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Genetics vs Environment among Monarchs July 31, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Genetics vs Environment among Monarchs

There is a phrase that’s trotted out from time to time that monarchs are simply the descendants of those who killed lots of people and as such deserve little respect and certainly no adulation. Of course, it is true that monarchs are the descendants of those who killed many people. But what really matters is […]

They Do It With Drawers You Know July 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
They Do It With Drawers You Know

To a twenty-first century reader one of the strangest things about nineteenth century séances were the materialisation of physical objects at the hand of talented mediums aka conjurers. What seems to be just absurd to us was actually taken as a proof of the genuine nature of the swindlers, because they were typically searched before […]

The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!? July 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!?

One of the most peculiar texts that Beachcombing has ever read is the description of the Island of Cronos – the titan pictured here with thanks to Goya – in Plutarch (c. 120 AD). Much has been made of this island and attempts to fix it on the map have been undertaken frequently: some have […]

Charles I and Cromwell July 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Charles I and Cromwell

***Sorry not replying to emails annihilating headache: this is a reserve post, though heartfelt for that*** 30 January 1649: the execution of Charles I. The King of England, the ‘anointed of God’ says goodbye to his younger son. He walks out into the freezing cold worried that any trembling will be misinterpreted by the crowd… […]

The Cow-Man of Wicklow and His Sad End July 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Cow-Man of Wicklow and His Sad End

A paddy-bashing story from one of the nastiest Irish-haters of them all: Gerald of Wales. In the neighbourhood of Wicklow at the time when Maurice Fitzgerald got possession of the country and the castle, an extraordinary man was seen – if indeed it be right to call him a man. He had all the parts […]

Mutant Hares, Modern Satyrs and Centaurs July 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mutant Hares, Modern Satyrs and Centaurs

Fairies are so ‘yesterday’. What about the more exotic fauna from the forests of the imagination? Let’s start with the mutant hare at Windsor! I remember Lilian, Countess of Cromartie, telling me of a strange incident that once happened to her. She was walking alone one bright summer morning in Windsor Great Park. Suddenly she […]

Revelation: Music, History and the Incredible Public Service Broadcasting July 25, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Revelation: Music, History and the Incredible Public Service Broadcasting

It very rarely happens that Beach gets excited about something new on the web. But it happened tonight. And as the two individuals responsible have immense talent and as too few people know about them here’s a post dedicated to Public Service Broadcasting, a British outfit that has (apparently) been around for the last three […]

‘Psychic’ Phenomena: Trends in Time? July 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
'Psychic' Phenomena: Trends in Time?

Beach has had a lot of fun today reading Andrew Lang from morning to the kids’ homecoming. What a pleasure! Lang (obit 1912) was a Victorian/Edwardian writer who had a clear fascination with psychic-phenomena among many, many other things. But Lang was tough-minded and always looked for other solutions before starting on about clairvoyance or […]

Precious Pot Sherds at Tell-el-Hesy July 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
Precious Pot Sherds at Tell-el-Hesy

Beach has failed to find the original for this as it appeared unreferenced: a crime he is going to compound by unreferencing that one late inadequate reference. However, the passage almost certainly relates to the work of Flinders Petrie at Tell-el-Hesy in 1890, sometimes said to mark the birth of modern archaeology. FP, among his […]

The Trolls That Tuck You In July 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Trolls That Tuck You In

1980 a British psychic is in Finland. ‘I had hardly made myself comfortable [in the bedroom], and I was certainly not asleep or even dozing, when I heard chattering all around me. There were people in the room. Perhaps, thinking I was asleep, they had come to inspect the strange creature in their midst from […]

The Crown of the Queen of Serpents July 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Crown of the Queen of Serpents

A curious little episode from a very obscure English autobiography. The individual being described here is August de Haxthausen (obit 1866), friend of the brothers Grimm.  De Haxthausen ended up in Britain in the 1840s in the house of a little girl, Janet Ross, who would become one of Beach’s favourite cookery book writers: but […]

Crowds #4: Religion July 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #4: Religion

Beach has so far offered up three crowd photo collections: August 1914, Speaking to Crowds and Crowds as Art. Today he thought he’d move in a little deeper with religious crowds from a small file he’s been building up over the last couple of years. The picture that head’s this post is one of his […]

Kobolds and Lights in Derbyshire July 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Kobolds and Lights in Derbyshire

Beach is particularly proud of this one. It came from the pen of a spiritualist and relates to an experience c. 1860. It is now some few years since, being in the neighbourhood of a lovely valley called Dovedale, in the County of Derbyshire, England, I heard my kind host and hostess, Mr and Mrs […]

The Christian Wolves of Ossory July 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Christian Wolves of Ossory

We all know that medieval chroniclers and sensationalists love wonder stories. Beach has a private rule that even if a medieval tale takes place with a ‘reliable’ witness in living memory, then he still looks the other way. But the following story clearly ‘happened’ (though there may be a way to reread it) in that […]

Flying In and Out of Windows July 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Flying In and Out of Windows

Forget Padre Pio fighting allied bombers and St Joseph of Cupertino who allegedly flew from the middle of a church to the high altar. The man that really stands out as the great modern levitator is the remarkable Daniel Dunglas Home playing peekaboo at a third floor window in London in 1868. Here is a […]

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