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Death of the Doctor December 31, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Death of the Doctor

Poor old reverend William Dodd! Hanged in 1777 at Tyburn he was the last Englishman to be sentence to death for forgery. His trip to the gallows was greased by money. He was never able to make enough and yet he was always able to spend too much. In February 1777 he forged a bond […]

Columbus Knew Where He Was Going, Claims Soviet Historian December 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
Columbus Knew Where He Was Going, Claims Soviet Historian

A weird little news report from New York Herald Tribune, 12 October 1959 Soviet Historian Declares Columbus Tricked World. A Soviet Historian said today that Christopher Columbus hoodwinked the world 467 years ago because he knew all along where America was. The historian, identified only as Tyspernik, a lecturer at the Kazakh Pedagogic Institute, was […]

The Fairy of Florence Campanile December 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
The Fairy of Florence Campanile

Fairies are in short supply in Italy. But recently, working through some folklore books relating to Florence, we were surprised to find a series of urban ‘good folk’ in the city. Bellosguardo had, it seems, a fairy. Via del Corno also. As did the Bargello – it was red, for blood? – and the tower […]

Long Distance Runner DOESN’T Disappear into Broad Daylight December 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Long Distance Runner DOESN'T Disappear into Broad Daylight

There is something fascinating about people just vanishing, perhaps particularly in those rare instances when people are actually watching them. Beach has recently been chasing after records for the following interesting case. We’ve taken enough words from The Examiner to give some kind of outline here. James Burne Worson was a shoemaker by trade living […]

Mysterious European Figure in Pre-Columbian Baffin Island December 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Mysterious European Figure in Pre-Columbian Baffin Island

A thirteenth- or fourteenth-century Thule ivory carving from southern Baffin Island in Canada should hardly surprise anyone. After all, the Thule Inuit did dwell in this place at that time. But when Debora Sabo dug up the carving pictured above in 1972 she was understandably jolted by her discovery, so much so that she dedicated […]

The Empire of Claus December 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Empire of Claus

Who is the ruler of Christmas? Santa Claus, of course. But the red bearded one has climbed over a lot of dead bodies to get to where he is today. And every so often when you travel around western countries you find traces of Christmases past. In Spain, for example, and, indeed, through much of […]

The Mirage of Brasil December 25, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
The Mirage of Brasil

Almost every European people with a coastline have invented magical lands for themselves in the waves out there… Some of these islands are sunken, some are on the surface. Some move around, some stay still but can’t be reached. Some are sentient (really!), some are just pieces of rock. Some are coastal, some are far […]

Roman and Medieval Vineyards in Chilly Britain December 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Roman and Medieval Vineyards in Chilly Britain

Let’s face it. If you want a good wine the last thing you will do is head off to the supermarket and buy an English brand. The idea is almost comic. French, Italian, yes. Australian, Californian, Hungarian, perhaps. But English grapes freezing their pips off on a vine in the Midlands, where not enough sun […]

Love Goddess 4#: Juliet, Verona and the Invention of Love December 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Modern
Love Goddess 4#: Juliet, Verona and the Invention of Love

***One more chapter to go… Sorry again for answered emails. Also the internet connection is playing up so this may be the last chance I have to write before Christmas. If so happy Noel*** Traditions are invented constantly and love is a major human interest: hence the custom in Verona Italy of leaving love letters […]

The Horror of Sea Hedges! December 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Horror of Sea Hedges!

The Norse had a whole series of sea-monsters ready to gobble up unwary sailors: the kraken, the hafstramb (the Norse merman) and other saline lovelies. But at least to this blogger’s mind the worst of all was the Hafgerdingar, ‘the Sea Hedge’. Perhaps the nightmare quality of the Sea Hedge comes from the fact it […]

Nancy Price, the FIS and a Troll at the Seaside December 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Nancy Price, the FIS and a Troll at the Seaside

Nancy Price was an English actress who was famous in her day and yet is now all but forgotten: thespians suffer that fate. NP interests Beach because, in the 1950s, she was a member of the Fairy Investigation Society. You would have thought that anyone who would care to get involved in such an unfashionable […]

Not Suitable for Engineers: Choking Danger December 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Not Suitable for Engineers: Choking Danger

Beach is not a huge fan of modern medicine. But when you see what our ancestors had to go through health-wise, every so often he feels a certain warmth towards the white coated ones. Take this horrific account concerning Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s brush with death after a conjuring trick accident (!). Mr. Brunel, the celebrated […]

Further Thoughts on the Inventio Fortunata with Thanks to Readers December 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Further Thoughts on the Inventio Fortunata with Thanks to Readers

The Inventio Fortunata (the Happy Discovery) is a text that we’ve already looked at twice on this blog. A first post described its extraordinary survival in a burnt copy of a copy of a copy in the wrong language. A second post alleged that the IF detailed an English trip to Arctic Canada in 1360. […]

Medieval Nun Vampire? December 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Medieval Nun Vampire?

Anyone for a medieval vampire-type legend courtesy of Chris from Haunted Ohio Books? It is true that there is no blood here but the demon comes to the sleeping man who perishes soon after. There is also the whole ‘sex thing’ that suffuses western vampire mythology. Perhaps in the end the birth of the vampire […]

Lazarus Plants December 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Lazarus Plants

When we think of the vegetables, flowers and fruit of our ancestors we probably most easily imagine students with trowels retrieving pips from coprolites: not a happy occupation. But actually there is another kind of retrieval and that is sending botanists out into the woods and fields to look for any plants that have somehow […]

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