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Mermaid Killing in Exeter February 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mermaid Killing in Exeter

Beach recently stumbled upon yet another nineteenth-century British mermaid article. ‘…the most extraordinary, the most minute (I had nearly said the most recent), and certainly the most domestic of all stories of Mermaids, as well as that in which the veracity of the narrator is the most completely pledged for the accuracy of the detail, […]

An Aberystwyth Mermaid February 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
An Aberystwyth Mermaid

Mermaids are the most despised of all the creatures of the British imagination. Folklorists have only had the decency to write two half decent books on them over the last century. The result is that there are lots of accounts out there that have never been gathered in. This one seemed, at least to Beachcombing, […]

Medieval Dog-Heads: An Eye-Witness Report January 9, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Medieval Dog-Heads: An Eye-Witness Report

An interesting passage from the Itinerarium of Friar Odoric (obit 1331), a pioneering Italian traveller in Asia: Odoric may have been the first European to reach Lhasa. He certainly stood before the great Khan and penetrated China. He also visited the south seas. The island of Moumoran has never been satisfactorily identified but probably lies […]

Swearing to Mermaids December 3, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Swearing to Mermaids

A further Scottish Mermaid sighting, dating to October 1809. This one is particularly interesting because there seems to have been a concerted effort to get the local ‘yokels’ – whose testimony is usually reckoned at less than naught – to swear to what they saw. Neil McIntosh in Sandy Island, Canna, states that he has […]

A Dark Age British Sasquatch? November 18, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A Dark Age British Sasquatch?

*** This post is dedicated to Adrian S *** One epic poem survives from Anglo-Saxon England: Beowulf. Beowulf, for those who do not know, was a Danish hero who, in the course of said poem fights three monsters: first Grendel, second Grendel’s mother and third a dragon who gets the better of him. Grendel particularly […]

More Caithness Mermaids October 23, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern

Mermaid posts. It has been a while… This one should be read together with another nineteenth-century Caithness sighting. It cannot be a coincidence that two letters were sent at the same time relating to the same village. Presumably the publicity given to Miss Mackay in late May for her sighting, encouraged or emboldened William Munro, […]

A Dragon in Medieval East Anglia September 16, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A Dragon in Medieval East Anglia

Beach had a fabulous evening trying to convince his elder daughter (3) that dragons do exist. This involved placing a small bean bag draco at various inaccessible points of the house and creating a domestic dragon mythology: dragons only eat salted foods; dragons hate men; dragon baby’s mothers steal keys etc etc. The picture above […]

Eighteenth-century Scandinavian Merfolk September 7, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Eighteenth-century Scandinavian Merfolk

Here are a number of largely overlooked Scandinavian reports of mermaids dating from the first half of the eighteenth century. The account is rather long so these are the witness statements. Historians of cryptozoology might be interested to know that the earlier part of the text includes a reference to mermaids being ‘sea-apes’, an idea […]

The Famous Benbecula Burial of a Mermaid August 18, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Famous Benbecula Burial of a Mermaid

Beach hopes this summer and autumn to offer several obscure mermaid texts from the North Atlantic. However, he could hardly do other than include with the most famous of them all: the Benbecula sighting of c. 1830. He also hopes to shed some more light on this sighting with an obscure second source in September. […]

Mermaid Sighting in Caithness July 30, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mermaid Sighting in Caithness

Beachcombing is not, to his regret, a mermaid expert: despite occasional forays into Triton’s territory in previous posts. But he suspects that the following is not a particularly well-known mermaid source. It dates to 1809 and was sent by one Ms Mackay, the daughter of a minister no less, and was sent to the Countess […]

Mid Atlantic Frogs? July 10, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval

  Beachcombing has visited before the kamikaze Irish monks who explored the north Atlantic in the early Middle Ages refusing to steer but trusting the winds (‘God’) to take them where they would. Today he wanted, instead, to focus on an Irish encounter in the vast expanses of that ocean with a group of tiny […]

Cyclops Origins June 7, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Cyclops Origins

  Beachcombing has always had a bit of a thing about Cyclops. And who can blame him? After all, the encounter between old Round Eye and that smarty-pants pirate king from Ithica is what most children – genuine or grown – remember about the Odysseus: there is something so Roald Dahlish about the disgusting yet […]

Marco Polo Meets a Dragon? May 30, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval

Beachcombing still mouse hunting so a brief and curious passage in Marco Polo 2, 40. It is an extract that scholars – depending on their proclivities – try and ignore or enjoy overly. Leaving the city of Yachi, and traveling ten days into a westerly direction, you reach the Province of Carajan [modern Yunnan on […]

An Early Sighting of the Loch Ness Monster? April 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
An Early Sighting of the Loch Ness Monster?

Medieval saints were famous for their encounters with dangerous animals. In their Lives we read of confrontations with wolves, bears, stags and snakes; but also of meetings with more exotic creatures. Beachcombing thinks of St George facing down a dragon or St Brendan and his monks celebrating communion on the back of an enormous sea […]

The Monster of Mondoñedo April 23, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
The Monster of Mondoñedo

Summer madness approaches in Little Snoring – just the exams and marking to go and term is over. By way of celebration Beachcombing thought that today he would leave conventional (sic) history behind and partake in recipes for the madness of crowds. Think of what follows as a twenty-first-century entry for the Anarchist’s Cookbook inspired […]

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