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  • The Campestres, Romano-British Fairies? April 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    The Campestres, Romano-British Fairies?

    Fairies appear in nineteenth-century folklore collections, seventeenth-century spells, sixteenth-century plays, tenth-century charms and (at least in Ireland) early medieval tales. How wonderful it would be to drag the evidence back into the Roman period and beyond for our native fauns. One strategy for doing so has been to turn to Romano-British inscriptions which may (just […]

    Flesh-Eating Icelandic Elves February 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Flesh-Eating Icelandic Elves

    [Brian Froud image?] About a month ago Beach ran a post describing a fairy ritual from early medieval Iceland, albeit one recorded in a twelfth-century life (see link for precious comments by Lief). Here is another example of an Icelandic work recording religious fairy lore. This is from Kormáks saga, a difficult to date work […]

    Green Children of Woolpit 5: Parallels January 26, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Green Children of Woolpit 5: Parallels

    Beach must start with apologies. He promised four posts on the green children but he was not able to contain himself. Here, then, is a fifth dreamt up in the outer rings of fever in the last couple of days (flu now been ravaging for a week). Beach set himself a simple question: to what […]

    Green Children of Woolpit 4: Why Bean Stalks? January 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Green Children of Woolpit 4: Why Bean Stalks?

    The fourth and final post on the green children of Woolpit and this time the mystery of the beans. First, William: ‘Cum ergo inedia iam paene deficerent, nec tamen aliquid ciborum, qui offerebantur, attenderent, forte ex agro contigit fabas inferri, quas illico arripientes, legumen ipsum in thyrsis quaesierunt, et nihil in concavitate thyrsorum invenientes amare […]

    Green Children of Woolpit 2: The Mysterious Source X January 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Green Children of Woolpit 2: The Mysterious Source X

    Any historical problem is based on sources and with the mystery of the Green Children of Woolpit there are three sources to be reckoned with. There is William of Newburgh, there is Ralph Coggeshall and there is, Beach is convinced, Document X, a now lost work that both writers drew upon. However, before getting to […]

    The Green Children of Woolpit 1: All Hail John Clark! January 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Green Children of Woolpit 1: All Hail John Clark!

    The green children of Woolpit is one of the most fascinating stories to come out of our medieval records. Two children, coloured green, without any knowledge of English and with unusual dietary requirements turn up in a pit just outside a Suffolk village. They are adopted by the local lord, one dies and the other […]

    Epiphany Gift 5: Latham’s Elizabethan Fairies January 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Epiphany Gift 5: Latham's Elizabethan Fairies

    A happy epiphany to all. Six year old little Miss B (her picture) has just announced that she thinks that ‘adults’ might be behind the Santa Claus lark and this seems, then, like an excellent time to give Beach’s fifth epiphany gift. This is Minor White Latham’s Elizabethan Fairies published back in 1930. In Beach’s […]

    The Mystery of the Fairy Battery January 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Mystery of the Fairy Battery

    Here is a place and a name that is hard to account for. On the 1850 Ordinance Survey map for Lancashire (79) there is a peculiar rock formation with the words Fairy Battery by the side. This is on Lowe Hill to the north of Turton and Entwistle Resevoir (already built in 1850). There follows […]

    Why Children-Stealing Gypsies? December 21, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Why Children-Stealing Gypsies?

    The idea that someone is out to get our children has been around from classical times. Several antique Christian writers, for example, credit ‘the Jews’ with stealing children and this became, by the Middle Ages, part of the notorious ‘blood libel’ for which hundreds and perhaps thousands of men, women and, yes, children of Jewish descent […]

    Faking History on the Internet #2: Fairies Dug Up in Ireland! December 7, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Faking History on the Internet #2: Fairies Dug Up in Ireland!

    Beach is really getting into all these fake history news-stories on the internet: the champions of which are the generic sounding worldnewsdailyreport, the malodorous yet strangely attractive offspring of National Enquirer rutted with the History Channel. We have reported one of their previous fictions and have an especial joy now in spreading the word that […]

    An Early Icelandic Fairy December 5, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    An Early Icelandic Fairy

    Iceland has often featured on this blog for two reasons: first, because it is a part of the formula by which the thuggish Vikings made it to the New World five centuries before Columbus; and, second, because it retains in its traditions some particularly old pagan customs, customs that have been absorbed or overlaid by […]

    New Folklore Survey: Have You a Fairy Story to Tell? November 14, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    New Folklore Survey: Have You a Fairy Story to Tell?

    Great news from London tonight. Launched in this month’s Fortean Times and run in association with the Fairy Investigation Society, which has been reconstituting for the last months and that will send out its first communication this weekend, the Fairy Census 2015-2016 is  ‘a go’ (the organizers don’t apparently follow the Gregorian calendar). Now what […]

    Roma Fairies at Blackpool November 5, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Roma Fairies at Blackpool

    There is not much to comment on here, just a very unusual passage in a classic Roma book, The Book of Boswell: Autobiography of a Gypsy (1970). The edition referred to here is the 1973 Penguin. Now to the fairies. Notice how they jump in rather matter of factly. Our author is remembering an idyllic […]

    Did Joan of Ark see Fairies? October 13, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Did Joan of Ark see Fairies?

    Anyone who has ever read a book on Joan of Ark will know that the English-hater was supposed to have had some kind of relations with fairies. But what exactly were those relations? The trial at which Joan battled for her life in 1431 included a long list of charges against the Maid. Some of these […]

    An Invisible Library Among the Fairies September 25, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    An Invisible Library Among the Fairies

    Imagine that you have just been captured by the pixies. You are dragged down into one of the underground prisons and thrown into a dim room. However, while banging your fists on the now locked door you see that there is at least one distraction: a rich volume balanced on a circular stand ‘as one sometimes […]

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