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  • Alabama Treasure Ghosts September 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Alabama Treasure Ghosts

    Some enjoyable treasure ghosts from the deep south… Though  this tract is now largely cleared and settled, these  traditions and ghost stories are still told and  believed by the negroes, Creoles, and ignorant  whites, Poinquinette, an old Creole fisherman and  a repository of interesting lore, has related some  of his personal encounters with the Magazine […]

    Tripadvisor Ghosts September 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Tripadvisor Ghosts

    Beach is knackered and trapped in a public computer room after coming down to a large Italian city to see his middle daughter start school. While doing some correction work on ghosts and thinking about a recent bad experience in a hotel (idiot manager): his tired mind managed to knit the two together. Does, he […]

    A Royal Ghost: Harald the Something August 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    A Royal Ghost: Harald the Something

    Harald the Fair-Headed (aka Harald Fairhead: obit c. 932) is apparently in that very select group of monarchs who became ghosts after his death. About Harald we know practically nothing, btw, other than that he fathered Eric Bloodaxe and that he won enough battles to make him the first king of Norway. Pity the poor […]

    Don’t Walk Through That Wood August 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Don't Walk Through That Wood

    This is one of those short but really quite terrifying nineteenth-century supernatural stories: the account is very raw. The person who sent in this story reckoned that the adventure had taken place about 1850. We are in Somerset in south-west England. Miss Williams of Over Stowey was returning home from Watchet late in the evening, and near…. her pony […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 7: Embellishments August 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 7: Embellishments

    One of the funnest bits of any in depth historical examination of Forteana comes at the end. You turn from the original sources to the later sources, just to have a sense of how big the snowball has got rolling down the hill. Fortean researchers are exceptional at hunting out sources, but rather worse at critically […]

    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 […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 5: Explanations August 7, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 5: Explanations

    How do you explain something like the Souter Fell sighting. Let’s simplify for a moment and focus on the 1744/45 sighting where some twenty six locals saw, for the last two hours of daylight, a series of horse men riding up the ridge to the top of the mountain. What options for explanation do we […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 4: Reconstruction August 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 4: Reconstruction

    The great problem with the two accounts we have just given – Anon (1747) and Clarke (1787) – are the contradictions in number and the years of the events. According to Anon there were three events: 1735, 1737 and 1745. According to Clarke there were just two: 1743, and 1744. How do we begin to explain this? […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 3: James Clarke Speaks August 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 3: James Clarke Speaks

    James Clarke wrote a number of late nineteenth-century works on the north west. This comes from one of these: A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire published in 1787 Opposite the nine-mile post, on the right hand, is Southerfell; rather smoother than its neighbours, and remarkable for an extraordinary phenomenon, which perhaps […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 2: The 1747 Account (Surviving and Missing) August 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 2: The 1747 Account (Surviving and Missing)

      The first account appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine 1747, 523-5, in a longer anonymous article on ‘A Journey to Caudebec Fells with a Map and Description of the same’ Souter-fell is a distinguish’d mountain of itself, encompass’d quite round with a turbinated trough, thro’ which the Lender-maken is convey’d. The West and North sides […]

    The Spectres of Souther Fell 1: The Sources August 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spectres of Souther Fell 1: The Sources

    Beach is usually bored by phantom armies. But the Souter Fell spectres of the mid-eighteenth-century have several interesting features. First, the sources are of an unusually high quality. Second, the number of witnesses was allegedly high. Third, there are some interesting links with the folklore of the region. So let’s get on with the details […]

    Sunderland Ghost Riot and Prophecy July 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Sunderland Ghost Riot and Prophecy

    This story is interesting as a particularly elaborate ghost riot. Usually nineteenth century ghost riots took place when someone saw something or pretended to see something and next thing there were ten thousand people, a dozen injured bobbies and a lot of broken window panes. This one has a much more precise if curious rumour […]

    Fairies are Oh So… Neolithic July 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
    Fairies are Oh So… Neolithic

    In his early career as a fairyist, Beach gently kicked at the idea that fairies and vegetation were connected. All this modern nonsense about fairies in roses (‘she was small with pink taffeta wings and…’) was probably getting on his nerves. But he’d now like to apologise to folklorists, to historians, to fairy-believer and, should […]

    Review: Spirits of an Industrial Age July 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: Spirits of an Industrial Age

    There are few pleasures greater in the second decade of the twenty-first century than picking up a self-published volume and finding that it is actually a good read. (For younger readers this simply did not happen thirty years ago). Enter from the left stage Spirits of an Industrial Age: Ghost Impersonation, Spring-heeled Jack and Victorian Society […]

    Norfolk Shape Shifter June 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Norfolk Shape Shifter

    Here we have a fairly rare thing. A Norfolk ghost story. During the passing of the third decade of the present century [1830s] I had not reached my teens, but distinctly remember that the inhabitants of Thetford generally, and young folks in particular, were greatly alarmed by prevalent report of a frightful monster—which had been […]

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