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  • Mermaid Monday: The Mermaid’s Tail in Argyll December 18, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Monday: The Mermaid's Tail in Argyll

    In early October 1811 two young Scots in Argyll claimed to see mermaids: one aged twenty-three, the other aged eight. That is interesting enough, but what is fascinating for the historian is how this news fed through into the wider world. In early November the two witnesses and the eight-year-old’s father were deposed, in other […]

    Frozen Love Returns at Chamonix December 17, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Frozen Love Returns at Chamonix

    This story is haunting and involves ice: so December fare. In 1844 young man left a village near Chamouny [Chamonix], on pilgrimage to the Convent St. Bernard, in consequence of a vow made before gaining the belle of the village. After leaving the convent, he went to several places and bought some linen, with the […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Missionary Tales December 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Missionary Tales

    This story appeared in Table Talk in 1870. Not having easy access it is taken here from the British press. Was it true or wasn’t it? When in India with my regiment, we were, at one time, quartered at a place where there was a missionary station. Some of the officers (as was frequently the […]

    Ghost Wreck and Murdered Monkeys December 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Ghost Wreck and Murdered Monkeys

    A busy day today, but ran cross this ‘charming’ sea tale about a ghost wreck: we’ll get to the monkeys shortly. There is a book to be filled with supernatural stories at sea: perhaps it already exists. This deserves, in any case, to be jammed respectfully into a footnote somewhere. The British sailing ship Glooscap, […]

    Mermaid Monday: Mermaid Baby Found December 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Monday: Mermaid Baby Found

    We are in Orkney 1898. The people of Staxigoe, a village about two miles from Wick, were much excited on Saturday when they discovered that a mermaid had been washed ashore. The head was wanting, but what remained left no doubt in the good folks’ minds that a genuine mermaid lay stretched before them. Body […]

    Lobasha, A Psychic Boy Detective December 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lobasha, A Psychic Boy Detective

    Had something stolen? A close friend has been murdered? Or has there been a kidnapping in the family? Help unfortunately is not at hand. The FBI are busy with the Patriot Act, the A Team are lost in the Los Angeles Underground and Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin is regrettably fictional. However, do not despair for […]

    Victorian Urban Legend: Lady Vanishes December 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legend: Lady Vanishes

    This is a well known urban legend, but what is of great interest here is the documented splash it made in the UK and particularly at English dinner parties. We are in 1913 so not really Victorian England, but surely the content justifies its inclusion in the series? The tale, at least this variant of […]

    The Rise of the Vegan Fairies December 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Rise of the Vegan Fairies

    On this site we have frequently examined how fairies have changed through the generations. For example, the way that fairy wings have gone from being a minority convention in art to being practically de rigueur for the fay; or the way that the size of fairies has changed. However, these are superficial baubles in the […]

    Mermaid Monday: A Mad Mermaid? December 4, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Monday: A Mad Mermaid?

    Nice mermaid story from 1886 (anon). A young man comes across a mermaid in Aberdeen harbour. Interestingly the experience ended in a police court. The latest ‘mermaid’ story is a local one. It evolved itself in the Aberdeen Police Court on Monday this wise: About seven o’clock Sunday a young son of the sea who […]

    Victorian Urban Legend: The Missing Clock December 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legend: The Missing Clock

    This story came out in the Pall Mall Gazette, in early January 1885. It has that sharp cordite smell of urban legend and is, truly, as the journalist says, ‘an amusing story’. Massive kudos to anyone who can send in other nineteenth or twentieth century examples: drbeachcombing AT gmail DOT com An amusing story reaches us […]

    New Book: Magical Folk December 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    New Book: Magical Folk

    Beach is happy to announce that just two days ago Gibson Square released Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies (a topic close to the heart of many readers of this blog). The book is choc full of fairy experts and includes three chapters on European emigrant fairies in the New World. The authors are: Magical […]

    Index Biography #48: Prize a book November 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Index Biography #48: Prize a book

    ***Invisible 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 […]

    Islam: a Warlike Religion? November 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Islam: a Warlike Religion?

    As part of Europe’s culture wars and as part of the continuing ‘War on Terror’ we in the west are constantly talking about Islam. Among these debates there is the question of Islam’s supposedly violent nature. Unlikely couplings of bearded prophet types and bespectacled intellectuals discuss lines from the Koran. There are even surreal exchanges where […]

    Mermaid Monday: Stoning Mermaids November 27, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Monday: Stoning Mermaids

    This brief account was published in the press in 1827 (Anon). Within these last two or three days there have been several mermaids seen on the rocks at Trenance, in the parish of Mawgan. I will state the particulars at length, as I have been enabled to collect them, and which are from undoubted authority, […]

    Ghosts and Photo Fakes November 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Ghosts and Photo Fakes

    Ghost photograph fakes always have a certain interest, not least because they are usually so clumsily done. However, these, which appeared in the Tatler, 9 Oct 1907, were a cut above. There follow screen captures of the five photographs. The editor has written in ‘The making of ghosts has ever been a favourite pastime of […]

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