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  • Exploding Pipes March 20, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Exploding Pipes

    Bored, got nothing to do? Here’s a thought. Why not blind a friend for a lark? There are a couple score newspaper stories from 1850-1950 of workmen, companions and complete strangers giving victims pipes that have been doctored with gunpowder. Typically the smoker puts a match to the shag of tobacco, takes a deep breath and […]

    The Eternal Mystic March 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Eternal Mystic

    Beach is eternally worried about mystics, people who have or believe that they have paranormal powers. Where do they come from? What do they mean? Most studies of ‘mystics’ put them in a historical tradition. The Cunning Man in the English or, for that matter, New England countryside in the 1700s draws on Christianity, Anglo-Saxon […]

    Edith Turner Meets the Blob March 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Edith Turner Meets the Blob

    Edith Turner (deceased 2016) was a well-known British anthropologist. She is honoured here as a rogue researcher* for an experience in 1985 among the Ndembu in Central Africa. She was particularly interested in spirit healing and was allowed, at the very end of November of that year, to attend a healing ceremony where Meru, an […]

    Bloody Sunday and an Eyelid March 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Bloody Sunday and an Eyelid

    Bloody Sunday was an atrocity (simply no other word) that took place in Derry, Northern Ireland, 30 Jan 1972. On that day British paratroopers opened fire on groups of protestors and killed, over several minutes, fourteen men. Who was to blame, the individual British soldiers, their officers, the politicians who had tried to put down […]

    Index Biography #39: Prize a book February 28, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern

    ***David B gets it, scroll down for answer**** The Index Biography is a quiz pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The creator must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the individual’s life. We offered up previously […]

    Decades and Apostrophes: 1880s or 1880’s? January 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Decades and Apostrophes: 1880s or 1880's?

    Readers of this blog will now have to excuse Beach for possibly the single most boring post in strangehistory history, but the following has been rankling inside for some time. 1880s or 1880’s? This might seem unimportant, but if you spend several hours a day reading books about the past it starts to matter. How should […]

    Best Irish Fairy Books: The Twentieth Century January 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Best Irish Fairy Books: The Twentieth Century

    Yesterday we offered the best nineteenth-century writing on Irish fairies. Today the best of the twentieth century: 1911: In this year W. Y. Evans-Wentz changed fairy writing for ever by publishing his brilliantly bizarre The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. Evans-Wentz offered a collection of fairylore for all the Celtic nations (Cornwall, Man, Scotland, Brittany, […]

    Invisible Library: Sherlock Holmes’ Publications January 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Invisible Library: Sherlock Holmes' Publications

    Beach once before ran a post on missing Sherlock Holmes stories in the Invisible Libraries series: books that do not exist save in the imagination. However, he missed a trick. There are not just missing Sherlock Holmes stories there are also missing Sherlock Holmes publications. On several occasions in the canon Sherlock refers, en passant, […]

    Spoilt Royal Brats: Alexei Romanov January 7, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Spoilt Royal Brats: Alexei Romanov

    Royal parents have a unique problem. They have to bring up their children like anyone else (or, ok, pay others to do so), but they also have to convince their children that they are God’s anointed. Infants painfully learn that the world does not revolve around them: yet, in the case of royal children, particularly heirs […]

    Fairy Armies: A Medical Explanation? January 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Fairy Armies: A Medical Explanation?

    We have literally hundreds of British and Irish fairy sightings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and it is striking how often fairies are seen in battle garb: the fairy armies. Yes, there are important folklore traditions about fairies fighting each other: the hosts of Ulster against the host of Connaught, the host of Ireland […]

    In Defence of Fakelore January 4, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    In Defence of Fakelore

    ***dedicated to RJ*** Fakelore – fake folklore – is a term which we owe to Richard Dorson, who first employed the word in print in 1950. Beach recently followed suit in an article and was surprised at the howl of rage from several readers. It seems that fakelore is off-limits in decent society: whoops! Here is Francisco […]

    Digital Manuscript Losses December 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Digital Manuscript Losses

    Beach has recently been dealing with the horrors of losing manuscripts in times before personal computers and photocopiers. But why exempt the contemporary world? Why ignore the potential of broken hard discs and failed backups and lost pen drives to ruin lives? Example. Several years ago Beach found himself associated with a family whose matriarch […]

    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect? December 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect?

    Another fairy wings question thinking of the last two posts on the origins of fairy wings and on the production of fairy wings: what do fairy wings look like? Here Beach is going to start wide by looking at all winged flying supernatural creatures including angels, Cupid, putti (curse them), cherubs (curse them), Psyche and […]

    Ann Atkin and the Gnomes December 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Ann Atkin and the Gnomes

    Aged 7 or 8 Beach had a life changing experience in the garden of a Mrs Ann Atkin’s in south-western England. He stumbled on this article today and wanted to publish it for the historical record, but also out of, well, gratitude. Briefly he was a member of the Gnome Club of Great Britain. Somewhere […]

    A Missing Folklore Book: Marie Campbell December 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A Missing Folklore Book: Marie Campbell

    Recently Chris, from Haunted Ohio Books, wrote a fascinating post on a missing folklore manuscript. Chris reached out to see whether anyone could find this precious document, a series of fairy legends from the Appalachian Mountains collected by Marie Campbell (1907-1980).* The legends were referred to in 1976 by Katharine Briggs in her Dictionary of […]

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