jump to navigation
  • Shakespeare and Fairy Wings April 20, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Shakespeare and Fairy Wings

    In the 1890s Samuel Miller published a series of pamphlets entitled Shakespearian Costumes. The pamphlets were supposed to recreate the historical versions of Shakespeare’s characters from various plays. Indeed, on the title page we are informed: ‘compiled from authentic sources as given by Montfaucon, Royal MSS., Holbein, Zuccaro, Strutt etc.’ Beach does not look forward […]

    The Supernatural on Ngram April 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    The Supernatural on Ngram

    Beach has recently been messing about with Ngram, as his leisurely ancestors used to mess around on southern English rivers. Ngram for the uninitiated is a Google tool that allows the user to measure the frequency of certain words in Google Books. It is not as sophisticated as Google Analytics, which measures search terms. But […]

    In Search of the Anomaly Gap, 1700-1800 March 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    In Search of the Anomaly Gap, 1700-1800

    Beach has noted before on this site the way that in the enlightenment there is an ‘anomaly gap’. It becomes, from about 1700 to 1800, unfashionable to speak about the paranormal, even in jesting terms. Actually this is a very approximate rule. In Beach’s experience some forms of the supernatural are acceptable. For instance, ghosts […]

    A Green Stranger or Angel or Fairy? March 27, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Green Stranger or Angel or Fairy?

    Lots of supernatural creatures from the Green Knight to aliens are green: and the general, though by no means universal opinion of folklorists has been that green is for vegetation. Here is one reference from the late 17C* that has  confused Beach. We are in Westmorland in north-west England and this is from a one […]

    The Eternal Mystic March 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Eternal Mystic

    Beach is eternally worried about mystics, people who have or believe that they have paranormal powers. Where do they come from? What do they mean? Most studies of ‘mystics’ put them in a historical tradition. The Cunning Man in the English or, for that matter, New England countryside in the 1700s draws on Christianity, Anglo-Saxon […]

    Fairy Wind Rescue Spell March 8, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairy Wind Rescue Spell

    Location: West Ireland Aim: To rescue a man, woman or child captured by the fairies as they ride by in their fairy breeze: note that in Ireland it was commonly believed that the fairies travelled across the country is winds, typically whirling winds. Ingredients: A fairy wind, some dirt. Method: Ireland 1808 (Neilson 1808) (i) […]

    Irish Fairies in the 1930s: Marrie Walsh February 17, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Irish Fairies in the 1930s: Marrie Walsh

    How long did fairy beliefs survive in different parts of Ireland? And how well did these beliefs survive? In some senses the question should be easy to answer. After all, Ireland has the most detailed folklore records in the world. But unfortunately Irish folklorists were, after independence, more interested in folklore tales and tale types […]

    Kidnapped by the Pombero February 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Kidnapped by the Pombero

    The story starts nicely enough and then takes a decided turn for the bizarre. In July of last year (2016) a two and a half year old child was lost in the Argentinean countryside in an area of ‘bush and mountains’. Beach’s youngest is two and he shivers to think what this means. The little […]

    Best Irish Fairy Books: The Twentieth Century January 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Best Irish Fairy Books: The Twentieth Century

    Yesterday we offered the best nineteenth-century writing on Irish fairies. Today the best of the twentieth century: 1911: In this year W. Y. Evans-Wentz changed fairy writing for ever by publishing his brilliantly bizarre The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. Evans-Wentz offered a collection of fairylore for all the Celtic nations (Cornwall, Man, Scotland, Brittany, […]

    Best Irish Fairy Books: the Nineteenth Century January 14, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Best Irish Fairy Books: the Nineteenth Century

    So you have decided to become an expert on fairies. Your eyes wander over the map of western Europe and after some consideration of the different regional varieties you settle on Ireland: English fairies too pompous; Dutch fey MIA; Icelandic elves aloof; Scandinavian trolls stupid… But where do you begin? There follows a list of […]

    Fairy Vampires #1: Spence Speaks January 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairy Vampires #1: Spence Speaks

    Vampire legends arrived in Britain and Ireland from the east of Europe in the eighteenth century and were, then, celebrated in fiction in the early, mid nineteenth century (The Vampyre, 1819 and Varney the Vampire, 1847). Two of the great popularisers of vampires in, what was then, the UK were, of course, Irish: the brilliant […]

    Fairy Armies: A Medical Explanation? January 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Fairy Armies: A Medical Explanation?

    We have literally hundreds of British and Irish fairy sightings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and it is striking how often fairies are seen in battle garb: the fairy armies. Yes, there are important folklore traditions about fairies fighting each other: the hosts of Ulster against the host of Connaught, the host of Ireland […]

    Celia Alleyne: A Fairy Woman? December 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern

    In 1920 the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research published a letter from Celia Alleyne. I like this letter because having been through tens of such cases from the twentieth century now this is (a) written by a person of above average intelligence and (b) average in terms of relations with the ‘fairies’ (or […]

    Creepy Christmas Fairy Tale December 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Creepy Christmas Fairy Tale

    Here is a remarkable fairy account from Newfoundland. We are in Canada and the report appeared in the Evening Telegraph 26 Dec 1900. This, then, is a creepy Christmas story. A resident of this city, who is subject to extraordinary hallucinations, was the other night, as he seriously states himself, ‘again carried off by fairies’. […]

    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect? December 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect?

    Another fairy wings question thinking of the last two posts on the origins of fairy wings and on the production of fairy wings: what do fairy wings look like? Here Beach is going to start wide by looking at all winged flying supernatural creatures including angels, Cupid, putti (curse them), cherubs (curse them), Psyche and […]

    Page 1 of 1412345...10...Last »