jump to navigation
  • Irish Horse Whispering in Co. Cork May 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Irish Horse Whispering in Co. Cork

    A lovely story from New Market in Co Cork in the wild west of Ireland and another episode from the series on horse charming. Not least interesting is the fact that this seems to be the origin of the modern phrase ‘horse whispering’. Among the curiosities of this district [New Market, 1810] may be properly included […]

    Immortal Meals #28: Bourbon at Surrender May 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortal Meals #28: Bourbon at Surrender

    Surrenders are never very easy moments but the meeting between William Tecumseh Sherman and Joseph E. Johnston at Bennett Place on 17 and 18 April 1865 as the American Civil War was winding down proved a generally civilized affair. Sherman, the Union commander, was a Democrat and had a natural sympathy for the south: despite […]

    Sleeping with the Devil May 23, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Sleeping with the Devil

    Beach has recently been looking at cases of men and women who accidentally, or deliberately, or accidentally-deliberatishly slept with demons. The following comes from a seventeenth-century account and it is interesting to see an idea that defined the Middle Ages surviving so powerfully into the early modern period: Beach wonders when the latest record would […]

    Irish Phoenix (1897)? May 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Irish Phoenix (1897)?

    Beach likes to think that he presents an interesting series of monsters to the international anomalist, folklore horror and ghost community. But he has one regret. In largely limiting himself to British and Irish newspapers the range of fauna is often fairly modest, certainly when compared to the marvelous stuff that appears in some American […]

    Vivid African Execution May 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern

      There follows a particularly vivid description of an African execution/sacrifice of a witch. The witness, Paul B. Du Chaillu (obit 1903) was describing his travels in West Africa in the 1850s: Du Chaillu has gone down in history as the first westerner to see gorillas (though there is Hanno…) Here he instead he learns […]

    Neither Ghosts, Nor Bogeys, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom: Postoffice Workers and the Paranormal May 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Neither Ghosts, Nor Bogeys, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom: Postoffice Workers and the Paranormal

    Beach came across this reference to postal messengers being delayed the inference being that this was because of a fear of Derbyshire bogeys: we are near the ivy-covered village of Longnor in the deep Peaks (UK 1874). For the guidance of our friends and neighbours we learn that our post-messenger will for the future be […]

    Early Modern Sentries and the Supernatural May 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Early Modern Sentries and the Supernatural

    Beach has previously examined the frequent paranormal experiences of sentries in the nineteenth century: with the help of Chris from Haunted Ohio Books. It has, long-time readers will remember, been suggested that lonely, potentially violent men asked to spend the night, attentive to every noise and movement, might easily conjure up ‘something’. Here are two […]

    Surrender, Secret Weapons and the Nazis May 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Surrender, Secret Weapons and the Nazis

    Anyone but a fool or a wishful (?) thinker would have understood that the Third Reich was doomed by early 1945. Yet, as we all know, the Nazi high command kept shooting. Tanks were sent west for the Battle of the Bulge and German soldiers frequently fought to the last man a week after Hitler […]

    Bizarre Regency Toasts May 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bizarre Regency Toasts

    Beach recently stumbled upon a small book of early nineteenth-century British toasts: literally hundreds of them, composed in a time where standing an offering a pithy sentence at drinking was a fundamental part of being a gentleman. Of course, toasts went out with the Second World War so it is difficult to compare them with […]

    Urban Legends: Saved by Thieves May 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Urban Legends: Saved by Thieves

    Another in our Victorian Urban Legends series. This looks like the ancestor (or more likely one of the many ancestors) of the modern Mafia Neighbours, story. You know the one, young married couple move into the neighbourhood, all their new furniture is stolen while they are on their honeymoon, but when they tell an elderly […]

    Plague Oak at Wrexham (and Fairies) May 12, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Plague Oak at Wrexham (and Fairies)

    There are a number of fairy oaks in Wales, as Chris from Haunted Ohio Books, previously illustrated. But this one, the fairy oak of Wrexham, is particularly interesting because of a curious legend associated with it. This article appeared in a book of Welsh poems in 1837. Apparently the fairy tree had grown on a […]

    Lee’s Luck May 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lee's Luck

    Robert E. Lee led the army of North Virginia, the central institution of the Confederacy, for just under three years (1862-1865). In that time he was able to rely on the most important military resource of all: not acumen, not courage, not atom bombs but sheer dumb luck. In Lee’s case the luck was deserved: there […]

    Burning Libraries: Lost Yorkshire Folk Collection May 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Burning Libraries: Lost Yorkshire Folk Collection

    Beach has frequently pointed to burning libraries, lost books or in this case lost sheaves of papers. First, let’s introduce the author ‘Ariel’ writing in the Blackburn Standard in 1892. ‘Ariel’ wrote a column for this publication from the late 1880s and then right through the 1890s apparently ending in 1900: normally termed ‘Passing Notes […]

    Review: Lost Book of Moses May 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Lost Book of Moses

    Chanan Tigay, The Lost Book of Moses (Harper-Collins, 2016) This blogger has a dilemma. There are three pages of a century-old book he wants about an obscure English county. The book is not present in any library in the world, but one copy exists in the hands of a bookseller who wants about two hundred […]

    Grow a Tree Trick and Poltergeist Wood Chips May 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Grow a Tree Trick and Poltergeist Wood Chips

    This was one that really whets the curiosity. We are brought back to London in the early seventeenth-century, whereas this is being remembered in the later 1600s. What the hell is going on here? Dr Lamb, who was killed by the Mob for a conjurer, about 1640,* met one Morning Sir Miles Sands and Mr […]

    Page 1 of 7612345...102030...Last »