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  • Churn Milk Peg January 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Churn Milk Peg

    There are few greater pleasures than bringing half- or three-quarter forgotten British bogeys back from the dead. Churn-Milk Peg was a psychotic old dear who would sit in glades of nut trees and smoke a pipe, waiting for children to come along to pick from her trees: ‘churn milk nuts’ were unripe nuts. In as […]

    The Last English Hobbits? January 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Last English Hobbits?

    Ludchurch (aka Lud’s Church, Lud Church) is not a church. It is a haunted ravine in the English midlands, Staffordshire, that has been frequently associated with the supernatural. The photo above will hopefully give some idea of what it is like. It has also been associated with an underground race of hominids in caves that […]

    A Linguistic Family Tree of North-West European Fairies January 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    A Linguistic Family Tree of North-West European Fairies

    Word history is particularly fraught where supernatural creatures are involved. Uncanny things multiply with such disconcerting speed (often varying from valley to valley) that the normal philological approaches can easily get stuck in the mud. A particularly painful example of this is what might be called the bugge family. Bugge meant demon or spirit in Middle English: […]

    Wesley Ghost #9: Fairy, Witch or Demon? November 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Wesley Ghost #9: Fairy, Witch or Demon?

    In previous posts Jeffrey has been explained by this blogger as a product of life in a strictly regulated religious setting, where adolescent girls were yoked to Samuel Wesley’s strict high Anglican ideals. There is a very good chance that this is the key to understanding the poltergeist events and that some sort of poltergeist […]

    Mine Disaster Premonitions at Morfa November 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mine Disaster Premonitions at Morfa

    10 March 1890 one of the worst mining accidents in British history* took place in Morfa in South Wales. 87 miners were killed. A gas explosion had been set off, probably by an unfastened lamp. Interestingly the local community had had forebodings before the explosion. This article came out almost two months later in the […]

    Review: A Trojan Feast November 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: A Trojan Feast

    Now here’s an easy question on mythology. Tomorrow at noon you will be taken off to the infernal regions by an underworld spirit. You have twenty four hours to prep from the seventy or eighty volumes of mythology on your shelves. What one lesson do you bring away from your reading before you are taken below? It’s […]

    Fairy Human Relations: Dangerous Reflections October 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Fairy Human Relations: Dangerous Reflections

    ***Dedicated to Chris with question marks*** There is a modern idea that fairies are the spirit of vegetation, the spirits of the land. Human beings, meanwhile, are their polluting, urbanizing neighbours. The two represent, respectively, the forces of life and entropy and are on a permanent collision course. Traditional views of European fairies were rather […]

    Human Pixy-Leading in Suffolk September 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Human Pixy-Leading in Suffolk

    As noted before in this place Suffolk, where this story took place, is part of East Anglia in which witch traditions were particularly strong. In fact, so strong were these witching traditions that sometimes they blotted out other parallel traditions. Fairylore, for example, are difficult to dig up in this part of England. Take this lovely […]

    Scooby Doo Crime 3#: the Good Ladies Rob a Peasant September 17, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Scooby Doo Crime 3#: the Good Ladies Rob a Peasant

    Imagine a single story that manages to combine three favourite Beachombian tags: crime, fairies, and practical jokes. Enjoy. And similarly, as people in a certain parish in the diocese of Besançon [north-east France] believed in parallel things, some jokers dressed up as women and, appearing in this way, they entered the house of a rich peasant […]

    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 […]

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