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  • Weird Nineteenth-Century Names July 8, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Weird Nineteenth-Century Names

    Beach has long been fascinated by the use and misuse of names. Here are some beautiful nineteenth-century English cases of eccentric onomastics. In this town [East Dereham, Norfolk] there is an innkeeper who rejoices in  the baptismal name of ‘Mahershalalhashbaz’ (see Isaiah  viii. 1). I should think this is unique. He is commonly  called  ‘Maher’, […]

    The Triumph of the Dilettantes: Top Ten Fairy Books July 7, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Triumph of the Dilettantes: Top Ten Fairy Books

    Beach has spent this summer putting together a bibliography of fairy texts. And while doing so he found himself wondering ‘what are the best of these hundreds of titles?’ The question has, in fact, been building up in him and after some reflection he has jotted down here ten books that offer the most entertaining […]

    Things that Go Baring-Gould in the Night July 3, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Things that Go Baring-Gould in the Night

    Beach has been having a LOT of fun recently reading the autobiography of Sabine Baring-Gould, an eccentric and very capable Victorian/Edwardian clergyman who was once described on this blog in the company of a werewolf. Here, instead, is SBG’s collection of material relating to the Old Madam who haunted his family mansion, Lew Trenchard Manor […]

    Tree Rings and Supernovas and a Red Cross in Anglo-Saxon England June 29, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Tree Rings and Supernovas and a Red Cross in Anglo-Saxon England

    ***Dedicated to Larry and Wade who sent this one in*** In early June a report came in from Nagoya University (Japan) that tree rings on the island showed evidence of a massive radiation blast in 774/775 of our era. This interested Beachcombing not the slightest as he doesn’t do radiation or tree rings. But this […]

    The Virgin and the Fairies June 28, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Virgin and the Fairies

    The last fairy post for a week, we promise… Beach has noted previously here the danger of confusing fairy sightings with UFO sightings. But, as a lot of his work this summer has concerned medieval records, he realises that confusion is nothing new where fairies are concerned. There is, 500 AD – 1700 AD, the […]

    Desperately Seeking Marjorie June 26, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Desperately Seeking Marjorie

    ***Dedicated to whosoever helps Beach to find Marjorie*** It is very bad form to write two articles on fairies in as many days, but Beach has been excited since Splendid Chap emailed with the exciting information that Marjorie Johnson is still alive in Carlton, Nottinghamshire (UK). Marjorie was born in 1911 and by 1956 she […]

    On the trail of Captain Quentin C. A. Craufurd (and his fairies) June 24, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    On the trail of Captain Quentin C. A. Craufurd (and his fairies)

    Dedicated to a Splendid Chap Splendid Chap sent in an article by one of Beach’s chief interests in life, the enigmatic Capt Quentin Craufurd, founder of the Fairy Investigation Society: yes, that’s his picture! Beachcombing doesn’t put this up because the article is particularly inspiring: it reads like post theosophy c. 1950. He has put […]

    So You Want to Catch a Fairy… June 16, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    So You Want to Catch a Fairy...

    So you want to catch a fairy. Well, first get a butterfly net and collecting jars and for good measure a mousetrap bated with sugar and nutmegs… Ok seriously here are a couple of ‘recipes’ from a seventeenth-century (?) alchemist’s collection. An excellent way to gett a Fayrie. (For myself I call Margarett Barrance; but […]

    Trolls in Staffordshire (in the 1970s!) June 13, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Trolls in Staffordshire (in the 1970s!)

    ***With thanks to Invisible*** Beach usually limits his cryptozoology to historical sightings and is a little uneasy at reporting an event from his own lifetime. But this particularly rumpus in the dark has a lot to recommend it in fairy terms so it caught his interest: the full account can be found at Nick Redfern’s […]

    Thomas Digges and the Telescope June 10, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Thomas Digges and the Telescope

    ***Dedicated to Larry who sent this one in*** Thomas Digges (1595) is one of those footnotes in history who perhaps deserves a page, a chapter or even a book to himself. An Elizabethan military engineer, Digges also wrote on astronomy and translated Copernicus into English and, fundamentally for the present argument, he pushed the use […]

    A Welsh Mermaid and the Bastard with the Binoculars June 9, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    A Welsh Mermaid and the Bastard with the Binoculars

    When people see strange things they rave to friends, family and (sometimes) newspapers. When they see strange things that reveal themselves to be something utterly pedestrian, the marvel is quickly forgotten. This is, in some ways, a shame as accounts of misperception probably bring us closer to the enigmas of the world than hours and […]

    Ginx’s Baby June 8, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Ginx's Baby

    ***Dedicated to Wade who sent this in*** An interview with the tax man today so a low intensity post on a story sent in by Wade from an American paper 1871. It is presumably a morality tale (with a kick at the old country): but it is cute for all that. It is one of […]

    Electrifying Sheep June 3, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Electrifying Sheep

    Beachcombing has a terrible secret. He is not very good at science. Yes, he receives emails about astronomy and nuclear physics, aviation and genetics on a daily basis. But, while being fascinated, he understands almost none of what he reads there. In the autumn of his years it is simply too late to put this […]

    The Monger-Goss Theory of Dragons and ABCs June 2, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Monger-Goss Theory of Dragons and ABCs

    Just last week Beach was looking into dragon accounts from seventeenth century England. And in searching for dragon-related material he stumbled on an article that he feels deserves to be better known and perhaps celebrated. The article in question is George Monger’s ‘Dragons and Big Cats’ published in the illustrious journal of British myth and […]

    Seventeenth-Century English Dragons May 28, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Seventeenth-Century English Dragons

    Beachcombing recently highlighted the case of a giant serpent in nineteenth-century Devon, a snake that was as thick as a thigh. Beach had assumed that this was a one off, but now he is wondering as he found a second reference to go with it. This one comes from a pamphlet with a straight-to-the-point title: The […]

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