Deals From The DarksideEpisodes

Cruel Shoes
Season 1 - Episode 9
Cruel Shoes

The big find this week is a pair of torture shoes - also called cruel shoes. These iron booties fit on the accused feet and forced them to stand on tiptoe. If they didn't, razor-sharp spikes would jab into their heels. Steve buys them for $3,000, and, after hearing from arms and armor specialist Paul Ambrose, learns that they are worth possibly double that amount.

And it's more excitement when Bob Kotsopoulos, a handcuff collector, swings by with some cuffs from the German police of the WWII era. The cuffs he has would've been used by the Gestapo, and are accompanied by a set of ankle shackles from the same era and locale. Bob says the cuffs are thought to be from Fort Montluc, a German stronghold in occupied France, run by Klaus Barbie, also known as the Butcher of Lyon. Although Stef can't link the cuffs to Barbie, she does find a photo of German officers examining a pair of cuffs identical to the ones they hold.

Steve brings the cuffs to an expert on German military items who says that his first thought is that they have the exact design of the August Schwartz cuff, used often by the Gestapo, but they don't have the usual imprint. A telltale sign that they're authentic is that they weigh roughly 400 grams, so in this case, the lack of the stamp makes them even more valuable.

When she's not hunting down history on dark artifacts, Stef leads ghost walks in Niagara Falls. After one of her tours, a woman approaches and says that she thinks her house should be on the tour, as well. Stef says she'll talk to her friend, Suzy, about cleansing the house, and a few days later, Suzy comes by to rid the house of negative energy. She finds a clock that radiates negativity, and in the clock, a coin. Both items are smudged with sage, and the house is cleansed.

Steve has a final stop to make in his research tour: Robb Martin, the blacksmith. Robb looks at the cruel shoes and confirms that the techniques displayed are consistent with those used in 16th and 17th Centuries, and it is a final point of satisfaction that Steve's new, beloved possession is as authentic as it is beautiful (to Steve). Stef called Robb earlier to see if he could make a mock-up, and Robb produces wooden clog-like blocks with screws in the heels. Even though they're mock-ups, they hurt! Lesson learned: when Steve tells you to try something on, don't do it.

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