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The Creepiest Finds

As Halloween approaches we turn our thoughts to some of the more creepy and bizarre finds that have been discovered at the National Archives.

An article in The National Student magazine records a number of items found by historians at the National Archives that don’t quite fit with the house’s normal collection. These include the prized will of William Shakespeare and military records – but other far more fascinating, eccentric and creepy finds have also been dug up…

Several years ago historians came across a Jack the Ripper postcard. The disturbing ‘Saucy Jack’ postcard was mailed to the Central News Agency in 1888 and is one of many Jack the Ripper documents in the archives. This one stands out from the others for its nasty use of smeared blood and its actual written content: The letter explains the murderer’s attack and killing of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes the previous night.

Nearly as disturbing was the discovery of the death mask of Dr John Yonge. Dr Yonge was the Master of the Rolls for King Henry VII and special ambassador to France for King Henry VIII. The National Archives is now home to a 19th century copy of the mask, which is a glazed model of his face made at the time of his death.

An even more bizarre discovery was that of a mummified rat. Henry Cole, the organiser of the Great Exhibition, began working at the Public Record office when he came across the rat. Cole was so horrified at the poor conditions of the office that he decided to keep a memento of the experience: the rat and, in particular, its stomach, which was full of chewed documents.

Another weird artefact also housed in the National Archives is a 100-year-old lemon. It was used as evidence in the 1915 WWI trial of German spy Carl Fredrick Muller, who was accused and convicted of sending invisible messages to Germany during the war.

The list of artefacts gets even more fascinating with the Archives’ fake Adolf Hitler passport. Hitler himself wasn’t the creator of the document – it was made by the Special Operations Executive during WWII to demonstrate different types of potential spy forgeries. The highly sarcastic comments within the passport, including “painter” listed as Hitler’s occupation and “little moustache” as a distinguishing feature.

One last fascinating artefact at the National Archives is a letter written by Titanic victim Richard Douglas Norman to his brother in Canada. The eerie thing about the letter is that it was written one day before the Titanic set sail from Southampton. What’s really weird is that Norman outlined in the letter how he wanted his estate divided after he died; it turned out to be a good decision – Norman died in the sinking and was buried in Nova Scotia. Thanks to his estate details, he was able to leave the equivalent of £650,000 to his half-sister and step-niece.

While Filofile is pretty confident that there is nothing spooky or strange amongst the many files and documents it looks after for its clients, the business is certain that our comprehensive document management services deliver a bespoke secure records storage and document management service to meet your needs so that you are not paying for a pre-packaged service that is inflexible and makes it difficult for you to manage. When you call us you talk directly to someone you know, who is familiar with your business, understands the complexities of safe secure document management and who takes a keen personal interest in getting the exact records you want, when you want them.

To see how we can help your organisation, contact us today.

Source: The National Student

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