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  • Married Life with a Mermaid: Six Useful Rules August 14, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Married Life with a Mermaid: Six Useful Rules

    Paracelsus (obit 1541) was a Swiss German who had strong interests in science and the supernatural: though, of course, for dear old Paracelsus they were one and the same thing, the natural world. In Paracelsus’ writings there is a good deal of material on what we would call fairies, mermaids and other goblins. Paracelsus has […]

    The Ludgvan Ghost Riot August 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Ludgvan Ghost Riot

    Here is a nice ghost riot story from deepest darkest Cornwall, at Ludgvan near Penzance. This is a rather rare, though not entirely unprecedented thing, a rural ghost riot. Note also that this is a memory: interestingly the great Ludgvan ghost riot of c. 1820 or c. 1830 didn’t make it into the press. My first acknowledgment […]

    Joys of Supermarket Shopping in the Soviet Union August 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Joys of Supermarket Shopping in the Soviet Union

    The Soviet Union ran a centrally-planned economic system. This meant that bureaucrats, using five-year plans, had to anticipate the changing wants and needs of Soviet citizens looking into their cracked crystal balls. It is not that these planners did so badly, they did so with verve and cunning and best intentions: it is just that […]

    London Fairy Roadrunner August 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    London Fairy Roadrunner

    This is a fabulous and often overlooked ‘fairy’ sighting. The inverted commas on ‘fairy’ because it is difficult to know quite what to make of this. The story appeared in the third volume of Thomas Crofton Croker’s Fairy Legends of Ireland, only it comes from London or the outskirts of that city, c. 1800. First some […]

    Trafficking in Human Fat! August 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Trafficking in Human Fat!

    This story came up yesterday after inspired by the werewolf fat story. It is taken from a the Reading Mercury (10 Aug 1831)but was allegedly translated from Annals d’Hygiene Publique. ln the year 1813, a discovery was made in the Schools of Medicine, in Paris, which strongly excited the attention of the professors. The servants […]

    French Werewolves Sell Fat to Glass Factories? August 8, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    French Werewolves Sell Fat to Glass Factories?

    Beach has been messing around with wolves this week and he ran across this reference in relation to the wolf deaths in Dauphiné in the mid eighteenth century. The priest of Primarette wrote a summary of local attitudes to these killings. Enjoy the following: apart obviously from the fact that three kids had been devoured. […]

    Herne the Hunter: the Twelve Basic Facts August 7, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Herne the Hunter: the Twelve Basic Facts

    For the unacquainted Herne the Hunter is a southern English bogie, who haunted a tree in the park at Windsor Castle on the Bucks/Berks border. Almost all writing about Herne is overlaid with speculative points and useless comparisons. This post offers, therefore, an absolute basic version of the legend focusing hard on our early sources, […]

    Myths of Twentieth-Century History August 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Myths of Twentieth-Century History

    Seven twentieth century myths follow. Any other contributions or angry rebuttals, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Great War: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, 1914 The Great War was going to happen sooner or later because two countries, Germany and France, wanted it. However, the consensus that the Great War would have inevitably led to the ‘breaking […]

    Missing Urban Legends August 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Missing Urban Legends

    In the 1970s folklorists lightened up and realised that folklore was not just about elves, witches and weather prognostications. Modern beliefs involving swallowed melon seeds and superstitions about cars from suburbia were also fair game. With this new revelation, several excited young men and women went out and began collecting tales and started writing about […]

    Index Biography #44: Prize a book July 31, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Index Biography #44: Prize a book

    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 here Sheridan le Fanu and Joseph Stalin (he of ripe […]

    Immortal Meals #34: Picnic Under the Vicar’s Oak July 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Immortal Meals #34: Picnic Under the Vicar's Oak

    Norwood was a rural area to the south of London that was sucked into the metropolis in the mid, late nineteenth century. If you want to go and imagine where the nightingale once sang and where Surrey farmers shot rabbits, head off for the mean streets around Crystal Palace, sit down and weep. ‘This is the […]

    Kitchener Survives: The Insurance Policy July 27, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Kitchener Survives: The Insurance Policy

    The claim that Lord Kitchener had survived death seems to have been well established by December 1916. By 1917 the story rumbled through the spring and summer building up a head of steam until it quite unexpectedly entered the real world. In early September 1917 Lloyds opened an insurance policy, really a bet, that Kitchener […]

    Buried Standing Up July 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Buried Standing Up

    In the rusty old filing cabinet that provides fodder for this blog there is somewhere a file on men being buried upright. However, Beach has failed to find said file for the last three years, so despairing he hands the problem over to his readers. Famous or not so famous people from history who decided […]

    The Monster of Leavenworth, Kansas July 21, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Monster of Leavenworth, Kansas

    ***Thanks to Roberto for this tale*** This is a nasty little story from nineteenth-century Kansas. We are in Leavenworth in that state and enter Mrs. Green, note a suspiciously generic name. Mrs. Green is a midwife, a profession that has had many ups and downs at the hands of doctors, feminists, journalists (nota bene), witch-hunters […]

    Did You Hear the One About the Ring… July 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Did You Hear the One About the Ring...

    Curious about ring legends? This blogger recently went through the international folklore indexes in search of rings so you don’t have to: you can waste a lot of time there… Yes, he found the boring old chestnuts: ring found in fish; ring cut from corpse etc. etc. But there are also some marvelously bizarre and […]

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