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Fairy Witches #1: Joan Tyrry of Taunton March 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Fairy Witches #1: Joan Tyrry of Taunton

Who was Joan Tyrry [Terry]? Beach knows very little, too little, in fact. And everything he does know about this sixteenth-century woman comes from Keith Thomas who in the 1960s visited Wells Diocesan Records and opened the dusty old boxes with A21 and A22 where her trial is recorded. KT never gave a detailed description […]

Review: Witches, Fantasies and Fairies March 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Review: Witches, Fantasies and Fairies

In 1966 Carlo Ginzburg, a WANW Italian historian, published I Benandanti. In this book, Ginzburg argued that a group of sixteenth-century Friulian peasants, who believed themselves to have  super powers – they could fly and fight witches – were the last traces of a pre-Christian fertility cult in the region. Ginzburg went on to argue that […]

Lucy Bruce, Iona and the Fairy Investigation Society March 5, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Lucy Bruce, Iona and the Fairy Investigation Society

Miss Lucy Bruce is a virtually forgotten twentieth-century mystic, who spent some of her life on the Isle of Iona in Scotland. She interests the writer of this post because she was a member of the Fairy Investigation Society and he is presently trying to learn more about the organization by tracking all members down: […]

Boggart of Shatton February 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Boggart of Shatton

The Boggart is a solitary and typically pretty nasty fairy. The following is an unusually detailed early twentieth- or perhaps late nineteenth-century account. Our author (writing in the 1950s) notes that the Boggart ‘attacked man and beast’ and then continues: The Boggart would appear to have instilled in the people of the Peak a dread […]

In Search of the Tooth of the Fairy Dog February 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
In Search of the Tooth of the Fairy Dog

Fairy dogs are the Scottish and above all the Hebridean equivalent of the East Anglian shuck: black or white or green (!) hounds that appear in the night and that bring with them portents. Of course, the fairy dog is an intangible creature, probably to be looked for in the subconscious rather than in the […]

Luck, Shysters and Jack O’Lantern February 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Luck, Shysters and Jack O'Lantern

As this year’s epiphany gift Beach put up the only two numbers of a Fortean magazine from the 1940s entitled New Frontiers: we couldn’t host this on the website because of an upload limit, and we had to trust some external site which proved unreliable. Thanks to our webmaster, Raoul, the magazine though has now […]

Mysterious Death on Iona, 1929 January 31, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Mysterious Death on Iona, 1929

17 November 1929 a woman died in mysterious circumstances on the island of Iona in Scotland. She was named Marie Emily Fornario though she more normally went by the name Netta Fornario or simply Mac. Netta, as we’ll call her here, was involved in the occult movements of the day including the Alpha et Omega […]

Review: Running with the Fairies January 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Review: Running with the Fairies

Scholarly fairy books are rare indeed: they average at about one every four years. Not many at all when you think that a score of volumes on Vietnam are published each month. This infrequency means that it is always extremely exciting when a new member of the fairy family shuffles onto the stage. So, with […]

Wiccans and Fairy Shamans: Priority? January 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Wiccans and Fairy Shamans: Priority?

In the last thirty years there have been growing numbers of men and women who have expressed a belief in fairies: for a minority of these communion with fairies has come to take on the outlines of a of religious system. We even read of ‘fairy shamanism’ and special ‘congresses’ where believers experiment with contact […]

Silent Fairies January 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Silent Fairies

Fairies and silent films… Who would have guessed that our great great grandparents troubled to make shorts about the winged folk? But they did and some are really quite beautiful. The first one that we stumbled upon was Princess Nicotine (aka The Smoke Fairy), a classic of its kind. A smoker falls asleep and then […]

The Fairy of Florence Campanile December 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
The Fairy of Florence Campanile

Fairies are in short supply in Italy. But recently, working through some folklore books relating to Florence, we were surprised to find a series of urban ‘good folk’ in the city. Bellosguardo had, it seems, a fairy. Via del Corno also. As did the Bargello – it was red, for blood? – and the tower […]

Nancy Price, the FIS and a Troll at the Seaside December 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Nancy Price, the FIS and a Troll at the Seaside

Nancy Price was an English actress who was famous in her day and yet is now all but forgotten: thespians suffer that fate. NP interests Beach because, in the 1950s, she was a member of the Fairy Investigation Society. You would have thought that anyone who would care to get involved in such an unfashionable […]

Alpine Fairy Music December 14, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Alpine Fairy Music

Fairy music is one of the least studied and yet one of the most curious parts of the world of fairy. Why are these curious beings so strongly associated with melodies? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com What is fairy music like? And do all fairy peoples in the world play the violin? Beach can’t even […]

BB and Fairy Belief December 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
BB and Fairy Belief

BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford, obit 1990) was a superlative writer and illustrator, who spent most of his time celebrating gnomes, the English countryside and fowling: his pseudonym comes from the BB shot used to bring down wild geese. For present purposes, we are interested in BB and gnomes for the man wrote two excellent gnome books […]

A Fairy Cup? November 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A Fairy Cup?

Another of these almost forgotten fairy stories recorded in the early fourteenth century. Fairy clues include the mound (fairies live in hills or is this a grave?), the benevolent fairy and the human attempt to steal a prize from fairyland. Rather you than me. Here is another thing, no less wonderful and quite widely known, […]

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