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  • The Spectres of Souther Fell 7: Embellishments August 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 7: Embellishments

    One of the funnest bits of any in depth historical examination of Forteana comes at the end. You turn from the original sources to the later sources, just to have a sense of how big the snowball has got rolling down the hill. Fortean researchers are exceptional at hunting out sources, but rather worse at critically […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 6: Folklore August 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 6: Folklore

    There have been a couple of attempts to explain Souter Fell in terms of local folklore traditions, though this barely featured in our two main sources. The first explanation appears in volume one of Moncure Daniel Conway, Demonology and devil-lore (New York 1879): Thus it may be noted that, in the instance just related, the […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 5: Explanations August 7, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 5: Explanations

    How do you explain something like the Souter Fell sighting. Let’s simplify for a moment and focus on the 1744/45 sighting where some twenty six locals saw, for the last two hours of daylight, a series of horse men riding up the ridge to the top of the mountain. What options for explanation do we […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 4: Reconstruction August 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 4: Reconstruction

    The great problem with the two accounts we have just given – Anon (1747) and Clarke (1787) – are the contradictions in number and the years of the events. According to Anon there were three events: 1735, 1737 and 1745. According to Clarke there were just two: 1743, and 1744. How do we begin to explain this? […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 3: James Clarke Speaks August 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 3: James Clarke Speaks

    James Clarke wrote a number of late nineteenth-century works on the north west. This comes from one of these: A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire published in 1787 Opposite the nine-mile post, on the right hand, is Southerfell; rather smoother than its neighbours, and remarkable for an extraordinary phenomenon, which perhaps […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 2: The 1747 Account (Surviving and Missing) August 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 2: The 1747 Account (Surviving and Missing)

      The first account appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine 1747, 523-5, in a longer anonymous article on ‘A Journey to Caudebec Fells with a Map and Description of the same’ Souter-fell is a distinguish’d mountain of itself, encompass’d quite round with a turbinated trough, thro’ which the Lender-maken is convey’d. The West and North sides […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 1: The Sources August 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 1: The Sources

    Beach is usually bored by phantom armies. But the Souter Fell spectres of the mid-eighteenth-century have several interesting features. First, the sources are of an unusually high quality. Second, the number of witnesses was allegedly high. Third, there are some interesting links with the folklore of the region. So let’s get on with the details […]

    Perhaps in My Father’s Time… July 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Perhaps in My Father's Time...

    Beach and his loved ones are having a difficult time. A friend on holiday has shattered his heel and is now in hospital awaiting an operation. He doesn’t speak Italian and so Beach has been drafted into sitting in the hospital ward to make everything run smoothly. Beach hates hospitals. At least, though, he can […]

    The Mermaid Con September 13, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Mermaid Con

    Before starting out his research on swindles and confidence tricksters, Beach would never have imagined that there could be a mermaid con. This one came from the Gold Coast in Africa and was reported by the head of British administration there in 1923. Not Eve Pos, 6 Oct 1923, 3 A rogue will tell a […]

    Witch Violence in Nineteenth-Century Cumbria August 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Witch Violence in Nineteenth-Century Cumbria

    A modest attempt to shed some light on a peculiar act of near murder from Yorkshire, August 1874. We are at Garsdale in Cumbria in one of the wildest parts of the UK and Levi Abbott an excavator on the railway (navvy?) is in court because he has wounded Ellen Bowers, his landlady who kept […]

    Nancy Price, the FIS and a Troll at the Seaside December 21, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Nancy Price, the FIS and a Troll at the Seaside

    Nancy Price was an English actress who was famous in her day and yet is now all but forgotten: thespians suffer that fate. NP interests Beach because, in the 1950s, she was a member of the Fairy Investigation Society. You would have thought that anyone who would care to get involved in such an unfashionable […]

    Fairy Gifts October 2, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Fairy Gifts

    ***This post is dedicated to Invisible*** Beachcombing has sometimes lamented in this place the passing of the fairy faith be that in Essex, the Isle of Man or Yorkshire. How refreshing then to learn that in one corner of Europe the locals still walk in terror of the little folk. Beachcombing refers, of course, to […]