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  • Did You Hear the One About the Ring… July 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Did You Hear the One About the Ring...

    Curious about ring legends? This blogger recently went through the international folklore indexes in search of rings so you don’t have to: you can waste a lot of time there… Yes, he found the boring old chestnuts: ring found in fish; ring cut from corpse etc. etc. But there are also some marvelously bizarre and […]

    Buckinghamshire Fairies and Little Witches July 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Buckinghamshire Fairies and Little Witches

    Fairy legends are common in the Celtic fringes and the north of Britain. They are to be found in northern England and south central England: they also occasionally crop up in the English Midlands. However, they were as rare as gold dust in south-eastern England and East Anglia by the time that folklore records were […]

    Operation Resurrection: British Folklore July 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Operation Resurrection: British Folklore

    British folklorists badly screwed up their own discipline in the late nineteenth century. When they should have been collecting the rich crops from the home counties and the north and midlands they, instead, indulged in premature comparative work, looking overseas for answers to stupidly ambitious questions. The comparison with some of Britain’s smaller European neighbours […]

    King’s Evil and a Two-Hundred-Year-Old Charm June 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    King's Evil and a Two-Hundred-Year-Old Charm

    The King’s Evil (aka scrofula) was a form of tuberculosis that created horrific injuries on the skin’s surface, particular in the neck area. It could only be cured, many early modern French and British sufferers believed, by contact with royalty: a sufferer would go to the king or queen, be touched, and cured. The practice […]

    The Lost Canyon and the Impossible Buffalo June 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Lost Canyon and the Impossible Buffalo

    This fine ‘lost valley’ story comes from Texas, but the tale of the shepherd who accidentally walks through into a hidden dell or stumbles up, while chasing a lamb, onto an unknown plateau is probably as old as our Neolithic ancestors. This particular version was collected by J. Frank Dobie at the end of the nineteenth century. West […]

    Woman to be Stoned and Blindfolded Priest June 4, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Woman to be Stoned and Blindfolded Priest

    Unpleasant story warning. This dates to 1834 and incredibly was given in a public talk at the Society for the Conversion of the Jews. It is clearly a legend (there are many European parallels): see below. But Beach is desperately looking for more of the same from fiction or from ‘fact’. A clergyman in London, […]

    Chased into a Sicilian Hell May 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Chased into a Sicilian Hell

    This is a great supernatural stories from 18C England. The earliest version known to this blogger dates to 1793. Note that this is a much later version that claims to be based on actual records. Beach doesn’t believe that for a second. Ha! It is almost identical and entire passages word-for-word the same. An Account of Mr. […]

    Big Ben Superstitions April 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Big Ben Superstitions

    Big Ben the great bell that rings out from Westminster is a central part of British identity: not least because its chimes have, for many years, sounded on national radio and television programs. It would hardly be surprising then that there are superstitions about Big Ben, but what is surprising is that these seem not […]

    Granddad Became a Seal March 21, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Granddad Became a Seal

    Busy day here as the students are to be crucified in a ritual quiz. Here is a curious seal story from Ireland; there are, Beach thinks, other British or Irish story of humans becoming animals at death, but he can’t find them. Can anyone help? drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com I don’t exactly know whether […]

    The Eternal Mystic March 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Eternal Mystic

    Beach is eternally worried about mystics, people who have or believe that they have paranormal powers. Where do they come from? What do they mean? Most studies of ‘mystics’ put them in a historical tradition. The Cunning Man in the English or, for that matter, New England countryside in the 1700s draws on Christianity, Anglo-Saxon […]

    Are Weasels Poisonous? March 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Are Weasels Poisonous?

    A few weeks ago Beach offered a description of fairy traditions from Marrie Walsh’s An Irish country Childhood (1996). While reading he was also struck by this tradition about weasels. What is fascinating here is that the weasel is given (in a country where snakes are in short supply) the role normally given in European […]

    Early Alien Encounter February 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Early Alien Encounter

    This is a particularly precious account from the Athenian Mercury, a late seventeenth-century publication. As Beach is always interested in encounters with supernatural entities he thought that he would print it in full: this might stand as an early alien encounter. He likes the way the narrative unwinds. He didn’t see the climax coming. Not […]

    Kidnapped by the Pombero February 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Kidnapped by the Pombero

    The story starts nicely enough and then takes a decided turn for the bizarre. In July of last year (2016) a two and a half year old child was lost in the Argentinean countryside in an area of ‘bush and mountains’. Beach’s youngest is two and he shivers to think what this means. The little […]

    Mermaid Lies January 24, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Lies

    Thomas Crofton Croker was an early mid, nineteenth century Irish writer, most famous today for his Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, which appeared in three volumes between 1825 and 1828. Croker was not, in the modern sense, a folklorist. Some of the stories he wrote out he had heard as a […]

    Epiphany Gift: Superstitions of the Irish Peasantry January 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Epiphany Gift: Superstitions of the Irish Peasantry

    These nine stories were published in 1825, then somehow fell through the cracks of history. William Wilde (Oscar’s dad) claimed in 1852 that they were the best things out there on Irish folklore. Yeats later (from what Beach can see) pretended to have read them, but there is suggestive evidence that he had not. Here […]

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