jump to navigation

Sixteenth-century Conjuring Tricks June 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Sixteenth-century Conjuring Tricks

It was a slow day in the cave, the sabre-tooth tigers were roaring outside and the grass shoots and snails had all been consumed. Ug was playing with the knuckle bones of one of his late wives and with remarkable dexterity (given how poor he had been at hunting recently) he made the bones dance […]

Tree Rings and Supernovas and a Red Cross in Anglo-Saxon England June 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Tree Rings and Supernovas and a Red Cross in Anglo-Saxon England

***Dedicated to Larry and Wade who sent this one in*** In early June a report came in from Nagoya University (Japan) that tree rings on the island showed evidence of a massive radiation blast in 774/775 of our era. This interested Beachcombing not the slightest as he doesn’t do radiation or tree rings. But this […]

The Virgin and the Fairies June 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Virgin and the Fairies

The last fairy post for a week, we promise… Beach has noted previously here the danger of confusing fairy sightings with UFO sightings. But, as a lot of his work this summer has concerned medieval records, he realises that confusion is nothing new where fairies are concerned. There is, 500 AD – 1700 AD, the […]

Islam Creates Europe June 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Islam Creates Europe

Modern Europeans tend to have mixed feelings about the rise of Islam: Islam and Christianity have, after all, been butting heads for the last fifteen hundred years. What is not normally appreciated though is the fundamental role Islam had in creating Europe. Islam, it will be remembered, was born in the Middle East in the […]

Desperately Seeking Marjorie June 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Desperately Seeking Marjorie

***Dedicated to whosoever helps Beach to find Marjorie*** It is very bad form to write two articles on fairies in as many days, but Beach has been excited since Splendid Chap emailed with the exciting information that Marjorie Johnson is still alive in Carlton, Nottinghamshire (UK). Marjorie was born in 1911 and by 1956 she […]

Romans in Japan?! June 25, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Romans in Japan?!

***Dedicated to all these who sent this in: sorry I’ve misplaced the list!*** Beach has long since pioneered the wrong place, wrong time tags that set out examples of artifacts, languages, ideas and even DNA turning up in unexpected places or unexpected time periods. These have included such wonders as the last Latin speakers of […]

On the trail of Captain Quentin C. A. Craufurd (and his fairies) June 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
On the trail of Captain Quentin C. A. Craufurd (and his fairies)

Dedicated to a Splendid Chap Splendid Chap sent in an article by one of Beach’s chief interests in life, the enigmatic Capt Quentin Craufurd, founder of the Fairy Investigation Society: yes, that’s his picture! Beachcombing doesn’t put this up because the article is particularly inspiring: it reads like post theosophy c. 1950. He has put […]

The Eastern Origins of Playing Cards June 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Eastern Origins of Playing Cards

There are few things in history more entertaining than the transference of ideas  from one culture to another and the various misunderstandings that arise as the borrower fails to understands the lender. In our own day it is enough to hear an American university lecturer speak about Derrida or a Saudia Arabian discuss the British […]

The Survival of the Marranos June 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Survival of the Marranos

A Beachcombing favorite to day, the Marranos of Belmonte. In 1492 Spain expelled its Jews or at least those who refused to convert to Catholicism. Some of these fleeing Spanish Jews crossed the border into Portugal where they joined an already substantial Jewish population and the Jews of all descriptions there were driven out of […]

All Hail the Male Witch! June 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
All Hail the Male Witch!

Why were witches, in the early modern period, women? The simple answer is that they were not. In all parts of Europe there were male witches and in some part of Europe male witches (witch = those put on trial for that crime) outnumbered narrowly or substantially the number of female witches. So at one […]

Llewellyn Thompson: Champion of the World June 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Llewellyn Thompson: Champion of the World

Beach has pioneered on this blog ‘hinge moments’, those instances when world history changes. In any list of these moments, the Cuban Missile crisis is a must, because this is, of course, the closest the human race has come to mutually assured destruction. But what moment within the missile crisis was the key one? Almost […]

The End of the Britains: Rome Abandons Britannia June 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The End of the Britains: Rome Abandons Britannia

***Dedicated to Southern Man*** If you want to imagine Rome and Roman Britain in the last difficult decades of their existence you might do worse than think of an egg trapped in a vice. The Empire was surrounded by hostile barbarian peoples who envied its wealth and lived according to the logic and for the […]

Crowds #2: Speaking to Crowds June 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #2: Speaking to Crowds

W.B.Yeats once wrote that the most important thing for a ‘man’ was, in his day, no longer a sword but a tongue to speak to the masses. Yeats was living in an age when that was still true. Microphones were allowing the amplification of voices and transport meant that a politician or preacher could travel […]

Desperate Men: 490 BC June 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Desperate Men: 490 BC

The Battle of Marathon is one of those events that has been so polished by historians and lyricists that it has become a mirror held up to every age which has cared to look into it. But behind the bumph and the pumph there remains a very real mystery. How did a (then) obscure Greek […]

So You Want to Catch a Fairy… June 16, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
So You Want to Catch a Fairy...

So you want to catch a fairy. Well, first get a butterfly net and collecting jars and for good measure a mousetrap bated with sugar and nutmegs… Ok seriously here are a couple of ‘recipes’ from a seventeenth-century (?) alchemist’s collection. An excellent way to gett a Fayrie. (For myself I call Margarett Barrance; but […]

Page 1 of 212