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  • Pook’s Hill and Kipling September 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Pook's Hill and Kipling

    There are two versions of the history of Pook’s Hill: the official version; and the official-official version. First, the official version. Kipling wrote in the Edwardian period a book for his children about English history: Puck of Pook’s Hill, published in 1906. A fairy, Puck, introduces Kipling’s two children to the marvelous wonders of the […]

    Wrong Time Bread, Wrong Place Fairies September 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Wrong Time Bread, Wrong Place Fairies

    Beach wants to introduce today a folklore custom that survived unexpectedly for three hundred years in the dark, before emerging to be briefly photographed by stunned folklorists at the end of the twentieth century. The tradition in question relates to bread. It was believed in south-west England in the 1600s that if you carried bread […]

    First Knocker Record from Wales August 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    First Knocker Record from Wales

    Knockers (aka knackers) were the tiny mine spirits described particularly in Cornwall and in Wales. They were sometimes said to be helpers, sometimes hinderers, and sometimes they warned of disasters in the pit. On this last point Beach links here to his description of a nineteenth-century mine disaster in Wales at Morfa. They arrived in […]

    Oakmen Fairy Fakes? August 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Oakmen Fairy Fakes?

      ***Sorry this post was accidentally pre-released!*** Ah, there are few things as warming to the heart as duffing up a made up folklore creature and Beach recently came across the oakman, which he now hopes to remove like a tic from the body of folklore. Katharine Briggs in her fairy dictionary writes: ‘There are […]

    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 […]

    Fairies are Oh So… Neolithic July 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
    Fairies are Oh So… Neolithic

    In his early career as a fairyist, Beach gently kicked at the idea that fairies and vegetation were connected. All this modern nonsense about fairies in roses (‘she was small with pink taffeta wings and…’) was probably getting on his nerves. But he’d now like to apologise to folklorists, to historians, to fairy-believer and, should […]

    Fairies in Old Oaks? July 12, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairies in Old Oaks?

    Beach recently came across this curious sentence in Della Hooke’s Trees in Anglo-Saxon England (103). ‘Fairy folks are in old oaks’ and on closer examination the rhyme is everywhere. It appears, for example, twice in Katharine Briggs, Dictionary of Fairies at 159 and 313. Needless to say that has also travelled, like a spore, across […]

    The Baby and the Fairy Bush June 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Baby and the Fairy Bush

    This is a heartbreaking notice from one of the Irish papers, 1862. First a little background. The Irish countryside had literally hundreds of ‘fairy trees’ (particularly thorns) and ‘fairy bushes’, which were associated with ‘the good people’: one such Fairy Bush appears here, though Beach has found no trace of it in other records. Second, […]

    The Man Who Lived with the Fairies? June 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Man Who Lived with the Fairies?

    Here is a fairy reference that is worth spending some time over. In 1919 a northwestern English scholar published this short note. In academic terms it translates into, ‘look I don’t have time for this nonsense but somewhere out there someone will be interested and, God knows, this is out of the ordinary’. No one […]

    Irish Phoenix (1897)? May 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Irish Phoenix (1897)?

    Beach likes to think that he presents an interesting series of monsters to the international anomalist, folklore horror and ghost community. But he has one regret. In largely limiting himself to British and Irish newspapers the range of fauna is often fairly modest, certainly when compared to the marvelous stuff that appears in some American […]

    Plague Oak at Wrexham (and Fairies) May 12, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Plague Oak at Wrexham (and Fairies)

    There are a number of fairy oaks in Wales, as Chris from Haunted Ohio Books, previously illustrated. But this one, the fairy oak of Wrexham, is particularly interesting because of a curious legend associated with it. This article appeared in a book of Welsh poems in 1837. Apparently the fairy tree had grown on a […]

    Grow a Tree Trick and Poltergeist Wood Chips May 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Grow a Tree Trick and Poltergeist Wood Chips

    This was one that really whets the curiosity. We are brought back to London in the early seventeenth-century, whereas this is being remembered in the later 1600s. What the hell is going on here? Dr Lamb, who was killed by the Mob for a conjurer, about 1640,* met one Morning Sir Miles Sands and Mr […]

    The Stalmine Fairy Tree: A Lancashire Mystery April 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Stalmine Fairy Tree: A Lancashire Mystery

    Here is a record that Beach simply cannot explain and that to the best of his knowledge is unique in England. Before getting to the fairy juice though some details about the document in which this unusual reference appears. Every British parish had, in the nineteenth century, tithe apportion records. The writers of these documents […]

    Review: Return to Magonia February 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Return to Magonia

    This review should begin with an important caveat. The author loathes UFOs, aliens and Close Encounters of the Third Kind: mosquito smudges on the window of our existence. Yet the book pictured above, which details a series of mysterious objects in the sky (and near to the earth) from 1662 to 1947, gripped and impressed […]

    Red Fairies #3: Do NOT Use the Chimney February 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Red Fairies #3: Do NOT Use the Chimney

    One curious folklore tradition survives about ‘the red fairies’. This is David Pennant our earliest extensive source. The traditions of the country respecting these banditti, are still extremely strong. I was told that they were so feared, that travellers did not dare go the common road to Shrewsbury, but passed over the summits of the […]

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