Back in the early to mid 1800’s the British made a lot of iron beds that incorporated the use of round “mirror medallions”. Originally thought to have no more than a decorative purpose behind them, it was learned that merry old England was fraught with superstition and the belief in the occult. It is a popular historic belief that the small round mirrored medallions did double duty on their beds……..first they were a beautiful addition to the designs and they also blended very nicely with the accompanying brass trim…….which was generally used as the round frame to mount the brass to the head and foot board ? Why not wood or sea shells or any number of possible artist items? Because the mirrors held a secret meaning.
Most all of the round mirrors used had beautiful etching on them and were “convex” in shape. As you probably know, a convex mirror “distorts” the image of whoever looks into it.
Many people back in the Victorian Era believed in ghosts and goblins. Their biggest fear was that when a person would fall asleep, they were in jeopardy of being hurt or taken by the nocturnal ghost and goblins. There are historic autobiographies that actually mention people paying servants to stay awake and watch over their employer while they slept, so as to “scare off” any late night unwanted ghostly intruder. This was not a terribly practical thing to do for a couple of obvious reasons. First there was the privacy issue and secondly, there was a pretty good chance a servant wasn’t going to be able to stay awake all night and watch over their employer. Thus falling asleep and opening a window of time for the demons and goblins to do their work.
As you may or may not know………goblins and demons are not known for being attractive in nature. But are rather hideous.
It was thought that an bed with round convex mirrors on it would frighten off the demons, because they would see their own distorted grotesque appearance in the mirror. Thus a persons bed became a form of private security.
Because of the volatility of the mirrors, few of them have survived over 150 to 200 year period. But many of the beds that originally had them can still be found ……. just minus the mirrors.
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