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  • 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 […]

    Lost Sounds #2: London Street Cries, c. 1700 May 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lost Sounds #2: London Street Cries, c. 1700

    Beach offers the second in his series of lost sounds: the noises that were familiar to our ancestors but that have now for ever vanished and that we struggle to reconstruct. Last time, the Lancashire clog charge, this time the criers of early eighteenth-century London. The idea of London street criers, perhaps particularly from Victorian […]

    Early Modern Sentries and the Supernatural May 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Early Modern Sentries and the Supernatural

    Beach has previously examined the frequent paranormal experiences of sentries in the nineteenth century: with the help of Chris from Haunted Ohio Books. It has, long-time readers will remember, been suggested that lonely, potentially violent men asked to spend the night, attentive to every noise and movement, might easily conjure up ‘something’. Here are two […]

    Urban Legends: Saved by Thieves May 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Urban Legends: Saved by Thieves

    Another in our Victorian Urban Legends series. This looks like the ancestor (or more likely one of the many ancestors) of the modern Mafia Neighbours, story. You know the one, young married couple move into the neighbourhood, all their new furniture is stolen while they are on their honeymoon, but when they tell an elderly […]

    Grow a Tree Trick and Poltergeist Wood Chips May 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Grow a Tree Trick and Poltergeist Wood Chips

    This was one that really whets the curiosity. We are brought back to London in the early seventeenth-century, whereas this is being remembered in the later 1600s. What the hell is going on here? Dr Lamb, who was killed by the Mob for a conjurer, about 1640,* met one Morning Sir Miles Sands and Mr […]

    The Oracle: A Victorian Computer? March 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Oracle: A Victorian Computer?

    OK, OK there were no personal computers in 1884. But the following ‘Oracle’ sounds as if it was mapping out, imaginatively, the territory that computers would make for themselves. We are in the UK: our source the Leighton Buzzard Obs, 1 Jan 1884. Dr. Lloyd, the medical officer of St. Giles’s Workhouse, attended before Sir […]

    An Urban Legend: The Vanishing Car March 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    An Urban Legend: The Vanishing Car

    This is a very exciting ghost story, because it seems to be an early version of the most famous (and at least to this blogger) the most satisfying modern urban legend: the vanishing hitchhiker: hitchiker picked up who it later transpires was a ghost. Admittedly the story is turned on its head: the driver and […]

    London Polt October 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    London Polt

    We are in London in 1847, in a religious family. The whole of the neighbourhood of Black Lion Lane, Bayswater is ringing with the extraordinary occurrences that have recently happened in the house of Mr. Williams in the Moscow Road, and which bear a strong resemblance to the celebrated Stockwell ghost affair in 1772. The […]

    Georgian Magic School October 13, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Georgian Magic School

    The Magus by Francis Barrett (London 1801) is a typical work of modern magic: plagiarized from earlier works with badly drawn Hebrew letters strewn about like rice at a wedding. But the author Francis had one novel feature in his book. His announcement of, Beach can barely hold back his excitement, a magic school in […]

    London Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    London Swindles in the Nineteenth Century

    Here are some lovely London swindles from the nineteenth-century. Bet Swindle: Victim in railway carriage joined by man x and man y (travelling separately), man x loquacious and obnoxious American who bets victim that Henry VIII had six not seven wives. The two agree to wager five pounds that they give to y. Y turns […]

    The Tower Monster #10: Cobblers July 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #10: Cobblers

    This wrap-up post looks at some of the modern accounts of the cylinder/bear ghost and particularly their inaccuracies. This is not done in a condescending way or with spite: this blogger makes factual mistake after factual mistake as his readers constantly remind him. It is, instead, to show again how we, with paranormal sources, where […]

    The Tower Monster #9: The Sexual Predator Ghost July 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #9: The Sexual Predator Ghost

    Chris from Haunted Ohio Books a world authority on ghosts (and urban legends, and fairies and…) has written in with an extract from a book entitled Familiar Spirits: Sexual Hauntings Through the Ages, Colin Waters, Robert Hale,1993, (for pdf extract click here) sexual hauntings. CW reviews the evidence but then reveals a new source ‘another nineteenth century […]

    The Tower Monster #6: Shoe Polish Devil at the Tower July 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #6: Shoe Polish Devil at the Tower

    This poem appears as part of the Tower Ghost series. It appeared in an Irish paper in 1825 and was an advert for Warren’s shoe Blacking! Beach includes it because it looks very much like an outer ripple from the events of 1816. The problem is the story, which has escaped this careful reader. A […]

    The Tower Monster #5: Another Sentry July 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #5: Another Sentry

    This letter appeared in The Spectator, the British magazine, 21 August 1897. As it involves a sentinel at the Tower of London becoming ill on sighting a ghost it seems worth putting in this series. Some thirty years ago one of my brothers was quartered at the Tower with a detachment of his regiment, the […]

    The Tower Monster #4: A Short Story July 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #4: A Short Story

    This is a further source for the Tower monster. It was taken from the Western Gazette, 28 Dec 1888, but the WG in turn had taken and abridged it from the Vanity Fair Christmas Supplement. Can anyone get the original and any letters from the January editions? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The introduction makes […]

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