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  • New England Mermaid August 21, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    New England Mermaid

    Beach has been worrying a lot about mermaids in the holidays. He thought he would shared with readers some fine old mermaid stories from his archives most Mondays this semester: Mermaid Monday is born. Here is an 1883 record from New England. Note that it appeared in the British newspapers via the Toronto Mail! A […]

    Birth Pangs Spell June 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Birth Pangs Spell

    Location: this spell was attested in Salem, Massachusetts, 1670. It was used by one Zerobabel [[great name]] Endicott (Carter 1986, 23). Zerobabel (aka Zerubabbel) was a physician and here we have the sometimes thin line between 17C magic and 17 medicine.* Aim: to relieve birth pangs Ingredients: ale wort, ant nest, ant trowel, pre-heated oven, […]

    Mysterious American Indian Ceremony April 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mysterious American Indian Ceremony

    This is a curious little snippet of American native religious ritual from the least expected source, a late seventeenth-century book of apparitions. We are introduced first to the protagonist. A goodly minister, Mr. Farnworth, that came hither from New England (being a Nonconformist and extream poor, dyed as all about him said, of meer Poverty, […]

    Rape and Animals September 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Rape and Animals

    A recent post described the bizarre legal proceedings that led to New Haven men being accused of bestiality and one being hung. These cases provoke many thoughts but not least was the fate of the accused animals. When George Spencer was brought to the gallows the pig with which he had supposedly had sex with (and […]

    Mather’s Fortean Rulebook March 14, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mather's Fortean Rulebook

    Matthew Poole’s seventeenth-century Fortean project was recently celebrated in this place. Beach was unable to track down any of the instructions that Poole chose to employ to direct his project, but we did quote from Increase Mather’s Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providence. There Increase, who was inspired by Poole, joined together with a […]

    The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!? July 29, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!?

    One of the most peculiar texts that Beachcombing has ever read is the description of the Island of Cronos – the titan pictured here with thanks to Goya – in Plutarch (c. 120 AD). Much has been made of this island and attempts to fix it on the map have been undertaken frequently: some have […]

    Irish Fairies in New Hampshire August 29, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern

    About ten days ago Beachcombing put up a post celebrating funny fairy stories, a way, he noted, ‘to kill the fairies with kindness’. Since then he has come across a further fairy story from the other side of the Atlantic. As he is particularly interested in American fairies at the moment – a long and […]