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  • Murder Will Out: Unusual Bleeding Corpses December 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Murder Will Out: Unusual Bleeding Corpses

    This passage comes from one of Beach’s recent favourites (for which he must thank Mike G), the Athenian Mercury. The AM was a late seventeenth-century journal that has been described as the first advice column in history. Readers would write in questions and the editors, a cabal of level-headed Londoners, would then do their best to […]

    The Ghost in a Tree November 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Ghost in a Tree

    This little account appeared in Wilkinson and Harland, Lancashire Folk-lore (1867), 164. But they were quoting a story that had appeared in a newspaper in 1856. Beachcombing has been unable to trace the original, but honestly he didn’t try that hard. Will it be credited that thousands of people have, during the past week, crowded […]

    Milk Stealers: Paleolithic or Neolithic? November 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Prehistoric
    Milk Stealers: Paleolithic or Neolithic?

    It is a snakey week and here is a second snake post in almost as many days. There are many legends about snakes and other reptiles taking milk from nursing mothers, there are also many legends about snakes and other reptiles (and sometimes birds) taking milk from cattle. Beach has given examples of these tales […]

    Sadistic Supernatural Creatures November 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Sadistic Supernatural Creatures

    The Auld Lord was a creepy monster associated with Lowther in Westmorland (the old English county between Lancashire and Cumbria). The Auld Lord spent most of his time spinning around the countryside with headless outriders and running his coach down impossibly steep inclines. But when back at home at Lowther Hall his dark side would […]

    Witch Murder Terror at Soham (and Horseshoes) November 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Witch Murder Terror at Soham (and Horseshoes)

    A story from the depths of East Anglia (1843), one of the more isolated parts of the English countryside in the 19 Century. A rather amusing and novel occurrence was related to us the other day. A young man, the son of Mr. Elsden, a respectable tradesman of Soham, was walking from that place to […]

    Bosom Lizards in Ireland September 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Bosom Lizards in Ireland

    Beach has recently run across an incredible folklore and forteana resource: the transcripts of the 1930s Irish Schools survey where local traditions were written down by budding students and their teachers: thanks to Stephen D for sending it in. There is a lot to get excited about but first off here are three bosom serpent […]

    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 […]

    Historical Children Scarers July 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Historical Children Scarers

    ***Dedicated to Invisible*** Parents have scared children for generations with conjured horrors: the fairies, the black boggart, Jenny Greenteeth and many, many more. However, Beach today wants to look at a very select category. Historical personalities who were so horrific (or at least were imagined to be so horrific) that parents could credibly say: ‘Get […]

    What is a Headless Bear? June 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    What is a Headless Bear?

      There are many different kinds of British bogeys, but one of the oldest attested is the fearsome ‘headless bear’? The most famous record of this monster is, without any question, Shakespeare in Midsummer Night’s Dream: Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound, A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire; And neigh, and […]

    Dead Rats, Stoned Teachers and Sergeant Monday June 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dead Rats, Stoned Teachers and Sergeant Monday

    Sergeant Monday was a festival in the north-western English town of Kendal for the installation of a new mayor. Basically this was a Saturnalia for the children of the town: and by ancient convention any students in school would be ‘battered out’ by older boys, who would intimidate teachers into silence. Hundreds of kids would then […]

    Regency Love Signs May 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Regency Love Signs

    These were some interesting love tips from early nineteenth-century Britain. The sources is included, below, with apologies and joy, it is terribly wonderful. The good and bad signs are mixed naturally. If the maid has the first and last letters of her forename the same as the first and last letters of gentleman’s surname this […]

    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 […]

    Burning Libraries: Lost Yorkshire Folk Collection May 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Burning Libraries: Lost Yorkshire Folk Collection

    Beach has frequently pointed to burning libraries, lost books or in this case lost sheaves of papers. First, let’s introduce the author ‘Ariel’ writing in the Blackburn Standard in 1892. ‘Ariel’ wrote a column for this publication from the late 1880s and then right through the 1890s apparently ending in 1900: normally termed ‘Passing Notes […]

    Hare Horror in Furness! Return of the Supernatural Bunnies April 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Hare Horror in Furness! Return of the Supernatural Bunnies

    Beach has recently been enjoying the splendour of supernatural rabbits and hares. Yes, dear reader, do you remember the thud of paranormal poltergeist bunnies? What about the legendary Baum Rabbit? Or the Welsh ghost rabbit as big as a sheep? Or Boudicca’s sacrificial hare? Or the Mann witch trial hare? However, everything that he has […]

    Huge Erratic Boulders: the Westmorland Thunderstones April 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Huge Erratic Boulders: the Westmorland Thunderstones

    Thunderstones are a well known European and, indeed, international phenomenon, flint arrowheads or stone axes which were believed, by our early modern ancestors, to have descended from the sky in lightning storms. The typical praxis was that a sheep would be killed by a bolt of lightning and the family would discover, near the animal, […]

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