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Authority in the Village from Italy to Ireland October 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Authority in the Village from Italy to Ireland

Beach lives today in a small village in central Italy. The village is isolated and there has been little marriage with ‘outsiders’. Up on the hills, barely disturbed by such inconveniences as the twentieth century – the Germans occupied for a couple of weeks and blew up half a dozen houses – the folk kicking […]

Paranormal Smells October 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Modern
Paranormal Smells

Maybe it was the recent review of Thomas’ essay on farts but Beach has been obsessed with smells and paranormal experiences: perhaps in part because some neurological malfunctioning can lead to strong and unexpected smells; there is a pungent field for research there. Long, long ago we looked at a fairy bad smell story and since […]

Fairy and Diary September 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Fairy and Diary

Just recently Beach came across an eighteenth-century diary with a strange fairy reference and wondered if any readers could help with trying to get to the bottom of it. First, we should say that the diary, by one Rev John Thomlinson, is full of highly elliptical references: it was definitely not for public consumption, but […]

Review: The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England September 25, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Review: The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England

Academia usually shuffles anxiously away from the bizarre, but every so often a historian of note decides to take on something strange – crucifying cats, delusional werewolves… – and produces insights into the past. Imagine, instead, though that a whole soccer team of first-rank historians huddled together and determined to sprint after curious events, instead […]

Fairies and Potatoes September 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Fairies and Potatoes

  A curious story from the beginning of that most slaughter of the innocents, the Irish potato famine. Dr Edgar, an Ulsterman is out and about with his friend Mr Brannigan, who later recalled the episode. ‘On the day after the examination of the Irish schools,’ continues Mr. Brannigan, ‘[Dr Edgar] took a walk with […]

Review: The Hikey Sprites September 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Review: The Hikey Sprites

Review of Ray Loveday, The Hikey Sprites: The Twilight of a Norfolk Tradition (Norfolk 2009) The Hikey Sprites (aka Hyter Sprites) were Norfolk fairies that were summoned up by parents and grandparents to corral children into decency: ‘you be good or the Hikeys will get you’; ‘get home before dark or the Hikeys will get […]

Strange Fairy Encounter, Co Limerick 1939 August 25, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Strange Fairy Encounter, Co Limerick 1939

This story comes from an Australian newspaper though it relates to distant Ireland, September 1938. The nature of newspaper digitization is that the nineteenth century is now far better covered than the twentieth century and so all too often getting the right source can prove a problem. Anyway what was going on in Ireland as […]

Fairy Knick Knacks: The Five Strangest August 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Fairy Knick Knacks: The Five Strangest

Beach has had a couple of trippy days looking for unusual fairy gifts for a close friend. In doing so he began to understand what a truly strange yet enchanting world modern fairy enthusiasts inhabit. Here are Beach’s top five favourite fairy gifts for the Celtic Faery Shaman who has everything. Enjoy. In fifth place […]

The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost! August 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost!

An attempt follows to draw the not-so-golden threads of the Golden Ghost together.  We have definite evidence from Rev. Clough that in 1833 when the grave was dug that there was the story in the locality of a golden ghost associated with the tomb. However, there are a number of problems with this. First, only […]

Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies? August 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies?

  Beach is very gradually dipping his big toe into the world of black dogs: those fearsome creatures with eyes as big as saucers burning like fire seen out and about in the British countryside. The key guide is Trubshaw’s Explore Phantom Black Dogs that has a number of fascinating essays including an introduction by  […]

The Golden Ghost of Mold #4: Ludlam’s Account August 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
The Golden Ghost of Mold #4: Ludlam's Account

Another from our series on the Golden Ghost of Mold. This report dates from 1966 and from Harry Ludlam’s fun The Mummy of Birchen Bower. Ludlam was a ‘gifted amateur’ with a better grasp of facts, in this case, than the Oxford published Walter Johnson, who we were a little rude about in a previous […]

The Golden Ghost of Mold #2: Walter Johnson Debases Gold August 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
The Golden Ghost of Mold #2: Walter Johnson Debases Gold

Beach has frequently enjoyed before the power of oral transmission: information skipping across the centuries like a flat stone spun over a pond. Here is a supposed memory of oral transmission concerning the Golden Ghost tomb from Mold in northern Wales. This time the account comes from Walter Johnson’s Folk Memory and Archaeology (1907) A […]

Pfil and Pamela: Fairies of Eastern Promise? August 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Pfil and Pamela: Fairies of Eastern Promise?

Beach has previously advertised the splendors of the fairies of the east: particularly that  nature elemental Totoro, one of the great film heroes of the last generation. However, this summer while researching fairy comics – there are not as many as he had hoped… – Beach came across another eastern contribution to the modern fairy […]

The Golden Ghost of Mold #1: Introducing the Golden Ghost August 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
The Golden Ghost of Mold #1: Introducing the Golden Ghost

There follows a ghost story. It is brief and it is archaeological. If M.R.James had heard of this one he would have made bales of ectoplasmic hay. We are in North-West Wales. A certain John Langford had bought some land at Mold near Wrexham and had decided to fill in a hole there by paying […]

Fairies in Space August 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Fairies in Space

After some rather nauseating episodes in Victorian fairy stories fairies became scary again in the late nineteenth century with the writing of men like ‘Fiona MacLeod’ (William Sharp) and, of course, Arthur Machen. Scary fairies were a late Victorian and Edwardian topos and we’ve looked before at the way the tradition developed and some examples. […]

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