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  • Stephen King and the Source of Bye Bye Man? August 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Stephen King and the Source of Bye Bye Man?

    This is thought fall out from reading Robert Damon Schneck’s Bye Bye Man a few months ago. The most fascinating chapter in the book is the eponymous ‘Bye Bye Man’: Beach described the case in great detail when he reviewed BBM but a quick recap. In 1990 three young adults (two men and a woman) […]

    Bending Towards Justice August 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Bending Towards Justice

    ‘The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.’ This quotation is one that has followed Beach around for the last few years. It is the favourite sentence of a dear friend and often appears in the media. It was first said by a man of immense moral stature: Theodore Parker […]

    You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down July 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    You Can't Keep A Good Man Down

    Beach is proud to present this family story from West Virginia from Alan Moses. It took place in 1933. Old Man Bill Mason was my grandfather’s childhood mentor and post-adolescent friend and bootlegger. Bill spent a lifetime doing heavy farm work, his spine arthritic and bent in his old age as a result. When Bill […]

    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans June 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans

    You’ve all had that awful sinking feeling. You’ve prepared your masterful attack with a vast army across the entire front and then some fool goes and misplaces the map: and next thing you know the scrap of paper ends up in the hands of your opposite number, in the enemy  high command. There must be […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: A Sexual Misunderstanding June 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: A Sexual Misunderstanding

    Beach has long searched for erotic or sexually-charged Victorian urban legends in vain. It is not, of course, that the Victorians didn’t tell them. The problem is that the Victorians seem to have been averse to putting them into print. Only the wrong bed sometimes emerges. But what about this: ‘the kiss-me misunderstanding’? As the […]

    Forgotten Kingdoms: Africa Town May 30, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Forgotten Kingdoms: Africa Town

    This blog described, a month ago, the horrific experience of a group of African slaves, brought to Alabama (illegally) in 1860. In that post, Beach concentrated on the experience of slavery, remembered by men and women some seventy years later. But not the least incredible part of their experience was their decision to build a […]

    The Last African Slaves to Be Brought to America: Eyewitness Accounts April 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Last African Slaves to Be Brought to America: Eyewitness Accounts

    The slave trade to America was banned in 1807, but slaves were still brought to America illegally in the decades that followed. The last known slave ship that brought slaves across the Atlantic was the Clotilde in 1859. What is extraordinary about the Clotilde’s journey is that the young slaves who were sold in Alabama, […]

    My Name Writ on Glass January 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    My Name Writ on Glass

    One of the eternal human problems is how to transmit facts – history, fame, infamy, love… – from one generation to another. We have tried to do it on calf skin, on papyrus, on the tongues of the tribal singers and on stone. But never forget we have also tried to do it on glass. […]

    The Naked Dancing Thief: Con or Urban Legend? January 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Naked Dancing Thief: Con or Urban Legend?

    The following is a report from Reuters from Turkey from June 1937. Pretending to be a ghost, a beautiful young woman in Istanbul, who appeared naked at night in the house of a priest, and danced before him, has made big haul money and other valuables. When he first saw what he described as a […]

    Pennsylvania Church Witch Tests a Member December 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Pennsylvania Church Witch Tests a Member

    Here is a cute witchcraft story from the wrong side of the Atlantic, where Salem is supposed to have put paid to any witch hunt shenanigans. What Beach loves about this account is that we are clearly dealing with very sincere people who are making it up as they go along on the basis of […]

    Folklore Snake Exaggerations from the US December 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Folklore Snake Exaggerations from the US

    Beach has often written on the myths created by American newspapers: and the (deliberately?) naive recycling of the same by British newspapers. Here is a nice example which is making fun of tales concerning snakes: the only surprise perhaps is the absence of the ‘monstrous snake’. True to form this was taken by a Lancashire newspaper (20 […]

    Mussolini and Cole Porter October 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Mussolini and Cole Porter

    Bit of possible cobblers for the end of the month. In 1934 Cole Porter wrote the musical Anything Goes, the most famous song of which is surely ‘You’re the Top’. In that song the following lyrics are alleged to appear. You’re the top! You’re a Coolidge dollar. You’re the nimble tread Of the feet of […]

    Bosom Serpent Curses October 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bosom Serpent Curses

    We have looked here before on several occasions at the bosom serpent, the notion that certain animals and particularly reptiles and amphibians could dwell in the stomach or elsewhere in the human body after entering through the nose, mouth or in some rarefied cases the vagina. Usually you get bosom-serpented because you have it coming […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Bodies in Trees October 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Bodies in Trees

    Kay Massingill has recently offered to readers of Forteana Exchange a series of body in tree stories. The earliest seems to be this one from 1873 and they carry on into the 1920s. The tale typically has it that someone, perhaps escaping from danger, climbs into a tree, then cannot get out. That brings us to […]

    US Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 23, 2015

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

    More in our nineteenth-century swindlers series. Confess: X writes to hundreds of bank clerks across the country saying that he was in receipt of tens of thousands of dollars left by a banker to help bank clerks who had embezzled money. Many bank clerks replied admitting that they had done so at which point X blackmailed […]

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