsylvania Germans" Pennsylvania Folklife 1968)

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Footwear of the Middle Ages - Shoe-perstitions, Copyright 2001,2003 I. Marc Carlson. 
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