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  • Origins of the Trickster August 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Origins of the Trickster

    Beach has recently become intrigued by the Trickster, those wonderful figures found in world mythology who pass beyond the normal rules laid down by society and cause fun and trouble by turns. Tricksters are perhaps particularly associated with Amerindian myths but they are everywhere. For example, there seems, in the Christian tradition, to have been […]

    American Wild Men August 17, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    American Wild Men

    The first in the series was for Britain and Ireland. Here is, instead, the US. Note that this would need to be read side by side with Chad Arment’s work on historical Big Foot. There is some overlapping. 1851: Greene County (Arkansas), a supernatural sounding man covered in hair runs away from farmers jumping 13 […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: The Wrong Bed August 16, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: The Wrong Bed

    The Wrong Bed urban legend is self explanatory: a man or a woman get in the wrong bed in the wrong room in the wrong house, inevitably with someone of the opposite sex. That this story did the rounds in Victorian times there should be no surprise. What is incredible is that the story was […]

    Victorian Urban Legend: The Coffin Trick August 11, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legend: The Coffin Trick

    This is an absolutely brilliant story, but probably not a very good scam. That suggests that we are dealing here with a nineteenth-century urban legend. According to the New York Herald, a charitable gentleman his lately been imposed upon in the most shameful manner in Boston. Meeting a woman in one of the streets in […]

    Nine Moments When the Axis Lost the War August 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Nine Moments When the Axis Lost the War

    The sequel to Beach’s seven reasons why Germany lost the Great War. 1) When Germany didn’t destroy the British Expeditionary Force: at the end of May 1940 about a third of a million British servicemen, the Empire’s entire European army was trapped in a small pocket on the northern French coast. Demoralised, with their equipment […]

    Foundling Names August 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Foundling Names

    We recently offered a post on the names given to bastard children. Here is a related and far nicer post on the names given to foundlings, who seem to have been treated, perhaps strangely, with rather more respect by society. Today, if an anonymous individual turns up, he is, in the US, referred to as […]

    William Allen White’s Brush With the Elm Fairies July 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    William Allen White's Brush With the Elm Fairies

    In 1972 Fate Magazine published a fascinating article by Glenn Clairmonte (1972) examining a fairy encounter of William Allen White. For those who have never heard the name WAW (obit 1944) was a self proclaimed champion of Middle America against Conservatism. His politics don’t concern us here rather what is interesting is the fact that […]

    Review: Urban Legends July 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Urban Legends

    Jan Harold Brunvand is the Urban Legend man, he has been writing books, since 1981 on modern folklore narratives, those curious stories that get passed from relative stranger to relative stranger or that are discussed earnestly at sleepovers among close friends. Three years ago JHB brought out his most important compendium yet, The Encyclopedia of Urban […]

    Yahoos in North America July 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Yahoos in North America

    Reading anomalous material there is sometimes an overlap of tiny details that are perplexing. Consider this description of three different North American wild men (who would certainly be called Big Foot today). In 1905 an article in the Washington Post described a Maryland wild man: ‘When it shrieks it sounds much like ‘Ya-ho! Ya-ho! Ya-ho!’ […]

    Landing on the Wrong Carrier July 3, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Landing on the Wrong Carrier

    This is the most bizarre aircraft carrier story of them all. It involves suitably enough a Japanese and an American aircraft carrier. May 7 1942 American and Japanese forces are fighting in the Coral Sea. Both American and Japanese planes have been flying off the flat-tops, hoping to hunt down the enemy’s ships. It was […]

    Jumping Wild Men June 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jumping Wild Men

    ***Dedicated to Mike Dash and Theo*** Beach has been having the time of his life looking at nineteenth-century Big Foot reports thanks to a very useful book by Chad Arment, Historical Bigfoot. All page numbers in the next paragraph come from that volume. What Beach loves about the book is that nineteenth-century Big Foot reports […]

    Udder Snakes June 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Udder Snakes

    One of the most curious legends, one that this blogger cannot even begin to account for, is the idea that some animals and particularly snakes and reptiles like to take milk directly from a cow’s udder. Here is a selection of some of these legends. It goes without saying that there is no truth in […]

    The Longest Snake in the World June 16, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Longest Snake in the World

    British newspapers gave a couple of acres of space between 1800 and 2000 to ‘monster snakes’ discovered in this or that corner of the Green & Pleasant land. Typically a vicar in Devon had found an adder that measured two and a half feet long… However, leaving the shores of Britain behind there were better […]

    In Search of the Hodag June 11, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    In Search of the Hodag

    The Hodag is one of the most interesting mythical creatures from the great American wilderness. It is associated above all with Wisconsin and particularly with a hoax that dates to 1893 when newspapers reported the capture of a Hodag, apparently a small horned lizard. Full points to those who organized this brilliant photograph above, surely […]

    The Flint Hill Wildman: The Hunt June 9, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Flint Hill Wildman: The Hunt

    Resolution of yesterday’s mystery! When the D., M. & A. Railroad, which will have cars running here next week, began the grading and cutting at what is known as the Cascade, they brought a gang of Italians under the management of an Irish man Pat Durfee by name, who is almost a prodigy of strength. Durfee […]

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