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Nessie as Biker and the Exorcism of the Loch April 24, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Nessie as Biker and the Exorcism of the Loch

Ted Holiday was a Fortean researcher who died in 1979 and who was particularly associated with research into Nessie. His intellectual development (or regression from some perspectives) saw him change from: a believer in a physical Nessie (albeit with the mystery creature starring as a large slug rather than a dinosaur); to believing, instead, in […]

Last Casualty of the Great War? April 22, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Last Casualty of the Great War?

The last death in the Great War took place, as is often the case with such conflagarations, long after most of those involved had put down their weapons. 21 June 1919, the German High Fleet had illegally scuttled itself at Scapa Flow in Orkney the island group to the north of Britain. The aftermath was […]

Image: Bloody Babs Says Goodbye to Tommy April 21, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Bloody Babs Says Goodbye to Tommy

Barbara Graham was executed by the State of California, June 3 1955, in the gas chamber at St Quentin: she had been found guilty of the murder of one Mabel Monahan, an elderly lady. There are some questions about her guilt. Perhaps we can lay this to rest, immediately, by noting that whether BG actually […]

John Farkas: Fire Boy! April 20, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
John Farkas: Fire Boy!

John Farkas’ name seems to have flared up very briefly in history and then to have died down again just as quickly. Many of the things associated with John (Janos?) were, let’s say, poltergeist tricks and not that remarkable. But what about the fire? Note that this newsreport dates to 1921 and appeared in the […]

Flirty Fishing: Evangelical Prostitution April 19, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Flirty Fishing: Evangelical Prostitution

The Children of God were a rather silly American Christian group, born in 1968, that went, however, almost immediately off the rails, rode down the sidings and ended up chugging along in the blackest, grimiest ditches known to human experience. They specialized, for one, in unusual sexual practices. Some of these are too sordid to […]

Britain and Pearl Harbor April 18, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Britain and Pearl Harbor

The whole question of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has been mired for years in conspiracy theories. There are, naturally, huge problems with said conspiracy theories not least the motive of the American leadership in allowing the destruction of an important part of their Pacific Fleet; it is not as if Japan was being […]

Fiume under D’Annunzio: An Incubator of Evil April 17, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Fiume under D'Annunzio: An Incubator of Evil

***Dedicated to Ray G*** Everyone has dreamed of walking through Kublai Khan’s ice palaces or straying into the outer reaches of Dante’s paradise (after St Bernard has spoken) or, for those with a rural bent, strolling through the wood of Keats’ nightingale. But one early twentieth-century community spent the best part of eighteen months in […]

The Spy Who Loved Me? Semen and Espionage April 13, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Spy Who Loved Me? Semen and Espionage

By WW2 Britain had the best spy and espionage service in the world: one that helped end the war in 1945 rather than 1946 or 1947. However, in WW1 it was still amateur hour. MI6 was just five years old when the guns of August thundered and there was a great deal of improvisation by […]

A Jewish Hitler? April 7, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
A Jewish Hitler?

One of the most interesting ‘urban legends’ about Hitler is that the fuhrer was himself part Jewish: a notion perhaps helped along by his particularly unaryan features. It would, as a matter of fact, be truer to say that Hitler may have had Jewish ancestry. The ambiguity comes about not from Hitler’s maternal side but […]

Gordon Selby: The Luckiest Survivor of WW2? April 2, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Gordon Selby: The Luckiest Survivor of WW2?

Long, long ago I did an article on the unluckiest individuals in history. But spurred on by the Gannet Club I’ve started to think in terms of the luckiest and I’ve come across an absolute winner, Gordon Selby, a much decorated son of a Wiltshire farrier. GS (obit 2007) was twenty when the Second World […]

The Index Biography 5#: Prize = A Good Book March 31, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Index Biography 5#: Prize = A Good Book

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 offered up previously here Sheridan le Fanu and Joseph […]

Totalitarian Leaders, Urban Legends and Motorbikes March 29, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Totalitarian Leaders, Urban Legends and Motorbikes

Totalitarian states put their leaders at the very heart of civic life as symbol and reality of fascism/Nazism/communism (or whatever other nightmare a country has fallen into). One of the consequences of the popular focus on the duce/fuhrer/stalin is that the individual citizen comes to feel a special warmth for the head that they might […]

Expert Opinion on Deadly Free Fall March 28, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Expert Opinion on Deadly Free Fall

Of course, medical and scientific opinion more generally has been proved wrong time and time again over the centuries with red faces enough all around. But Beach stumbled on an early twentieth-century example that had entirely escaped his notice. He quotes from Peter Hearn’s excellent Sky High Irvin: The Story of a Parachute Pioneer. Strange […]

Declaring War in WW2: National Styles March 23, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Declaring War in WW2: National Styles

The characters of countries are reflected in their cuisines, their clothes, and their soap operas, so why not in their declarations of war? Thought it might be fun to see whether this notion stands up and so this morning ran through every WW2 declaration of war that I could find from 1 September 1939 through […]

Forgotten Kingdom: Inbetween Saddleworth March 22, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Forgotten Kingdom: Inbetween Saddleworth

Saddleworth is a late entrant in the Forgotten Kingdoms series. A stupendously beautiful patch of Pennine land in the north of England, it sits uneasily on the border between the White Rose County, Yorkshire and the Red Rose County, Lancashire. Saddleworth is, in fact, a reminder of how differences between communities are messy not clean-cut: […]

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