jump to navigation
  • Creepy Christmas Fairy Tale December 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Creepy Christmas Fairy Tale

    Here is a remarkable fairy account from Newfoundland. We are in Canada and the report appeared in the Evening Telegraph 26 Dec 1900. This, then, is a creepy Christmas story. A resident of this city, who is subject to extraordinary hallucinations, was the other night, as he seriously states himself, ‘again carried off by fairies’. […]

    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect? December 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect?

    Another fairy wings question thinking of the last two posts on the origins of fairy wings and on the production of fairy wings: what do fairy wings look like? Here Beach is going to start wide by looking at all winged flying supernatural creatures including angels, Cupid, putti (curse them), cherubs (curse them), Psyche and […]

    Making Fairy Wings December 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Making Fairy Wings

    After yesterday’s post on the origin of fairy wings, Beach now asks a parallel question. If from the later 19C children were wearing fairy wings at parties who actually made the damn things. Today there are special firms. What about in 1850 or 1890 or 27 October 1933. Here is a short article from that […]

    In Search of the Earliest Fairy Wings December 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    In Search of the Earliest Fairy Wings

    Next year Beach has to write an article on the history of fairy wings, something that he is greatly looking forward to: for absolute beginners fairies were not shown with wings until relatively recent times. There are three big historical questions: (i) when were fairies first portrayed in art or literature as wearing fairy wings; […]

    Priest as Cunning Man December 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Priest as Cunning Man

    This is an interesting case from 1867 recorded in a local newspaper. Readers might need to be reminded that Britain was an overwhelmingly Protestant country at this date; that the Protestant majority despised Catholicism and that Lancashire, in the North-West of England was one of the places where English Catholicism had survived best, albeit as […]

    Burning Bluecoat Memoirs December 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Burning Bluecoat Memoirs

    Exam grading and sadness at leaving a much loved job continues. In this melancholic frame here is some more missing manuscripts. These stories are often, as the distance of a more than a century, quite amusing. But there is no question that, at the time, they must have been horrifically painful for those involved. A […]

    Dumb Duels #4: Cigarette Duel December 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dumb Duels #4: Cigarette Duel

    A nice story from the British press about a duel  at Casale (not clear where this is other than northern Italy) from a great Italian actor, Ernesto Rossi (obit 1897): a cigarette duel. A strange duel is related to have been fought by the celebrated tragedian Signor Rossi. The latter, during a farewell performance of […]

    Victorian Urban Legend: the Expensive Manuscript December 12, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legend: the Expensive Manuscript

    Beach now has a couple of difficult days as he leaves his old university and says goodbye to a particularly fine cohort of students. Here is some more manuscript nonsense to keep him and you distracted. Is this urban legend? Probably but pleasing. A celebrated authoress wrote a drama, which she committed to the manager […]

    Lost Manuscripts: The Perils of Public and Private Transport December 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lost Manuscripts: The Perils of Public and Private Transport

    Some years before Bach was born, Beach pater left a manuscript for his first book on a tube train. Of course, back then, if you lost a manuscript it was over. Photocopies were practically unheard of and expensive and computers were but a gleam in Turing’s eye. The manuscript was happily retrieved some hours later, […]

    Queen Victoria, Baby-Killer! December 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Queen Victoria, Baby-Killer!

    Beach has to satisfy himself with a very short post today, not because he doesn’t have time but because he has not the slightest idea how to deal with the material at hand. Great consternation, says the Bedford Times [unable to get the original], has prevailed amongst certain classes at Luton, from rumour that the […]

    Misruled by the Planets and Unfound by Bread December 7, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Misruled by the Planets and Unfound by Bread

    This is the kind of tragic little story that is worth absorbing, because it shows how certain superstitions survived deep into the nineteenth century in the UK and the strange mélange of learned with popular superstition. Let us start with Sarah Evelyn Walker, 24 and a governess, daughter of a farmer from Everdon (Northamptonshire) the […]

    Beware the Shutterkin! December 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Beware the Shutterkin!

    Beach has previously given examples of bosom serpents, the idea that animals, particularly snakes can live within the human body. But consider the following freaky description. What is this thing? The quotation comes from the Athenian Oracle (II, 380) where reader’s questions were answered. Whence proceeds the Shutterkin? Physicians have imputed this Shutterkin (which resembles […]

    Murder Will Out: Unusual Bleeding Corpses December 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Murder Will Out: Unusual Bleeding Corpses

    This passage comes from one of Beach’s recent favourites (for which he must thank Mike G), the Athenian Mercury. The AM was a late seventeenth-century journal that has been described as the first advice column in history. Readers would write in questions and the editors, a cabal of level-headed Londoners, would then do their best to […]

    Salamander Experiments in Rome December 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Salamander Experiments in Rome

    A short note today from a curious book entitled Salamandrologia published in 1683 in Nuremberg, about, of course, Salamanders, p. 116, the mythical fire dwelling lizard: it is a surprisingly long work and worth browsing through. Here is one fragment. It would be good to trace the original down in Italian, German or Latin. It […]

    Child Murder in a London Church? December 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Child Murder in a London Church?

    This is an extraordinary story about child murder in a London church. In fact, the real story here – thinking of this site’s interest in urban legend and rumour – is the power of a freak event involving bodies to whip a working class area into a frenzy, but we’ll get to that…. In August […]

    Page 4 of 89« First...23456...102030...Last »