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  • Obscene Mexican Japanese Generals January 9, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Obscene Mexican Japanese Generals

    Beach came across this list of Japanese generals that was allegedly published in a Mexican newspaper in 1941. It was republished in A. Jimenez, Picardía Mexicana in 1965. The joke is that the names are all clever and very obscene double entendres in Mexican Spanish. Beach does not understand them all, but if anyone else […]

    Baby Face Günter in Saverne January 8, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Baby Face Günter in Saverne

    A delicate occupied zone with an unfriendly population. Think US Marines patrolling in southern Afghanistan or Israeli troops walking through a Palestinian village. That is challenging enough. But could we make it a little more interesting for, say, an HBO series? Why not, for example, put the occupying troops under the control of a young […]

    Children, Folklore and the Supernatural January 7, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Children, Folklore and the Supernatural

    Children, we are told, have supernatural encounters more easily than adults. On several levels this would make sense. But forgetting, for a moment, about whether this is true or false, where does the idea come from? There is a very strong notion among spiritualists and theosophists in the later 19C that kids had greater potential […]

    World War 2 Rumours January 5, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    World War 2 Rumours

    Beach is continuing to hunt down rumours, this time from the British press in the Second World War. Here are some global and some local, some silly and some worryingly credible. All were published with the implication being that they are not to be believed and yet were they so far off the mark? The […]

    Romanian Military Make-Up December 27, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Romanian Military Make-Up

    An oft quoted fact about the Great War is that the Romanian Army in 1916, when it bravely but foolishly entered that conflict, ordered its soldiers not to wear makeup. But is this unlikely sounding detail true? Did Romanian soldiers routinely wear mascara and the like? And did their generals try and control the practice? The claim about Romanian […]

    WW1 Christmas Pics December 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    WW1 Christmas Pics

      There follow some WW1 Christmas pictures from the British press. Most soldiers, naturally, served in the ‘holidays’. Here is a British sailor on HMS Jupiter The gifts are given out in the trenches This being Britain there were lots of silly Christmas parties with the awkward but ritualistic mixing of the classes. Rather you than […]

    The Prince of Peace in a World at War December 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Prince of Peace in a World at War

    Happy Christmas to all readers and their families: originally published in the Graphic.

    Margaret Murray: Sect Member? December 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Margaret Murray: Sect Member?

    Margaret Murray (obit 1963) is so often a rather obscure presence, flitting behind her bizarre writing on witchcraft and her sensible writing on Egyptology. It is from Hilda Ellis Davidson that we get a precious glimpse of the real woman in her twilight. HED, a great medievalist (obit 2006) had known Murray for many years […]

    Katharine Briggs: Some Thoughts December 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Katharine Briggs: Some Thoughts

    Anyone who studies fairies, witches and the supernatural generally will have a simple series of thoughts about Katharine Briggs (1898-1980): gratitude for keeping the Folklore Society going over a rocky couple of decades; love of her marvelous books, including one of the great fairy novels; and an affection for that brooding severe child of Victorian […]

    The Rise of the Vegan Fairies December 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Rise of the Vegan Fairies

    On this site we have frequently examined how fairies have changed through the generations. For example, the way that fairy wings have gone from being a minority convention in art to being practically de rigueur for the fay; or the way that the size of fairies has changed. However, these are superficial baubles in the […]

    New Book: Magical Folk December 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    New Book: Magical Folk

    Beach is happy to announce that just two days ago Gibson Square released Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies (a topic close to the heart of many readers of this blog). The book is choc full of fairy experts and includes three chapters on European emigrant fairies in the New World. The authors are: Magical […]

    Big Brother Urban Legends November 28, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Big Brother Urban Legends

    The three great totalitarian states that dominated Europe in the 1930s were the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Did these have their own urban legends? Of course. But what were they? Beach wants only to open one obvious form of totalitarian urban legend: what he will provisionally call ‘the big brother story’. Now, […]

    Review: Grossman, Life and Fate November 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Grossman, Life and Fate

    Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate [1960] This blogger has been very reluctant to write posts on historical fiction for the simple fact that he cannot stand most representatives of the genre. But Life and Fate was started reluctantly during the recent flu wars, and has been great bedtime and pre-siesta reading ever since. Written in […]

    Mussolini and the Water Sprinkler November 14, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Mussolini and the Water Sprinkler

    There are few things in life sweeter than self important people being made to look silly. The picture above is one of this blogger’s favourite. The subject is, of course, Benito Mussolini, in the mid, late 1930s.* A group of Fascist dignitaries are prancing up some steps at the Foro Italico: but not all is […]

    The History of the Playpen November 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The History of the Playpen

    The playpen originated when a hunter-gatherer mother realized, many thousands of years ago, that she could keep her child in a safe corner of the cave with a simple barrier. But when did the business of playpens becomes serious, when were the first commercial models available in the shops? Beach set himself the task of trying […]

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