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Fairies and Funerals December 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Fairies and Funerals

Fairies are often associated with death: indeed, many fairy theorists have suggested that the ‘good people’ were originally believed to be the spirits of the dead. Then there are the various minions of fairy who  predict death including the banshee in Ireland and various bogeys in northern and western Britain. Fairy funerals are commonly described […]

Weird Cirencester Report November 27, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Weird Cirencester Report

This pithy little piece appears in a fascinating book: James Malcolm Miscellaneous Anecdotes Illustrative of the Manners and History of Europe (1811), 39-40. Malcolm had ransacked seventeenth and eighteenth century newspapers in search of absurd stories, which he could make fun of. He then included these accounts in his book. He does not give us […]

Irish and Africans: A Peculiar Nineteenth-Century English Obsession November 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Irish and Africans: A Peculiar Nineteenth-Century English Obsession

The science of ‘race’ is for the most part a series of embarrassing excesses and intellectually dishonst indulgences of contemporary opinions and prejudice, with some requisite skull-measuring and blethering about frontal lobes to make everything sound alright. Even by these particularly sad lows the following picture is an extraordinary achievement. The images come from Ireland […]

Jokes from WW1 November 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jokes from WW1

A recent post included jokes of the Second World War and jokes about the Second World War. Here is a sister post on jokes from the First World War. These are trickier to track down but some are still fun and deserve respect and a reading. Others gratefully received: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Beach […]

Arty Monarchs November 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
Arty Monarchs

How many rulers can you think of who show a gift for the arts? By this we don’t mean a Charles I or a Cosimo de Medici who could talent spot. Rather Beach is looking for blood-line rulers who were actually good with the paint-brush or with chisel or (taking the broader sense of ‘the […]

Bowing to Horses and Dragon’s Blood! November 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Bowing to Horses and Dragon's Blood!

Two magic horse stories recently, one modern and one medieval. This further example of horse witchcraft comes from the second half of the nineteenth century in Retford in the English Midlands. The story begins with a classic example of witch striking, though look out for an unusual addition, dragon’s blood! At Retford, the other day, […]

Dreaming Murder in Parliament #11: A Conclusion November 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dreaming Murder in Parliament #11: A Conclusion

  ***Dedicated to all those, who have helped Beach with this series, particularly Bob S*** A couple of comments before driving on to a general conclusion on the Perceval murder [for all previous posts follow this link], comments that will surprise no one who reads this blog regularly. Beach is a hoary old sceptic. He […]

Dropping Things from Planes in WW1 November 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Dropping Things from Planes in WW1

With insouciance and innocence man took to the air and then in the First World War began to fight in the air. The pilots were suicidally brave and also almost childlike in their duels. Along with the machine guns there were jokes and jests with friends and enemies alike. In this short post Beach wanted […]

Crypto Fairy Hippo Cow in Scotland and Ireland?! November 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
Crypto Fairy Hippo Cow in Scotland and Ireland?!

Fairy cows are occasional adjuncts to fairy legends and in the Gaelic world, particularly in the Irish west and the Scottish highlands there is the fairy water cow, a creature that comes from out of the water to land to graze. A little legend illustrating this from Limerick in Ireland, more specifically Lough Guir (aka […]

Dreaming Murder in Parliament #9: Mr Fox Speaks (or Lies)! November 5, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dreaming Murder in Parliament #9: Mr Fox Speaks (or Lies)!

***Many interesting comments on the Perceval case, particularly from Bob S who has done far better at digging out rare sources than Beach. Here is one that passed Strange History by completely but that Bob happily picked up*** Here is yet another source for the Williams dream from The autobiography of Sir John Rennie  by […]

A Russian Prince in Seventeenth-Century Rural England? October 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Russian Prince in Seventeenth-Century Rural England?

Woolley is a rural parish in what was once Huntingdonshire and what is now Cambridgeshire. Its has provided one very worthwhile episode for the annals of bizarre history and that concerns its seventeenth-century rector Mikipher Alphery. Poor old Alphery was kicked out in 1643 during the Civil War when Cromwell and his devils were getting […]

Jokes From World War 2 October 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jokes From World War 2

Unlike our previous post on jokes about the World Wars here are a series of jokes from world war two. Beach can’t guarantee that every single one came from the the period between Sept 1939 and the summer of 1945, but they have a contemporary feel. Here are his favourites. Note a factory worker, Marianne […]

Tolkien, a Poppy and the Death of Traditional Fairies October 24, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Tolkien, a Poppy and the Death of Traditional Fairies

Tolkien has rarely featured in these pages, but given Beach’s interest in fairies, it was only a matter of time before the Oxford don had a post dedicated to him. Very likely in 1913 or 1914 – the dating depends on the evidence from a fabulous article by John Garth – Tolkein had an unusual […]

Dreaming Murder in Parliament 7#: Perceval Speaks! October 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dreaming Murder in Parliament 7#: Perceval Speaks!

***For all previous posts on the Perceval Dream follow this link*** In one of the many modern books that describe the Williams’ dream this strange addition to the legend is included. Get ready for a laugh. A week later, Spencer Perceval himself had a very disturbing dream. After he shared with his family the nightmare […]

Dreaming Murder in Parliament #6: The Bude Kirk Rumours October 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dreaming Murder in Parliament #6: The Bude Kirk Rumours

Now consider this strange little annex, in Lang. One very curious circumstance in connection with the assassination of Mr. Perceval has never been noticed. A rumour or report of the deed reached Bude Kirk, a village near Annan, on the night of Sunday, May 10, a day before the crime was committed! This was stated […]

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