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  • The Subscription List Swindle November 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Subscription List Swindle

    This particular swindle should have gone in the post on British provincial swindles, but Beach loves it so much that he kept it apart to do honour to its creator, Mr Hartley, somewhere still picking oakum in purgatory. First, though a little background on the subscription system. If, in the nineteenth century, a striving author wanted […]

    Wesley Ghost #9: Fairy, Witch or Demon? November 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Wesley Ghost #9: Fairy, Witch or Demon?

    In previous posts Jeffrey has been explained by this blogger as a product of life in a strictly regulated religious setting, where adolescent girls were yoked to Samuel Wesley’s strict high Anglican ideals. There is a very good chance that this is the key to understanding the poltergeist events and that some sort of poltergeist […]

    Mine Disaster Premonitions at Morfa November 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mine Disaster Premonitions at Morfa

    10 March 1890 one of the worst mining accidents in British history* took place in Morfa in South Wales. 87 miners were killed. A gas explosion had been set off, probably by an unfastened lamp. Interestingly the local community had had forebodings before the explosion. This article came out almost two months later in the […]

    Review: A Trojan Feast November 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: A Trojan Feast

    Now here’s an easy question on mythology. Tomorrow at noon you will be taken off to the infernal regions by an underworld spirit. You have twenty four hours to prep from the seventy or eighty volumes of mythology on your shelves. What one lesson do you bring away from your reading before you are taken below? It’s […]

    The Wesley Ghost #8: Jeffrey Unmasked November 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #8: Jeffrey Unmasked

    The best candidate for the haunting though has to be Emilia Wesley (aka Emily). What does this attribution rely upon? Well, let’s start with some minor suggestive points. First, she was fourteen at the time of the haunting, a classic poltergeist age. Second, in one of the letters Emily claimed that she gave the polt the […]

    The Wesley Ghost #7: Psychology of the Haunting November 17, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #7: Psychology of the Haunting

    There is a long history of trying to explain poltergeist events with reference to fakery of household members; or extreme angst within the family circle. The first is absolutely credible, given the vagaries of human nature, but difficult to deploy as an explanation when the experiences were so bizarre and so, well, ‘total’ as in the […]

    The Wesley Ghost #6: Feeling the Ghost November 15, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #6: Feeling the Ghost

    Physical manifestations are, after noises, the most common features of poltergeist hauntings. In this sense Jeffrey did not disappoint, but given the sheer richness of the sounds that the family heard: and the three creepy sightings of Jeffrey, the albino mongoose from hell, the casual reader might have expected that the family would have been […]

    The Wesley Ghost #5: Seeing the Ghost November 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #5: Seeing the Ghost

    Unusually for a poltergeist case – or is this actually a wider phenomenon? Drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com – Jeffrey was not just heard and felt. He was also seen. There were three occasions. I) On the first Susanna Wesley (mother not Suky) saw a ‘headless badger’ (!) under her daughter’s bed after a fit […]

    Urban Legend: The Hunger Trick November 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Urban Legend: The Hunger Trick

    Here is one for a busy day. Not sure if this is anecdote or factual event, but it is written in an amusing fashion, in that dry understated way that some British writers had in the later nineteenth century. Beach would put it down provisionally as an urban legend: he imagines the room exploding with laughter […]

    The Wesley Ghost #4: Hearing the Ghost November 9, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #4: Hearing the Ghost

    The main feature of the Wesley haunting were the noises that the family heard. For the most part these were banal ghost knocks but there were lots of other more exotic sounds. The following could almost stand as a prose poem: the gobbling of a turkey, (142); dancing in a closed room (142); ‘tingling’ of […]

    The Wesley Ghost #3: Time November 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #3: Time

    An important preliminary to the haunting is to sketch out the period of Jeffrey’s activity. Most reference works (and this blog) refer rather carelessly to December 1716-January 1717. But a careful reading of the Wesley files shows that actually the haunting was rather more drawn out than that. First, in a very important passage we […]

    The Wesley Ghost #2: Dramatis Personae November 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #2: Dramatis Personae

    Samuel Wesley was an Anglican churchman who had been given in the late seventeenth century, through royal favour, a living at Epworth in Lincolnshire. He was married to Susanna with whom he had nineteen children: including perhaps the two most important figures in early Methodism, Charles and John Wesley. At the time of the haunting […]

    The Wesley Ghost #1: Introduction November 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Wesley Ghost #1: Introduction

    ‘The Wesley ghost’ is one of the best attested instances of a poltergeist haunting prior to the twentieth century. There were apparently twelve people living in the Parsonage House (pictured), Epworth (Lincolnshire) at the time of the disturbances, disturbances that centred on the period December 1716 to January 1717: three servants, the Wesley parents and […]

    Blood and Judges: Murder Will Out November 3, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Blood and Judges: Murder Will Out

    There is the old folk belief that blood calls out for justice. If Beach murders his father-in-law (random example) and then successfully provides an alibi he will soon be undone. The local magistrates will call Beach forward and demand that he lay his hand on dead dad and then poor, much provoked Beach will be […]

    Index Biography #23: Prize a book October 31, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Index Biography #23: Prize a book

    ***James wins it, scroll down for answer*** 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 […]

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