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  • Mysterious Coffin Deposit June 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Mysterious Coffin Deposit

    John Aubrey (1626-1697) gives this curious description in Remaines (1689). What has he found here? At Priorie St Mary in the parish of Kington St Michael [in Wiltshire], have been formerly, and also lately found upon digging in the garden, in consecrated ground, severall coffins of freestone; they have all a hole, or two in the […]

    The Invisible Bean Spell February 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Invisible Bean Spell

    Location: the spell is described by the English writer John Aubrey in the 1680s. He alleges though that it was from ‘[t]he Jewes’. Aim: to grow a number of magic beans that will render the eater briefly invisible. Ingredients: some black beans, a decapitated human head, a young child. Method Aubrey’s Spell (Aubrey 1881, 102-3) […]

    Flying Boy Across the Mersey? December 16, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Flying Boy Across the Mersey?

    This interesting but very confusing passage comes from Aubrey’s wonderful Brief Lives. It is, more specifically, from the chapter on a Lancastrian mathematician named Jonas Moore who had been taught by one William Gascoigne (this becomes important). Aubrey includes several fascinating facts including the unforgettable sentence that: ‘Sciatica: [Sir Jonas] cured it by boiling his […]