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  • Beach’s Book of Shadows February 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Beach's Book of Shadows

    Beach has a heaving filing cabinet full of spells: spells from the Middle Ages, spells from early modern Europe and spells from as recently as the Second World War. Some of these apparently date back to deepest antiquity; some are probably the spontaneous invention of men and women with borderline psychologies and would, as such, […]

    Hinge Moments: Leave! February 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Hinge Moments: Leave!

    History, particularly military and political history, often enough seems to be a series of interlocking junctions and roads. The roads splay and, as we march along, other roads and junctions appear as those behind us disappear in the twilight. In the same way that we sometimes remember our mortality, stroking the skull on the desk, […]

    Kidnapped by the Pombero February 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Kidnapped by the Pombero

    The story starts nicely enough and then takes a decided turn for the bizarre. In July of last year (2016) a two and a half year old child was lost in the Argentinean countryside in an area of ‘bush and mountains’. Beach’s youngest is two and he shivers to think what this means. The little […]

    How to Turn around Political Punditry? January 21, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    How to Turn around Political Punditry?

    The most interesting thing that Beach has read so far in 2017 has been Dominic Cumming’s extraordinary piece for the Spectator on fighting a modern political campaign. The campaign he had in mind was the Brexit referendum in June 2016. Cummings gives 20,000 words to the fight over Europe in the UK, but to the […]

    Decades and Apostrophes: 1880s or 1880’s? January 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Decades and Apostrophes: 1880s or 1880's?

    Readers of this blog will now have to excuse Beach for possibly the single most boring post in strangehistory history, but the following has been rankling inside for some time. 1880s or 1880’s? This might seem unimportant, but if you spend several hours a day reading books about the past it starts to matter. How should […]

    In Defence of Fakelore January 4, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    In Defence of Fakelore

    ***dedicated to RJ*** Fakelore – fake folklore – is a term which we owe to Richard Dorson, who first employed the word in print in 1950. Beach recently followed suit in an article and was surprised at the howl of rage from several readers. It seems that fakelore is off-limits in decent society: whoops! Here is Francisco […]

    Happy Christmas! December 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Happy Christmas!

    ‘I told you these were shadows of the things that have been,’ said the Ghost. ‘That they are what they are, do not blame me!’

    Digital Manuscript Losses December 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Digital Manuscript Losses

    Beach has recently been dealing with the horrors of losing manuscripts in times before personal computers and photocopiers. But why exempt the contemporary world? Why ignore the potential of broken hard discs and failed backups and lost pen drives to ruin lives? Example. Several years ago Beach found himself associated with a family whose matriarch […]

    Ann Atkin and the Gnomes December 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Ann Atkin and the Gnomes

    Aged 7 or 8 Beach had a life changing experience in the garden of a Mrs Ann Atkin’s in south-western England. He stumbled on this article today and wanted to publish it for the historical record, but also out of, well, gratitude. Briefly he was a member of the Gnome Club of Great Britain. Somewhere […]

    Killer Snake Wheels November 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Killer Snake Wheels

    Beach has just had a glorious meal but before going back to table he wanted to share this great snake urban legend: as regular readers will know snakes are a favourite subject. This comes from Pol and Fisher’s Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet. How can anyone […]

    The Ghost that Sat on my Chest October 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Ghost that Sat on my Chest

    A few days ago Beach had some Tripadvisor hotel fun looking at the variety of ghost/haunting/poltergeist experiences reported there. What most impressed him from his small sample was the number of incidents when the witnesses felt something pressing down on them. Two of these hauntings were quoted then, the rest are new. All italics Beach’s […]

    The Unquiet Dead September 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Unquiet Dead

    The unquiet dead. One put his head on a railway line and was decapitated by an obliging train. One was stabbed between twenty and thirty times by her ex boyfriend. The third was drowned in a canoeing accident late one night. These three incidents are the closest that Beach has come to violent death. Happily […]

    Italians in the Wind September 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Italians in the Wind

    Italy has a long history of emigration. Between 1869 and 1939 eighteen and a half million Italians left their home country, travelling to all corners of the world. After the Second World War emigration started up again, particularly towards northern Europe, and there was massive internal migration as five million southern Italians came to the […]

    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 […]

    Bending Towards Justice August 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Bending Towards Justice

    ‘The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.’ This quotation is one that has followed Beach around for the last few years. It is the favourite sentence of a dear friend and often appears in the media. It was first said by a man of immense moral stature: Theodore Parker […]

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