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  • Scooby Doo Crime 4#: The Skeleton Robber October 17, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Scooby Doo Crime 4#:  The Skeleton Robber

    This is a story about the countryside around Portsmouth in the UK in 1825. It belongs to our Scooby Doo series of crimes: i.e. local hoodlums using the supernatural while carrying out illegal activities. A curious attempt at robbery took place a short time since, near this town. A Gentleman, returning home after spending the […]

    Georgian Magic School October 13, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Georgian Magic School

    The Magus by Francis Barrett (London 1801) is a typical work of modern magic: plagiarized from earlier works with badly drawn Hebrew letters strewn about like rice at a wedding. But the author Francis had one novel feature in his book. His announcement of, Beach can barely hold back his excitement, a magic school in […]

    The Snake Tree October 11, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Snake Tree

    Beach was innocently looking for stories about human bodies in trees. This one has no human body, but it seemed too good to waste. A correspondent of the Horticultural Times contributes the following account of the so-called snake tree, which is said to exert such a terrifying influence upon the natives of the Mexican Wilds. […]

    Wolstanton, Ghost Assault and Real Battery October 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Wolstanton, Ghost Assault and Real Battery

    A nice folklore/ghostlore story from the English Midlands. The peaceable village of Wolstanton, near Newcastle [Lyme], vulgarly called ‘Hoositon,’ has, the last four or five weeks, been disturbed by a very ill-behaved ghost, which, (it is confidently said), has been knocking, scratching, &,c. at a most tremendous rate; and not driven away in the mean […]

    Bosom Serpent Curses October 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bosom Serpent Curses

    We have looked here before on several occasions at the bosom serpent, the notion that certain animals and particularly reptiles and amphibians could dwell in the stomach or elsewhere in the human body after entering through the nose, mouth or in some rarefied cases the vagina. Usually you get bosom-serpented because you have it coming […]

    Ghost Pills! October 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Ghost Pills!

    How do you get rid of supernatural worries: call the priest, the alienist or the local bobby? Why no, you buy a tube of nineteenth-century vitamin pill, of course! This at least was the solution offered by one Irish newspaper in 1840. The belief in supernatural appearances has generally prevailed during the superstitious ages has […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Bodies in Trees October 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Bodies in Trees

    Kay Massingill has recently offered to readers of Forteana Exchange a series of body in tree stories. The earliest seems to be this one from 1873 and they carry on into the 1920s. The tale typically has it that someone, perhaps escaping from danger, climbs into a tree, then cannot get out. That brings us to […]

    Index Biography #22: Prize a book September 30, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Index Biography #22: Prize a book

    ***Tacitus wins*** The Index Biography is a new form of biography 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 here Sheridan le Fanu […]

    Foreign Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Foreign Swindles in the Nineteenth Century

    More in our swindlers series. Bread Trick: X in Russia goes to a jewelers and gets 4000  roubles worth of goods. He can only pay 500 but asks the owner (the victim) to come to the bank for the rest. At the bank he reminds the banker that they had spoken before and says ‘can […]

    Fried Mice and Urine Mouth Rinses: Traditional Toothache Cures September 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fried Mice and Urine Mouth Rinses: Traditional Toothache Cures

    Beach has been living toothache hell for the last two weeks. A wisdom tooth had to be extracted and that was just fine: a bit of anesthetic and POW. But then the jawbone became infected and said bone had to be scraped with little in the way of laughing gas. Painkiller, antiobiotics were rushed in […]

    French and Parisian Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    French and Parisian Swindles in the Nineteenth Century

    More in our swindlers series. Eye Expert: the greatest French eye expert is Dr Sichel. To his horror Dr Sichel discovers that there are not one but two other Dr Sichels pretending to be him in the provinces. West Dail Press, 29 Apri, 1876, 7. Horse Trick: X sold old nag who says that he […]

    Fat Virgin Mary in the Lost Provinces September 26, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fat Virgin Mary in the Lost Provinces

    In 1871 Prussia (on its way to becoming Germany) seized by force and then won by negotiation Alsace and Lorraine, an act that secured their Rhine territories and that arguably led to two world wars: the lost provinces would cost millions of lives. ‘What flag flies over Strasburg?’ asks a nineteenth-century politician returned from the […]

    British Provincial Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    British Provincial Swindles in the Nineteenth Century

    More in our swindlers series. Bee Trick: X carries bees around in a matchbox and releases them onto young wealthy women. The bee attaches to the dress that X pats down, then Y picks their pockets while they are distracted. Sus Adv, 2 Sept 1851, 8. Betting Man: X goes to working class houses announcing […]

    Human Pixy-Leading in Suffolk September 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Human Pixy-Leading in Suffolk

    As noted before in this place Suffolk, where this story took place, is part of East Anglia in which witch traditions were particularly strong. In fact, so strong were these witching traditions that sometimes they blotted out other parallel traditions. Fairylore, for example, are difficult to dig up in this part of England. Take this lovely […]

    US Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    US Swindles in the Nineteenth Century

    More in our nineteenth-century swindlers series. Confess: X writes to hundreds of bank clerks across the country saying that he was in receipt of tens of thousands of dollars left by a banker to help bank clerks who had embezzled money. Many bank clerks replied admitting that they had done so at which point X blackmailed […]

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