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  • The Tower Monster #8: A York Parallel July 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #8: A York Parallel

    One of the Notes and Query readers also suggested this as a parallel: a protean entity comes under a door and changes into different shapes or is perceived to do so. But first some background. Sir John Reresby (obit 1689) was a diarist who fought on the right side in the English civil war and […]

    The Tower Monster #7: A French Parallel July 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #7: A French Parallel

    The following passage did not take place in London, nor indeed in Britain but it has been offered as a parallel to the Cylinder case. Certainly there are interesting points in common. The author, Owen, had taken the account from the Baron de Guldenstubbé, in Paris, 11 May, 1859. In March of the year 1854, […]

    The Tower Monster #6: Shoe Polish Devil at the Tower July 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #6: Shoe Polish Devil at the Tower

    This poem appears as part of the Tower Ghost series. It appeared in an Irish paper in 1825 and was an advert for Warren’s shoe Blacking! Beach includes it because it looks very much like an outer ripple from the events of 1816. The problem is the story, which has escaped this careful reader. A […]

    The Tower Monster #5: Another Sentry July 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #5: Another Sentry

    This letter appeared in The Spectator, the British magazine, 21 August 1897. As it involves a sentinel at the Tower of London becoming ill on sighting a ghost it seems worth putting in this series. Some thirty years ago one of my brothers was quartered at the Tower with a detachment of his regiment, the […]

    The Tower Monster #4: A Short Story July 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #4: A Short Story

    This is a further source for the Tower monster. It was taken from the Western Gazette, 28 Dec 1888, but the WG in turn had taken and abridged it from the Vanity Fair Christmas Supplement. Can anyone get the original and any letters from the January editions? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The introduction makes […]

    The Tower Monster #3: A Magnetism Account July 17, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Uncategorized
    The Tower Monster #3: A Magnetism Account

    This account of the Tower Monster comes from an enthusiast for magnetism, William Gregory and was published in 1851, almost a decade before the Notes and Queries material. At the trial of Queen Caroline, in 1821, the guards at the Tower were doubled, and Col. S., the keeper of the Regalia, was quartered there with […]

    The Tower Monster #2: A Contemporary Account July 16, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #2: A Contemporary Account

    The very striking witness description of Swifte can, fortunately, be supplemented by a near contemporary account. This dates from January 1816: either Swifte got January and October confused or two soldiers (not one) died after seeing an apparition. The first possibility is surely more likely? For some weeks past, a family residing in the Tower […]

    The Tower Monster #1: The Witness Account July 15, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #1: The Witness Account

    There follows the single most interesting ghost story Beach has ever read. Perhaps part of its fascination is that it is not clear that it is a ghost story: though something bizarre is certainly going on. In any case, all began when in 1860, in the tenth volume (new series) of Notes and Queries  K.B […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Snuff Poisoning? July 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Snuff Poisoning?

    No not the cinematic kind of snuff! This story appeared in 1870 and enjoyed wide circulation in all British newspapers. A Wolverhampton contemporary records what seems to be a new trick upon railway travellers. The other day, a passenger from Wolverhampton to Bilston, after having been drawn into conversation by couple of respectable looking fellow-travellers, […]

    Ghost Cars July 13, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Ghost Cars

    There is lots of interesting burbling about technology and ghosts. How long does it need for a new technology to become hauntable? When will the first call centres or internet hubs get their poltergeists? To us today that wonderful Dickens story ‘The Signal Man’ is a straightforward ghost tale. But part of its daring back in […]

    Where Are the Gods of the Modern World? July 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Where Are the Gods of the Modern World?

    Forget the Iron Age, the Nuclear Age, the Internet Age. There are three periods of human endeavor: nomadic hunter-gathering before history; agriculture, which began about 8000 BC and ended in most parts of the west in the last one hundred and fifty years (when a majority of citizens had left the land); then finally industrial […]

    Yahoos in North America July 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Yahoos in North America

    Reading anomalous material there is sometimes an overlap of tiny details that are perplexing. Consider this description of three different North American wild men (who would certainly be called Big Foot today). In 1905 an article in the Washington Post described a Maryland wild man: ‘When it shrieks it sounds much like ‘Ya-ho! Ya-ho! Ya-ho!’ […]

    The Index Biography #19, Prize a Good Book June 30, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Index Biography #19, Prize a Good Book

    The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The writer must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the indivdual’s life. We offered up previously here Sheridan le Fanu and Joseph […]

    Hanging Jokes June 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Hanging Jokes

    Beach recently pointed out that were you to want to have a joke at someone’s expense it is probably not a good idea to involve poison. Similiarly strangehistory would advise against the use of nooses as these three sorry stories go to show. 20 Aug 1881: Last week a fatal practical joke was perpetrated at […]

    Jumping Wild Men June 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jumping Wild Men

    ***Dedicated to Mike Dash and Theo*** Beach has been having the time of his life looking at nineteenth-century Big Foot reports thanks to a very useful book by Chad Arment, Historical Bigfoot. All page numbers in the next paragraph come from that volume. What Beach loves about the book is that nineteenth-century Big Foot reports […]

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