Thursday, 16 May 2019
On Maundy Thursday, 1899, the ferry, S.S. Stella departed Southampton with 190 passengers and crew, bound for the Channel Islands. They never arrived. Just after 4 p.m., in a heavy fog, it hit the Casquets Rocks. Within ten minutes, it went down, taking at least 77 persons with it. But one man was not present, for he had been forewarned by The Voice in the night.
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
It is, of course, well established that the Great Witch Craze of the 16th and 17th centuries, stretching even into the 18th, represented a resurgence of pre-Christian superstitions. They had once been ignored and mocked, but were now being taken seriously. However, I didn't realise just how ancient these beliefs were until I reread Apuleius' second century novel, The Golden Ass. There, the author describes how he watched a Thessalian witch strip naked, rub herself with a magic ointment, and promptly turn into an owl. That was very similar to what witches were accused of doing 13 or 14 centuries later! Some were even trying it out themselves!
Monday, 11 February 2019
In 1936 a certain Mr. Lampeter wrote to John O'London's Weekly asking, in effect, whether anyone had seen fairies, because his area of Wales a number of people had claimed to have done so. Funny about that! For the next few months the magazine found itself publishing letters from people who claimed the experience. If you are interested, you can read them here (PDF 158 KB). Similarly, in 1989 Ron Quinn wrote in a weekly paper in upstate New York about his encounter with a little man in 1942, and gave them his name and address. He asked if anybody had had a similar experience. Funny about that! As you have probably guessed by now, over the coming weeks, dozens of letters arrived in his box.