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  • Index Biography #33: Prize a book August 31, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Index Biography #33: Prize a book

    ***Leif got it, spool down for the answer…*** The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The creator must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the individual’s life. We […]

    Lying Periodicals? August 30, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Lying Periodicals?

    Academics and serious historians get very worked up about publication dates. It is important to know, for example, whether, a publication on the Arab world was published before or after 11 Sept 2001; it is important to know whether bold new research (a) came before or after bold new research (b). Most of us can […]

    Remembering the Strips August 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Remembering the Strips

    Today is an important day in the calendar of the Beach family, Beach and kids get to open the massive piggy bank (Money Pig) in the downstairs bathroom. Beach has then to double any money found there – it has been a year… – then kids, minus Beach, go out to spend Money Pig’s money […]

    Strange Labrador Monster August 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Strange Labrador Monster

    Here’s a creepy little report of an unidentified creature from the Canadian North East. Labrador is the mainland territory just past Newfoundland. This was the territory that c. 1000 Vikings visited to get wood for the Greenland settlement. The man writing is a medical doctor, Wilfrid Thomason Grenfell. His autobiography has several entertaining or intriguing […]

    Review: The Graveyard of the Batavia August 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: The Graveyard of the Batavia

    Mike Dash, The Graveyard of the Batavia Beach took about two years to pluck up the courage to read this book. The problem was not the quality of the writing, which is excellent, but the painful subject matter. The story in brief. Over three hundred Dutch men, women and children sailing on the Batavia got […]

    A Royal Ghost: Harald the Something August 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    A Royal Ghost: Harald the Something

    Harald the Fair-Headed (aka Harald Fairhead: obit c. 932) is apparently in that very select group of monarchs who became ghosts after his death. About Harald we know practically nothing, btw, other than that he fathered Eric Bloodaxe and that he won enough battles to make him the first king of Norway. Pity the poor […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: In Search of the Sewer Crocodile in Hamburg August 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: In Search of the Sewer Crocodile in Hamburg

    This story is quite exciting because it is a possible source for the famous crocodiles in the sewer tale. There are reports from the early 1870s about crocs associated with drainage in the US. However, they rarely involve danger or fun. We are in Hamburg, Germany: The police authorities of this city have issued a […]

    Snowball Atrocities #4: Napoleon at Brienne August 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Snowball Atrocities #4: Napoleon at Brienne

    Perhaps the single most famous snowball fight in history took place in the winter of 1783-1784 at Brienne in Aube in central France. Brienne at this date was a military school and among the students was a fourteen-year-old Corsican named Napoleon Bonaparte. (Permission given to sigh deeply) Frustrated by the cold and the tedium of snowmen, […]

    Paleo Family Planning Today? August 23, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
    Paleo Family Planning Today?

    There is a whole literature out there on paleo food, the idea that we are digital men and women living in stone age bodies and that we need to eat in a stone age fashion. But what about the idea that we should also live other aspects of our lives as stone agers among the skyscrapers […]

    Stephen King and the Source of Bye Bye Man? August 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Stephen King and the Source of Bye Bye Man?

    This is thought fall out from reading Robert Damon Schneck’s Bye Bye Man a few months ago. The most fascinating chapter in the book is the eponymous ‘Bye Bye Man’: Beach described the case in great detail when he reviewed BBM but a quick recap. In 1990 three young adults (two men and a woman) […]

    Medieval Marvels: Italian Dragonets August 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Medieval Marvels: Italian Dragonets

    Beach recently ran across this legend in the work of the endlessly fascinating Gervase of Tilbury, an English writer with a penchant for the impossible or failing that the improbable. There is an island in Tuscany pertaining to the domain of Count Ildebrandino, in which there are winged snakes which look like dragons. As soon […]

    First Knocker Record from Wales August 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    First Knocker Record from Wales

    Knockers (aka knackers) were the tiny mine spirits described particularly in Cornwall and in Wales. They were sometimes said to be helpers, sometimes hinderers, and sometimes they warned of disasters in the pit. On this last point Beach links here to his description of a nineteenth-century mine disaster in Wales at Morfa. They arrived in […]

    Pig in a Rock August 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Pig in a Rock

    This story recalls those rather tedious tales about toads being dug out of rocks but with a much more interesting animal. Perhaps it could be true… On the 14th of December, 1810, several considerable falls of the cliffs, both east and westward of Dover, took place; and one of these was attended by a fatal […]

    Don’t Walk Through That Wood August 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Don't Walk Through That Wood

    This is one of those short but really quite terrifying nineteenth-century supernatural stories: the account is very raw. The person who sent in this story reckoned that the adventure had taken place about 1850. We are in Somerset in south-west England. Miss Williams of Over Stowey was returning home from Watchet late in the evening, and near…. her pony […]

    Immortals: Napoleonic Warrior in Russia August 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortals: Napoleonic Warrior in Russia

    Beach has previously enjoyed ‘immortals’ fictional and factional characters who have lived through an improbable number of generations. Here is a likely sounding tale from 30 Jun 1894 (Dundee Eve Tele). A man, who was born 1768, and preserves unimpaired memory, and who was, moreover, in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, has a good […]

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