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  • The Hobgoblin Club September 21, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Hobgoblin Club

    It is 1891. You are living in a small Cornish village and your neighbours get jumpy every time they see a shadow (‘the ghost…’ etc) and talk darkly of Mother Jones being a witch. Well, in most British villages it was a question of sermons, railway timetables and opening parish schools. But in Ludgvan, close […]

    In Search of the Droll-Teller August 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    In Search of the Droll-Teller

    The droll tellers were the bards of modern Cornwall. Droll-teller. An itinerant story-teller, news-monger, and fiddler, who travelled from town to town, and village to village. There were two such in Cornwall as late as 1829. In 1865 Robert Hunt gives a description of one of these droll-tellers from an informants who is presumably remembering […]

    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 […]

    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 […]

    Epiphany Gift 6: Enys Tregarthen and the Piskeys January 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern

    Beachcombing has a tradition of epiphany gifts. Here is the latest. Enys Tregarthen Piskeys These are by no means all of Enys Tregarthen‘s pixy stories, but these are five that are unavailable online. Enjoy!

    Flying Fairies, Stolen Wine and the Hat Tree August 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Flying Fairies, Stolen Wine and the Hat Tree

    Here is a very modest nineteenth-century Cornish story: it appeared in Robert Hunt, Popular Romances (1865); the piskeys are Cornish fairies (pixies). This tale is not, note, specifically Cornish, there are lots of British versions recorded in the nineteenth century, and one earlier Scottish tale. Our story has especially to do with the adventures of […]

    The Earliest Telephone Call from the Dead July 30, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Earliest Telephone Call from the Dead

    The telephone call from the dead apparently dates back to 1964 and an episode of The Twlight Zone entitled: Night Call. It transpires that the freaky calls that a woman is getting are from the grave of her dead fiancé. Beach, however, recently ran across an earlier example that he wanted to share with readers. It […]

    Cornish Bear Monster? June 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Cornish Bear Monster?

    Strangehistory has given previously some space to the Cornish ‘Methodist metaphysician’ Samuel Drew (obit 1833). Last time Samuel Drew had been accused, almost certainly falsely by Wikipedia, of witnessing a ghost army. This time Samuel’s witnessing of the paranormal can be substantiated as it appeared in his biography, the author, his son, having apparently taken […]

    Horse God in Early Modern Cornwall! June 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Horse God in Early Modern Cornwall!

    In 1595 a Spanish raid on Cornwall in South-western England took place under Captain Carlos de Amezola. Amezola landed his men at Mount’s Bay and burnt several ships, churches and hundreds of houses in Penzance, Newlyn, Paul and Mousehole, some of the most westerly English settlements. This small act of warfare was, of course, absolutely […]

    The Biography of a Difficult to Bury Witch November 10, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Biography of a Difficult to Bury Witch

    Here is a little bit of gossip from Cornwall 1880 and a dose of human misery. An extraordinary but well authenticated instance of belief in witchcraft comes from St. Blazey, Cornwall. A woman named Keam, who died the other day, was believed by her neighbours to be a witch, and great difficulty was experienced in […]

    Fake Ghost Battle from Cornwall? September 7, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Modern
    Fake Ghost Battle from Cornwall?

    Beach is in search of a ghost battle, only the ghost battle does not seem to have ever taken place. This is not said in the heavy materialist sense that such things cannot happen: though they probably can’t. It is said with the frustration of six or seven hours spent looking for this mysterious battle […]

    Jane Stanley Paints Castle-An-Dinas August 21, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Jane Stanley Paints Castle-An-Dinas

    Jane Stanley is an extremely talented archaeological reconstruction artist, based out of Cornwall. Castle-an-Dinas is an Iron Age fort in the middle of that county, a six-acre site second only, in terms of its natural charisma, to South Cadbury in Somerset. Put Jane and Castle-an-Dinas together and you get some of the best historical fiction around, […]

    In Search of Enys Tregarthen: ‘The Little Cripple’ August 19, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    In Search of Enys Tregarthen: 'The Little Cripple'

    Imagine being born, in the winter of 1850, while your father is away at sea. You find yourself in a vulnerable but aspirational household, perhaps the worst nineteenth-century social gradient of them all in Britain. As you slowly emerge into consciousness you start to understand that your father, a seaman, is rarely present and by the time […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #6: A Cornish Parallel July 28, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #6: A Cornish Parallel

    The Rillaton Cup was a prehistoric gold beaten vessel that was discovered in a barrow in Cornwall (the cairn on the map below to the north east of the Hurlers). It is beautiful and antiquarians have compared it to the fabulous Mold cape, which is probably roughly contemporary. However, there is another connection between the […]

    Science, Neurology and Being Misled by Fairies May 23, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Science, Neurology and Being Misled by Fairies

    All European fairy traditions have two features: kidnapped children (the changeling tradition) and misled travellers (the pixy-led tradition). Being pixy-led (a Cornish or Devon term originally but one that has come to apply to a much wider area) varies in different parts of the continent. But typically, it unwinds as follows. A man or a woman […]

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