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  • Flying Fairies, Stolen Wine and the Hat Tree August 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Flying Fairies, Stolen Wine and the Hat Tree

    Here is a very modest nineteenth-century Cornish story: it appeared in Robert Hunt, Popular Romances (1865); the piskeys are Cornish fairies (pixies). This tale is not, note, specifically Cornish, there are lots of British versions recorded in the nineteenth century, and one earlier Scottish tale. Our story has especially to do with the adventures of […]

    William Allen White’s Brush With the Elm Fairies July 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    William Allen White's Brush With the Elm Fairies

    In 1972 Fate Magazine published a fascinating article by Glenn Clairmonte (1972) examining a fairy encounter of William Allen White. For those who have never heard the name WAW (obit 1944) was a self proclaimed champion of Middle America against Conservatism. His politics don’t concern us here rather what is interesting is the fact that […]

    Cornish Bear Monster? June 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Cornish Bear Monster?

    Strangehistory has given previously some space to the Cornish ‘Methodist metaphysician’ Samuel Drew (obit 1833). Last time Samuel Drew had been accused, almost certainly falsely by Wikipedia, of witnessing a ghost army. This time Samuel’s witnessing of the paranormal can be substantiated as it appeared in his biography, the author, his son, having apparently taken […]

    Manx Judge and Manx Fairies, 1932 April 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Manx Judge and Manx Fairies, 1932

    We have noted previously here the spectacle of the fairies in a law court in nineteenth-century Ireland. However, this one came surprisingly late (11 March 1932 the report) and from the Isle of Man. The Deemster is a Manx judge: The unusual spectacle of Manx Deemster, or law-giver, weighing up the evidence for and against […]

    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 […]

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