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Review: The Hikey Sprites September 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Review: The Hikey Sprites

Review of Ray Loveday, The Hikey Sprites: The Twilight of a Norfolk Tradition (Norfolk 2009) The Hikey Sprites (aka Hyter Sprites) were Norfolk fairies that were summoned up by parents and grandparents to corral children into decency: ‘you be good or the Hikeys will get you’; ‘get home before dark or the Hikeys will get […]

Professional Pipe Smoking September 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Professional Pipe Smoking

The strange sports series continues. So far we have enjoyed naked running, clowns playing cricket, homicidal basketball and, of course, purring. This time we are in a weird little corner of the South Pennines in northern England. In this particularly nineteenth-century village the highlight of Wakes week – working man’s summer holiday – was the […]

Fear and Black Dogs August 30, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Fear and Black Dogs

Black dogs – and we’ve covered a few posts on this subject with fairy dogs and the black dog of Bungay: why are they so frightening? Ian McEwan’s best novel is probably Black Dogs in which idealism destroys evil catches the terror of big black canines perfectly. But Beach was terrified too in his recent […]

Victorian Lesbian Cobblers August 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Victorian Lesbian Cobblers

A week in which this blogger has had a thrilling time reading works on the history of lesbianism: some surprisingly good books out there. Anyway, one of the most fascinating facts about sexuality in western Europe and later European colonies is that way that there was one standard for male homosexuality and quite another for […]

Review: Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay August 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Review: Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay

***Thanks to the Count for this tip*** Shock: The Black Dog of Bungay is a recent book (2010) by David Waldron (of Ballarat Australia) and Christopher Reeve of Bungay, Norfolk. The fact that you have to get a historian-anthropologist from down-under and a Norfolk historian to do justice to said black dog – and they […]

H.F.Morton and Boggarts August 5, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
H.F.Morton and Boggarts

Beach has previously noted what an unusual field fairy studies is: for example, it is one of the few fields where amateurs outnumber and where amateurs are clearly better than academic writers. Another curiosity is the peculiar history of some of the fairy books out there and their tortured path to publication and beyond. There […]

The Allies and NOT Faking the Holocaust August 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Allies and NOT Faking the Holocaust

Several emails about the horrific photograph of the murdered woman and child at Ivangorod. Many of these emails went around the idea that this photograph was a misunderstanding (an idea that we have now argued against under the post itself) or that it was a fake. Certainly, if you stroll around the internet there are […]

Laddering: Making Jerry Pay August 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Laddering: Making Jerry Pay

Today if you dog defecates on the sidewalk or your daughter throws an icecream in the next-door neighbour’s garden it is a matter for the police or some of the tentacle-like social work groups from you local authority. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, of course, but in earlier centuries there was no question […]

Eighteenth-Century East Riding Fairies? July 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Eighteenth-Century East Riding Fairies?

Fairies today and a strange memory of fairies from the mid-late eighteenth century (?) recorded in 1825. Beach likes this because it is reminiscent of fairy sightings from a century or even two centuries later. It is out of place. In fact, if he didn’t have a copy of the original in front of him […]

Women and Trains July 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Women and Trains

Beachcombing has a dear aged friend who left her native country and came to live in the UK in the late 1930s. On her first day in the capital she, then a fresh-faced beautiful woman, climbed onto a train at Waterloo (follow the link for the best Churchill story of them all) and settled down […]

Giant Spiders in Bristol July 25, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Giant Spiders in Bristol

Derren Brown is a gifted English mentalist and an ultra sceptic (atheist, materialist…) in the mould of the great Houdini and the sometimes great Randi. You can usually get to the bottom of DB’s tricks, which makes them all the more interesting. This is Beach’s favourite. He simultaneously plays seven chess professionals, simultaneously wins four, […]

Treasure-Hunting in Lancs July 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Treasure-Hunting in Lancs

Today is not a day to celebrate. Those bastards who provide Beach with his internet supply have been playing games for a week now. Beach finds himself, this morning, stranded without a signal. In desperation he has, therefore, been reduced to typing up the following post, putting it on a pen drive and giving it […]

It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession… July 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession…

Imagine Jane Austen at her writing desk while sister is downstairs playing the harpsichord. Suddenly there is an excited knock on the door and Cassandra comes running up the stairs. ‘Jane, tis so exciting, some Inuit have come to the Hall. George Cartwright brought them back from Labrador.’ Jane puts down her pen and passes […]

A Suicidal Ghost July 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Suicidal Ghost

To follow up on a recentish post on suicide, here is a suicide and a ghost. Note that the suicide is certainly factual, as he had just appeared in the newspaper. Beach was struck by how jaunty, active and, well, pissed this ghost was. Thinking about it there are some of these ghost stories where […]

Colonialism and Burying the Irish Under Buildings July 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Colonialism and Burying the Irish Under Buildings

Luise White published, in 2000, her Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa. Very crudely – the book is difficult to reduce to a simple core because it recognizes complexity on the ground –White shows how colonial anxiety was played out through what she chose to call ‘vampire’ legends. Europeans and their agents […]

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