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Dreaming Murder in Parliament #10: John Williams, the Dirt (and Tin) November 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dreaming Murder in Parliament #10: John Williams, the Dirt (and Tin)

Surely the most important player in the Perceval dream is the dreamer himself, John Williams. Read most modern reports about the murder and you will assume that JW was a member of the Cornish upper middle classes, a squire with clay and fox blood on his hands. In fact, John Williams was a major Victorian […]

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 […]

Dreaming Murder in Parliament #3: The Earliest Account October 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dreaming Murder in Parliament #3: The Earliest Account

This appeared in The Times 16 Aug 1828 ‘Remarkable Coincidences’. We have been able to find no earlier trace of the alleged dream of the murder of 1812. It is clearly valuable for its age  and seems to depend on the special knowledge of Mr Williams. However, serious discrepancies with the later account (next post) […]

Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies? August 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies?

  Beach is very gradually dipping his big toe into the world of black dogs: those fearsome creatures with eyes as big as saucers burning like fire seen out and about in the British countryside. The key guide is Trubshaw’s Explore Phantom Black Dogs that has a number of fascinating essays including an introduction by  […]

Evans-Wentz and a Missing Thesis July 16, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Evans-Wentz and a Missing Thesis

Walter Evans-Wentz (obit 1965) was an American mystic who wrote, as a young man, before his interests went eastwards, the most important twentieth-century book about fairies: The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, published at Oxford in 1911. That book, available in many places on the web, can be broken down into three parts. The first […]

Dreams of Murder June 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dreams of Murder

Telepathy is a curious concept and not the least curious part of this most curious ability is the inability to properly document it. However, in the annals of telepathy (so-called or imaginary, factual and always elusive) some of the most interesting cases have involved dreams and murder: ‘murder will out’ in a bouquet of pink […]

The Celtic Church: A Defence of Kinds February 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Celtic Church: A Defence of Kinds

The ‘Celtic Church’ is the phrase commonly used to describe the version of Christianity that triumphed in much of Britain and Ireland throughout the early Middle Ages, say 400-800. Historians of the calibre of Patrick Wormald (RIP), Wendy Davies and Kathleen Hughes (RIP) have argued or even railed against it. What follows is a half-hearted […]

Luck, Shysters and Jack O’Lantern February 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Luck, Shysters and Jack O'Lantern

As this year’s epiphany gift Beach put up the only two numbers of a Fortean magazine from the 1940s entitled New Frontiers: we couldn’t host this on the website because of an upload limit, and we had to trust some external site which proved unreliable. Thanks to our webmaster, Raoul, the magazine though has now […]

William Bottrell and the Strangest Funeral Procession in the World November 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
William Bottrell and the Strangest Funeral Procession in the World

The year is 1881 and Willam Bottrell has just passed away after a horrific final illness: he lay paralysed in bed for the last year, his mind as fine as ever, his body drying up. Bottrell, for those many who don’t know, was a hero perhaps the hero of Cornish folklore studies because despite having […]

A Fourteen-Month Pregnancy in Nineteenth-century Cornwall? October 25, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Fourteen-Month Pregnancy in Nineteenth-century Cornwall?

Polperro Press is a small publishing house that produces excellent quality monographs on Cornish themes. If every town of this size – Polperro is an idyllic Cornish port – had a book producing company of a third of this quality historians would be able to give up their day jobs: history, at least western history, […]

See But Can’t Touch August 15, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
See But Can't Touch

Beach travelled by plane earlier this summer with little Miss B to the UK. Aged just four his daughter marvelled as she looked out of the window at the cloudlands that stretched away in every direction: Beach remembers a similar marvelling when he was about ten and went on his first long plane journey. Things […]

Protestantism, Statues and Sore Breasts/Fronts August 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Protestantism, Statues and Sore Breasts/Fronts

***Those idiots at the internet company are playing their games again: the signal ebbs and flows, apologies that this is late then and expect further disturbances*** A week ago now Beach mentioned the Devon folklorist Miss Theo Brown, a great talent who published in the 1960s. He was particularly interested to read yesterday an article […]

The Cloud of Death, Hawker and A Letter to the Times August 10, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Cloud of Death, Hawker and A Letter to the Times

A pleasing example of how something unusual can get blow up into something extraordinary. A letter to The Times 1 Dec 1858 from North Cornwall [this date appears to be slightly wrong, it must be a couple of days later] To the Editor of The Times Sir, Last night, at 15 minutes to 9, it […]

Pixy Music on Dartmoor July 15, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Pixy Music on Dartmoor

  This is a fascinating story from Dartmoor in 1921. A director of orchestra has decided to walk out from a musical boot camp and try his hand at composing in the middle of the heather. It is there that he has a very strange experience: this  one is dedicated to all lovers of auditory […]

Badgers, Pigs and Asses: Celtic in English May 10, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Badgers, Pigs and Asses: Celtic in English

‘While I was on the ass, going to feed my dun hog, carrying only a matlock and some bannock, I saw a brock coming down from the tor that’s shaped like a bin’. It is not exactly poetry. But this sentence might stand as a memory aid for students of English. The interest lies not […]

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