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  • Dreaming Murder in Parliament #3: The Earliest Account October 11, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #3: The Earliest Account

    This appeared in The Times 16 Aug 1828 ‘Remarkable Coincidences’. We have been able to find no earlier trace of the alleged dream of the murder of 1812. It is clearly valuable for its age  and seems to depend on the special knowledge of Mr Williams. However, serious discrepancies with the later account (next post) […]

    Paranormal Smells October 10, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Modern
    Paranormal Smells

    Maybe it was the recent review of Thomas’ essay on farts but Beach has been obsessed with smells and paranormal experiences: perhaps in part because some neurological malfunctioning can lead to strong and unexpected smells; there is a pungent field for research there. Long, long ago we looked at a fairy bad smell story and since […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #2: The Event October 9, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #2: The Event

    Any study of the psychic dream that supposedly/allegedly accompanied the death of Spencer Percival in 1812 needs some background: most studies get straight to the dream and skip over the whos and whats of the assassination, which have some intriguing aspects in themselves. Spencer Perceval (1762-1812) was a Tory statesman who had served as Chancellor […]

    Bread and Drowning October 8, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bread and Drowning

    People drown, almost by definition, in large bodies of water: very few people end their lives in baths or ponds or puddles. This means that there is the problem of how to find any missing bodies. Our ancestor pragmatically used magic to find these lost bodies and it is interesting just how late the magic […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #1: Arthur Speaks October 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #1: Arthur Speaks

    This case is a psychic classic that Beach has long wanted to look into. He thought he would begin with a well-written but uncritical account to show just how excited people can get. Cue Arthur Conan Doyle who claimed that this was ‘clear proof of psychic action… though there is some slight confusion about the […]

    Funeral Fights October 5, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Funeral Fights

    ***A dear old friend of this blog, Chris from Haunted Ohio Books has just brought out her latest haunting book: the Ghost Wore Black, if it is anywhere near as good as her last offering expect a review here in the proximate future. To celebrate this funforal (Joycean word?) tale is dedicated to Chris and […]

    Last State Persecuted Witch in Europe October 2, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Last State Persecuted Witch in Europe

    We are in 1862 and a letter arrives in the UK from Hungary and Reka. A few days since a farmer, residing in the commune of Bazas, denounced his daughter-in-law as a witch, and said it was she who had for a long time prevented rain from falling. He moreover affirmed that for several months […]

    Jumping the Broomstick September 30, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jumping the Broomstick

    Here’s an account from the marches of Yorkshire and Lancashire. It involves a very unusual folk wedding in the late nineteeenth or the early twentieth century. One of the strangest sights that I ever saw in my early inn days was a ‘brush steyl’ wedding at an inn on the Stanedge Road. We had been […]

    The Lion That Didn’t Roar! September 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Lion That Didn't Roar!

    Chris from Haunted Ohio Books sent the following late nineteenth-century theatre story in. It would be difficult to beat this. Never, but never work with children and animals. Someone connected with ‘The Soudan’, the English romantic drama which has already surpassed every theatrical record in Boston, thought that a live lion led on the stage […]

    Execution Substitution: Has It Ever Happened? September 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
     Execution Substitution: Has It Ever Happened?

    A weird little episode that Beach can’t get out of his head. 20 January 1793 the news has come that Louis XVI will be executed/murdered/killed the next day. It is difficult for us to understand the frantic actions undertaken by monarchists in Paris in their do or die efforts to save ‘the anointed of God’. […]

    Fairy and Diary September 26, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairy and Diary

    Just recently Beach came across an eighteenth-century diary with a strange fairy reference and wondered if any readers could help with trying to get to the bottom of it. First, we should say that the diary, by one Rev John Thomlinson, is full of highly elliptical references: it was definitely not for public consumption, but […]

    Review: The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England September 25, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England

    Academia usually shuffles anxiously away from the bizarre, but every so often a historian of note decides to take on something strange – crucifying cats, delusional werewolves… – and produces insights into the past. Imagine, instead, though that a whole soccer team of first-rank historians huddled together and determined to sprint after curious events, instead […]

    The Existence of the Mermaid is Now Certain c. 1794 September 24, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Existence of the Mermaid is Now Certain c. 1794

    We haven’t done mermaids for a long time. Yet who can forget the submarine and the mermaids or the Queen of Cuba or the mermaid that ate boiled fish or for that matter Christopher Columbus and the mermaid and the mermaid killed in Exeter. Oh happy days… Anyway, from memories of the past to a new […]

    Spirit Photo Fakes September 23, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Spirit Photo Fakes

    Beach has been enjoying, thanks to the Count (a longstanding friend of this blog), some fabulous spirit pictures, from the golden age of spiritualist shysterism. These were spirit sittings where men and women were photographed and spirits were invited into their presence. The spirits were then, if we are to believe the skeptics, as in […]

    Fairies and Potatoes September 21, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairies and Potatoes

      A curious story from the beginning of that most slaughter of the innocents, the Irish potato famine. Dr Edgar, an Ulsterman is out and about with his friend Mr Brannigan, who later recalled the episode. ‘On the day after the examination of the Irish schools,’ continues Mr. Brannigan, ‘[Dr Edgar] took a walk with […]

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