A Badger, With No Head

I am having one of my occasional bursts of activity on Facecloth, the social networking site. Temperamentally, a Diogenesian recluse such as myself would be better suited to an antisocial network, but needs must when the devil drives, as they say. Yesterday I posted on Facecloth a snippet which fits neatly into the Hooting Yard “Things I Have Learned” category, and it elicited a couple of comments in reply which are worth sharing with a wider audience.

I learned, from Peter Ackroyd’s new book The English Ghost : Spectres Through Time, (and I quote from my paraphrase at Facecloth):

On Christmas Day 1716, Samuel Wesley (father of John Wesley) was haunted by an apparition of “a badger, with no head”. It was called Jeffrey.

This is something I am very, very glad to know, and I doubt that a Yuletide will pass in future without me mentioning it.

Bob Drake replied, saying “That got me thinking. Would I rather be haunted by a badger’s disembodied head, or a badger’s headless body? I can only conclude that it would depend on the temperament of the partial apparition”, while Roland Clare picked up the echo of Jubilate Agno, and suggested: “For I Will Consider My Headless Badger Jeffrey …”

It is my fond hope that Mr Drake will be inspired to write a song on the subject, and Mr Clare will essay a badgerised version of the pertinent section of Christopher Smart’s poem.

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