HALIFAX, N.S. - In keeping with a centuries-old tradition, workmen completing an extensive renovation of the lieutenant-governor's residence in Halifax have placed several used shoes inside the unfinished walls of the 209-year-old Georgian mansion.

The odd practice dates back to the 18th century, when it was thought that placing used shoes in new structures would help ward off evil spirits.

Project manager Ron Jeppesen says workers have so far found at least eight women's shoes from the early 1800s inside the plaster walls, most of them placed near windows, doors and fireplaces.

Jeppesen says the strange finds prompted him to look to Google for an explanation.

That's where he found out about the tradition of so-called concealment shoes, a superstitious rite that was popular in Britain and in North America until the 1930s.

The lieutenant governor's residence, under renovation since 2006, is expected to be completed by October at a cost of $5.9 million.

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