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Mutant Hares, Modern Satyrs and Centaurs July 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mutant Hares, Modern Satyrs and Centaurs

Fairies are so ‘yesterday’. What about the more exotic fauna from the forests of the imagination? Let’s start with the mutant hare at Windsor! I remember Lilian, Countess of Cromartie, telling me of a strange incident that once happened to her. She was walking alone one bright summer morning in Windsor Great Park. Suddenly she […]

‘Psychic’ Phenomena: Trends in Time? July 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
'Psychic' Phenomena: Trends in Time?

Beach has had a lot of fun today reading Andrew Lang from morning to the kids’ homecoming. What a pleasure! Lang (obit 1912) was a Victorian/Edwardian writer who had a clear fascination with psychic-phenomena among many, many other things. But Lang was tough-minded and always looked for other solutions before starting on about clairvoyance or […]

The Trolls That Tuck You In July 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Trolls That Tuck You In

1980 a British psychic is in Finland. ‘I had hardly made myself comfortable [in the bedroom], and I was certainly not asleep or even dozing, when I heard chattering all around me. There were people in the room. Perhaps, thinking I was asleep, they had come to inspect the strange creature in their midst from […]

Kobolds and Lights in Derbyshire July 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Kobolds and Lights in Derbyshire

Beach is particularly proud of this one. It came from the pen of a spiritualist and relates to an experience c. 1860. It is now some few years since, being in the neighbourhood of a lovely valley called Dovedale, in the County of Derbyshire, England, I heard my kind host and hostess, Mr and Mrs […]

Flying In and Out of Windows July 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Flying In and Out of Windows

Forget Padre Pio fighting allied bombers and St Joseph of Cupertino who allegedly flew from the middle of a church to the high altar. The man that really stands out as the great modern levitator is the remarkable Daniel Dunglas Home playing peekaboo at a third floor window in London in 1868. Here is a […]

A Welsh Mermaid and the Bastard with the Binoculars June 9, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
A Welsh Mermaid and the Bastard with the Binoculars

When people see strange things they rave to friends, family and (sometimes) newspapers. When they see strange things that reveal themselves to be something utterly pedestrian, the marvel is quickly forgotten. This is, in some ways, a shame as accounts of misperception probably bring us closer to the enigmas of the world than hours and […]

The Monger-Goss Theory of Dragons and ABCs June 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Monger-Goss Theory of Dragons and ABCs

Just last week Beach was looking into dragon accounts from seventeenth century England. And in searching for dragon-related material he stumbled on an article that he feels deserves to be better known and perhaps celebrated. The article in question is George Monger’s ‘Dragons and Big Cats’ published in the illustrious journal of British myth and […]

Seventeenth-Century English Dragons May 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Seventeenth-Century English Dragons

Beachcombing recently highlighted the case of a giant serpent in nineteenth-century Devon, a snake that was as thick as a thigh. Beach had assumed that this was a one off, but now he is wondering as he found a second reference to go with it. This one comes from a pamphlet with a straight-to-the-point title: The […]

Cellini and the Salamander May 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Cellini and the Salamander

***Dedicated to Michael F who sent this in*** We last saw Benvenuto Cellini (obit 1571) imprinted on a French/Spanish/Scottish canon. Fourteen months on, here is a little doodle from Cellini’s infancy, judging by his autobiography the happiest years of his chaotic life. When I was about five years old [c. 1505] my father happened to […]

The Problem with Sea Apes May 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
The Problem with Sea Apes

***Dedicated to Andy the Mad Monk and Invisible*** Beach has, since the early days of this site, shown a persistent interest in mermaids. It would be outrageous then to pass by the important new documentary coming out (or has it already aired?) on Animal Planet. The following is borrowed from Wikipedia (courtesy of the inestimable […]

The Great Snake Scare of 1828 May 16, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Great Snake Scare of 1828

A cute little WtH story from deepest Devon (Tavistock) about a cryptid snake. Beach knows that nineteenth-century newspapers had a great time making up serpents and other monsters, cue ‘the 200-foot-long Hideous Ice Worm‘ with hat tip to Invisible. But in this case local tradition seems to have done the job for them. I think […]

The Leprechauns of Liverpool and the Bowling Green from Hell May 14, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Leprechauns of Liverpool and the Bowling Green from Hell

Beachcombing has been spending some time in the last few days looking at the fairy lore of Irish immigrants: spurred on by his continuing failure to find the New York changeling case. Not surprisingly the city of Liverpool stuck out: Liverpool was flooded by Irish workers in the nineteenth century, particularly after the horrors of […]

Hauntings and Technology: the Teflon Effect January 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Hauntings and Technology: the Teflon Effect

Not a month ago Beachcombing reflected on the strange way that Roman ghosts are a modern invention and the way too that there are apparently fashions in which historical periods haunt and which do not. Beach thought that today he would reflect, instead, on a different but surely related phenomenon, the apparent allergy that new […]

The Earliest Roman Ghost in Britain January 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Earliest Roman Ghost in Britain

Owen Davies in his fascinating The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts notes the way that strangely (or obviously if you are a sceptic like Beachcombing) ghosts follow the fashions and interests of their times. Take OD’s thoughts, for example, on Roman ghosts in the UK. The most recent addition to the corpus of heritage […]

Socrates, Sneezing and Daemons December 31, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Socrates, Sneezing and Daemons

Socrates is the bedrock on which the western philosophical tradition has been built. You can polish him like Plotinus. You can take your geological hammer and tap gently at his sides in the style of Aristotle (poor dolt). Or you can start smashing bottles of nitric acid on his stone-work as Nietzsche did. The fact […]

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