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  • Constellation Plate and the Music of the Spheres May 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Constellation Plate and the Music of the Spheres

    Here is a curiosity: a plate that plays magical music to your sleeping ear. The passage comes from the writing of John Beaumont (obit 1731) a geologist and reluctant British mystic who sometimes saw ‘spirits’. In one of his works (Account, 188) Beaumont claims: I may here note, That some Persons have told my self, […]

    Lincoln’s Assassination Advertised? May 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lincoln's Assassination Advertised?

    A busy day in paradise today. Exams. However, Beach ran, a few months ago across this story and wondered whether this was just journalistic bluff, sheer coincidence (very possibly) or a little bit of Civil War history that had been lost. The Evening Bulletin of San Francisco, dated February 24, 1885, is said to have […]

    Urban Legend: the Magic Letter May 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Urban Legend: the Magic Letter

    In the last months Beach has put up a number of posts on possible nineteenth-century urban legends: as they are reported as facts though and as the nineteenth-century was a foreign country (‘they did things differently there’) it is difficult, perhaps impossible with any certainty to distinguish the legendary from the simply bizarre. This is […]

    Creepy Familiars: Jarmara May 18, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Creepy Familiars: Jarmara

    One of the joys of reading about early modern witch trials is the description (particularly in British cases) of the crazy and creepy familiars kept by old women for their various delectations and debaucheries. Beach recently publicized a spirit mole and he now wishes to introduce Jamara, described in three different passages relating to some […]

    William Blake and Bruno’s Fairies May 17, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    William Blake and Bruno's Fairies

    It is well known that William Blake drew and painted fairies and it is also a matter of record that Blake saw fairies. Blake, allegedly, described to a flabbergasted contemporary how he has witnessed a fairy funeral. Beach has looked in vain for other references to Blake kicking it up with the fairies and he […]

    Notre Dame to Montmartre by Bird Wings in 1840 May 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Notre Dame to Montmartre by Bird Wings in 1840

    Beach tries not to exaggerate – at least in this place* – but of his forty odd flight stories this is perhaps his favourite. Not a mean feat given that those stories include flying Anglo-Saxon monks and Chinese kite men. We are in Paris in 1840 A man, carrying a large bundle, applied some days […]

    Mole-Like Familiar May 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mole-Like Familiar

    There is a long tradition of witches having familiars, animals who act as a source of power, or perhaps the medium between the witch and the devil. Britain has rather few references to sabbats and witch orgies compared to continental witch trials: but it arguably has more familiars than French, German and Polish witch investigations. Here […]

    White Man at Daratoleh May 8, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    White Man at Daratoleh

    22 April 1903 a British column was attacked at Daratoleh (Somali) by dervishes: the British, as so often happened in Africa, were vastly outnumbered and the Imperial troops did the only sensible thing they could in these circumstances. They formed into a square and put their maxims to best use. Superior weapons did for superior […]

    Bodies in Elm, 1760? May 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bodies in Elm, 1760?

    Beach has recently been searching for records of bodies within trees. There is a lot ill-informed nonsense about such tree burials (in a living tree) as being part of a British magical tradition. Here is one quoted reference from the Gentleman’s Magazine, 30 (1760), pp. 346. The problem is that the text does not live […]

    Evans Wentz and Sex May 4, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Evans Wentz and Sex

    Beach has had talked about Walter and his thesis, Walter and the fairies, Walter and money, now is it is time for Walter with no clothes on: Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz’s sexual habits.  At this point we better recite the ritual ‘not that there is anything wrong with that’. Beach has absolutely no interest in […]

    Evans Wentz and Money May 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Evans Wentz and Money

    Regular readers will know that over the years Beach has confessed to a fascination for Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz, the American mystic and sometime fairy writer. Beach is interested, above all, in Walter and the fairies. However, there are a number of other aspects of Evans Wentz’s life that are intriguing and that help to […]

    Evans Wentz’s Quest for Fairies May 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Evans Wentz's Quest for Fairies

    Beach has recently become interested in Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz (or Evans-Wentz as he became)* the American mystic who in his late twenties and early thirties researched Breton, British and Irish fairies, before running off to India to become a guru. Many readers will know Evans Wentz for his Fairy Faith In Celtic Countries, the […]

    The Coalville Lioness April 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Coalville Lioness

    You wake up at 2.00 AM and you hear an eerie moaning outside in the garden. You get out of your bed and walk over to the window and lift the glass. The cold of an English winters rushes over you and there, in the dark, between the W.C. and the geraniums, you spot a moving […]

    The One Percent Victorian Style April 28, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    The One Percent Victorian Style

    A phrase that has recently gained more and more currency: even to the point where undergraduates shout it out in class discussion, is ‘the one percent’. It is an offhand, contemptuous way of referring to the internationally wealthy.* Beach was delighted, the other day, to come across, in a ghost story no less, to the […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Music Boxes and Watch Sacks April 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Music Boxes and Watch Sacks

    Truly Beach isn’t that interested in this ignorant-native story from India, but the comparison to what is evidently a home grown British urban legend: A good story of a thief comes from Calcutta. ‘The Native,’ as Miss Fox called Major B ‘s servant, stole a musical box, ignorant of its use, and fancying it contained […]

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