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  • 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 […]

    Making Fairy Wings December 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Making Fairy Wings

    After yesterday’s post on the origin of fairy wings, Beach now asks a parallel question. If from the later 19C children were wearing fairy wings at parties who actually made the damn things. Today there are special firms. What about in 1850 or 1890 or 27 October 1933. Here is a short article from that […]

    In Search of the Earliest Fairy Wings December 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    In Search of the Earliest Fairy Wings

    Next year Beach has to write an article on the history of fairy wings, something that he is greatly looking forward to: for absolute beginners fairies were not shown with wings until relatively recent times. There are three big historical questions: (i) when were fairies first portrayed in art or literature as wearing fairy wings; […]

    19C London Fairies and Murder November 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    19C London Fairies and Murder

    Beach has long considered himself duty bound to investigate all references to fairies, however strange and however obscene, and there have been, for a while, two references to London fairies that have irritated him because he can’t track them down: or at least he can follow them only into unattractive cul-de-sacs. First, from Carol Silver’s […]

    Wrecking Fairies November 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Wrecking Fairies

    This experience from early twentieth-century Canada combines an unlikely set of the criminal and paranormal elements: sailing, wrecking and fairies. We are in Labrador and Beach has previously referenced this source – the autobiography of a local doctor – in a sasquatch post. On one occasion, as late in the fall we were creeping  up […]

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