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  • 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 […]

    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 […]

    Ten Best Second World Statistics September 11, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Ten Best Second World Statistics

    What are the most telling WW2 statistics? Here are ten that stand out for Beach. Send any others in: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com or correct at will. 1) The population of the first world Allied nations was approximately half a billion, the population of the first world Axis powers was approximately one hundred and fifty […]

    Broomstick Accidents September 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Broomstick Accidents

    A simple question today. Are witch’s broomsticks dangerous? Well, anything that takes human beings out of the natural element, namely the earth and places them with the birds could go wrong and depending on how high witches were flying, horribly wrong. The greatest in flight danger that witches faced was accidentally saying a Christian name […]

    Immortal Meals #25: Champagne, Nests and the Courthouse September 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortal Meals #25: Champagne, Nests and the Courthouse

    Beach is not sure why he finds this meal so appealing, but it is probably something to do with the disregard for frontier law and the ability of Texans to improvise entertainment out of a goose, a shack and some eggs. Sherman is and was the capital of Grayson County in Texas. In 1858 a […]

    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 […]

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