Tag Archives: folklore

Dead Flows the Don

Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University appeared on a BBC Radio 3 documentary about the River Don. In the Sheffield Telegraph he traces the myths and legends of the river as it flows through Sheffield: One of my earliest … Continue reading

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Katharine Briggs award shortlist

My book How UFOs Conquered the World: the history of a modern myth was shortlisted by The Folklore Society for the Katharine Briggs book award for folklore scholarship in 2015. The judges described the book as ‘a lucid account based on 30+ years of … Continue reading

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UFOs Conquer The World

My new book How UFOs Conquered the World was published on 14 May and is reviewed by The Sunday Times here. In his review James McConnachie says UFO believers will not like this book, ‘it is not a classic debunking. … Continue reading

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Hunting the Northern Lights

One of my ambitions has always been to take a voyage beyond the Arctic Circle in search of the elusive aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. For years I have been fascinated by the mythology of the lights and the stories … Continue reading

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Haunting my bookshelves in 2012:

Here’s my choice of other key books that floated my folkloric boat during 2012: The Legend of Spring-heeled Jack: Victorian urban folklore and popular cultures, by Karl Bell (Boydell Press).  As readers of my blog will know, the mysterious figure … Continue reading

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Friday the 13th

Every year I receive requests from journalists who want to know where the idea of Friday the 13th being unlucky originated. So here’s a summary of the lore which surrounds this widely held superstition. The idea that Friday 13th is unlucky … Continue reading

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Emails from the dead

Supernatural folklore is a dynamic force. It adapts to new technology but incorporates traditional beliefs that date back thousands of years. Soon after the invention of photography in the 1850s, the first photographs of spirits appeared. Following the invention of … Continue reading

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Tabloid Tales

The red-top tabloids are a rich source of modern folklore and urban legends – and today’s front page splash in The Sun is a case in point. “Girl Eats 4,000 washing-up sponges” tells the bizarre story of dental nurse Kerry … Continue reading

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Return of Spring-heeled Jack?

Spring-heeled Jack, the legendary bogeyman familiar to students of British folklore, has been invoked by news of an extraordinary experience with a road ghost in Surrey. Scott Martin and his family told the Surrey Comet they were confronted by a ‘dark … Continue reading

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If you go down to the woods (again)

The Rendlesham forest UFO mystery is back in the headlines, after the Sunday Telegraph published a summary of my exclusive interview with the former Bentwaters Base Commander, Ted Conrad. Col Conrad, now retired to his native Texas, has broken a quarter … Continue reading

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