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Colonel Fowler and the Mammoth, 1887 February 27, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Colonel Fowler and the Mammoth, 1887

Col. F. Fowler lived for 12 years in Alaska, from c.1877-1889. On finishing his time there he was asked by a reporter about the most interesting thing he had seen there. He answered as follows: Two years ago last summer I left Kodiac for a trip to the head waters of the Snake River, where […]

In Search of the Lamia in Ethiopia? January 28, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
In Search of the Lamia in Ethiopia?

This passage appears in an 1863 book about a Briton’s residence in Abyssinia. The author seems to be in two minds about the monster he is describing. Is it real or is it a figment of the locals’ imagination? In the text he seems to account for it as legend, but note that he had […]

Was Nessie a Kelpie? December 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Was Nessie a Kelpie?

A post a couple of weeks ago on the kelpie of Loch-na-Bestie got Beach thinking about the most famous kelpie in Caledonia. Who else but that stalwart of Scottish tourism, that gift to fake photographers everywhere, the greatest floating log of them all, Nessie?  Yes, it is true that Nessie has been seen, photographed and […]

Killing a Nineteenth-Century Nessie December 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Killing a Nineteenth-Century Nessie

There is a fabulous Scottish water beast story that is worth repeating. Today we scour lochs for fantastic animals. In the early nineteenth century they scoured at Loch na Beiste (literally Loch of the Beast) to kill the same. The story of the celebrated water-kelpie of the Greenstone Point is very well known in Gairloch. […]

The Last European Lion June 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Last European Lion

The ancient Greeks were lion mad. Lions frequently appear in the lively similes of ‘Homer’. They appear in Greek art and in legends: at a guess Pausanias probably has a score of lion legends from around Greece. But can any of this be taken to prove that lions actually lived in ancient Greece or, indeed, […]

Giant Caterpillar Outside Manchester, 1850! November 16, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Giant Caterpillar Outside Manchester, 1850!

This appeared in a northern British newspaper in 1850 relating to the Manchester area. The monster, so long the object of such contradictory reports, is now proved beyond doubt to be a real living creature. He has been seen on shore by hundreds of spectators, having originally, it is supposed, come up the Bridgewater Canal. […]

Native North American Vampire? November 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Native North American Vampire?

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (obit 1558), on his trips into the wilderness of North America, did not meet a vampire: but he heard about a creature that sounded strikingly like one and that had caused the Indians some problem a generation before, c. 1500. It would be tempting to say that we are referring […]

Mysterious Hominids in India November 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mysterious Hominids in India

Another extract – this time eighteenth century – from Beachcombing’s Pygmies, Dwarfs and Fairies series. The following has a certain cryptozoological feel to it: including the fact that the ‘samples’ disappeared into the ether. The creatures in question came from deep in the Indian interior and were brought to Bombay before they inconsiderately died. They […]

The Hairies: Thoughts from Africa August 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Hairies: Thoughts from Africa

Beach has only very inadequate knowledge of cryptozoology, so if he says things here that are unoriginal, stupid or dangerous he wants to apologise ahead of time. It is just that he didn’t go to sleep until very late last night because he found this stuff so interesting. He knows that there are ape men […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Problem with Sea Apes May 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
The Problem with Sea Apes

***Dedicated to Andy the Mad Monk and Invisible*** Beach has, since the early days of this site, shown a persistent interest in mermaids. It would be outrageous then to pass by the important new documentary coming out (or has it already aired?) on Animal Planet. The following is borrowed from Wikipedia (courtesy of the inestimable […]

The Great Snake Scare of 1828 May 16, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Great Snake Scare of 1828

A cute little WtH story from deepest Devon (Tavistock) about a cryptid snake. Beach knows that nineteenth-century newspapers had a great time making up serpents and other monsters, cue ‘the 200-foot-long Hideous Ice Worm‘ with hat tip to Invisible. But in this case local tradition seems to have done the job for them. I think […]

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