jump to navigation
  • Buried Standing Up July 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Buried Standing Up

    In the rusty old filing cabinet that provides fodder for this blog there is somewhere a file on men being buried upright. However, Beach has failed to find said file for the last three years, so despairing he hands the problem over to his readers. Famous or not so famous people from history who decided […]

    The Monster of Leavenworth, Kansas July 21, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Monster of Leavenworth, Kansas

    ***Thanks to Roberto for this tale*** This is a nasty little story from nineteenth-century Kansas. We are in Leavenworth in that state and enter Mrs. Green, note a suspiciously generic name. Mrs. Green is a midwife, a profession that has had many ups and downs at the hands of doctors, feminists, journalists (nota bene), witch-hunters […]

    Did You Hear the One About the Ring… July 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Did You Hear the One About the Ring...

    Curious about ring legends? This blogger recently went through the international folklore indexes in search of rings so you don’t have to: you can waste a lot of time there… Yes, he found the boring old chestnuts: ring found in fish; ring cut from corpse etc. etc. But there are also some marvelously bizarre and […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Pawn Trick July 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Pawn Trick

    This is a lovely story from Paisley (Scotland), ‘about the truth of which there is no doubt’. The other morning there were, as usual, standing the Cross several journeymen dyers, one of whom had the reputation of being clever in his way in providing the needful when thirst is requiring to be quenched. They looked […]

    Buckinghamshire Fairies and Little Witches July 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Buckinghamshire Fairies and Little Witches

    Fairy legends are common in the Celtic fringes and the north of Britain. They are to be found in northern England and south central England: they also occasionally crop up in the English Midlands. However, they were as rare as gold dust in south-eastern England and East Anglia by the time that folklore records were […]

    Jane Fool July 8, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jane Fool

    In the famous image of Henry VIII’s family from 1545 there is a mysterious figure walking on the left in the background. The woman apparently has no hair (note the back and front of her head and compare with the princesses in the picture) and she seems rather lost, perhaps even confused. Different theories for […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Generosity Repaid July 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Generosity Repaid

    Beach goes to the motherland today with daughters and without dog or wife. Mixed feelings. Here is a familiar sounding story. Eugene Delacroix has persuaded the richest man in Europe, Baron James de Rothschild to pose as a beggar for a painting. Rothschild, a gentleman, agrees. Delacroix hung a tunic on his shoulders, placed a […]

    Story: Meeting the Devil July 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Story: Meeting the Devil

    Outstanding story about coming face to face with the devil in Paris. This first appeared in October 1888. The folklore motif that rounds the tale off is: G303.16.3.1. Happy reading… The chief persons named are a Russian Prince, Pomerantseff, and a French Abbé, Girod, who ridiculed the whole theory of apparitions. The conversation at a dinner […]

    Operation Resurrection: British Folklore July 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Operation Resurrection: British Folklore

    British folklorists badly screwed up their own discipline in the late nineteenth century. When they should have been collecting the rich crops from the home counties and the north and midlands they, instead, indulged in premature comparative work, looking overseas for answers to stupidly ambitious questions. The comparison with some of Britain’s smaller European neighbours […]

    Getting-to-Heaven Spell July 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Getting-to-Heaven Spell

    Location: This spell is only attested in the Countryman, a British magazine in 1949, for Cornwall. Bit suspicious of its authenticity, but then desperate circumstances… (Anon 1950, 155) Aim: To assure that a sinner of his or her deathbed will get through the pearly gates. Ingredients: A black rooster, a death bed, a dying man […]

    King’s Evil and a Two-Hundred-Year-Old Charm June 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    King's Evil and a Two-Hundred-Year-Old Charm

    The King’s Evil (aka scrofula) was a form of tuberculosis that created horrific injuries on the skin’s surface, particular in the neck area. It could only be cured, many early modern French and British sufferers believed, by contact with royalty: a sufferer would go to the king or queen, be touched, and cured. The practice […]

    Snowball Atrocities 7#: Ghostly Snowballs in Illinois June 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Snowball Atrocities 7#: Ghostly Snowballs in Illinois

    Beach was awfully fond of his snowball tag, and was disappointed when he simply ran out of good snowball stories. Imagine his joy then to run into some ghostly snowballs in Skinner’s Myths and Legends of Our Own Land. The year is apparently 1849 Forty-seven years ago, in the township of St.  Mary’s, Illinois, two […]

    The Lost Canyon and the Impossible Buffalo June 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Lost Canyon and the Impossible Buffalo

    This fine ‘lost valley’ story comes from Texas, but the tale of the shepherd who accidentally walks through into a hidden dell or stumbles up, while chasing a lamb, onto an unknown plateau is probably as old as our Neolithic ancestors. This particular version was collected by J. Frank Dobie at the end of the nineteenth century. West […]

    Victorian Urban Legend: The Mourning Trick June 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legend: The Mourning Trick

    This is a great story which appears with the heading, ‘Scotch Ghost Story’. We are in Glasgow. Beach has no doubt though that it is a Victorian urban legend. Let’s face it, the tale is so satisfying that if it ever actually happened it would have been abstracted and told to everyone who would listen. […]

    Mumps Spell June 20, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mumps Spell

    Location: Ireland (Wilde 1888, 199), late nineteenth century Aim: To cure the mumps Ingredients: a piece of rope, an alarm clock, nine black stones, a torch, a holy well. Method: (i) go out with your torch before dawn and find nine black stones (ii) once the sun is up tie the rope into a noose […]

    Page 1 of 9412345...102030...Last »