Why are medieval doors haunted by a beeping ghost?

Written by Staff Writer

(CNN) — Despite over 2,000 years of history, it seems that we humans have a very short memory about medieval doors.

Never has a design flaw in the classic medieval door been so high on the list of concerns. This is because they are potentially the first global symbol of modern technology — even more powerful than today’s smartphones.

Historians believe that there are thousands of medieval door variations but for some reason only a few have been inventoried — and have suddenly become serious artifacts of science, politics and culture.

The newly discovered origin of the illusion, since suggested to have been put into place as early as the 10th century, is perplexing scientists and historians.

The nocturnal lock

The wavy current theory is that a trapdoor, which has all the features of a real door, has changed the shape of the medieval locks.

Experts say that when a door swung open, it would have seemed like the door was doubling in length, thereby creating the illusion of a hanging door. The nocturnal lock is believed to be a way of fooling door-closing locks with the illusion of a span of two doors hanging open.

The changes to the door appearance would have made it impossible for the main doors to shut properly, because if the door swung open at night, it would leave the main door open all night — and this is the dream scenario that one senses from that night’s video footage.

This may just be a fable, because the drawing of a trapdoor layout was made in the 13th century. Perhaps a more plausible explanation is that the clue to an unusual door is that the door is seen to pivot in a curved direction to form the shape of a door at night. The Frenchman Bernard Bourganin, known as the Gates of Hellenistic Greece creator, has perhaps made the most important finding. For some time he has argued that the mysterious door in which the master block the frame is situated as if it were a sitting block — further adding to the conspiracy theories.

So how can we escape the trapdoor curse and do our bit to pass the torch to a future 20th century door?

A new set of doors

A few months ago, science blogger Kevin Lewis asked the burning question, “How can people change the shape of doors to avoid the unanticipated trapdoor”? We will explore one possible answer in more detail in the next episode of his “How I Built This” series, to be shown on CNN.

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