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  • A Jack the Ripper Urban Legend September 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    A Jack the Ripper Urban Legend

    4 Aug 1941 (barely a month into Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union) this ‘funny story’ appeared in a London newspaper. Perhaps we should think of it as a bit of nostalgia from the times when knives not Nazi bombs were the most dangerous thing in the East End. During the scare caused by Jack […]

    The Somercotes Ghost September 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Somercotes Ghost

    An interesting ghost scare from 1930. Somercotes is a village in Derbyshire. The first report is from 9 Jul 1930. The Somercotes ghost, which caused a big scare four years ago, has apparently not been laid. This early report has proved untraceable, though in the midst of the following crisis a local confesses to having […]

    And If Your Sister Was About to Be Raped…? September 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    And If Your Sister Was About to Be Raped...?

    When the insufferable Lytton Strachey was asked, in WW1, what he would do if he saw a German trying to violate his sister, he responded ‘I would try and get between them.’ Strachey gave this answer in a legal setting. He wanted to be certified as a pacifist and Beach was curious about the question, […]

    Index Biography #45: Prize a book August 31, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Index Biography #45: Prize a book

    ***Chris got this, scroll down for answer*** The Index Biography is a quiz 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 […]

    The End of German Bohemia, May 1945 August 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The End of German Bohemia, May 1945

    Thanks to Stephen D. for sending in this extraordinary video of the disintegration of German Bohemia in May 1945. Bohemia was a mixed Czech-German province and German speakers had lived there since perhaps as early as the year 1000. Bohemia became part of the Czech Republic after the First World War, and the ‘cause’ of […]

    Letter from the Enemy August 23, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Letter from the Enemy

    Beach ran across this very sad piece in the Dundee Evening Telegraph (8 Oct 1915), 4. It is perhaps not remarkable that an enemy soldier honour the body of a fallen foe: who is it who says that you can best measure relations in a war not by how soldier treat their enemies alive but […]

    The Death of the Bogeyman August 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Death of the Bogeyman

    The bogeyman was the monster conjured up by parents in times gone by to terrify their children. Here is a paragraph published in Britain in 1887 by some frightful progressive. Boggard is a local Yorkshire version of the same and the writer gives a good sense of how bogey was deployed. It was a common […]

    Jury Hell in 1995 August 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Jury Hell in 1995

    Beach has previously, on this site, looked at truly awful jobs (the Worst Career in History tag): including Japanese Prime Ministers, Knocker ups, Scottish Kings and Water Thief Watchers. However, he has recently come across, with some excitement, a new chamber in hell: namely, jury duty on the O. J. Simpson trial, Jan 25, 1995 – […]

    Myths of Twentieth-Century History August 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Myths of Twentieth-Century History

    Seven twentieth century myths follow. Any other contributions or angry rebuttals, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Great War: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, 1914 The Great War was going to happen sooner or later because two countries, Germany and France, wanted it. However, the consensus that the Great War would have inevitably led to the ‘breaking […]

    Gaston Ouvrieu and Blindfold Driving July 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gaston Ouvrieu and Blindfold Driving

    A delightful end of month story. Our hero is Gaston Ouvrieu who, in 1917, received a serious injury while serving in the French army. When he woke up in hospital he was alleged to be able to read the minds of other patients, as the doctor took his pulse: Ouvrieu needed this ‘telegraph’ effect for […]

    The Ghost, the Dynamite and the Fever July 17, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Ghost, the Dynamite and the Fever

    This is weird little story from Barnoldswick on the border between Lancashire and the North Riding. The year is 1928. Barnoldswick is affected by a ghost scare which has broken out like a fever among the schoolchildren of the town. The use of ‘fever’ is interesting thinking of that wonderful book by Robert E. Bartholomew […]

    Review: Primates July 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Primates

    Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks, Primates This blog has a tradition of, from time to time, flagging up excellent children’s books on history and the supernatural. Primates, a 140-page comic, falls very much into the first of these two categories. It takes the lives of three biological anthropologists, only two of whom are still alive: […]

    Buckinghamshire Fairies and Little Witches July 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Buckinghamshire Fairies and Little Witches

    Fairy legends are common in the Celtic fringes and the north of Britain. They are to be found in northern England and south central England: they also occasionally crop up in the English Midlands. However, they were as rare as gold dust in south-eastern England and East Anglia by the time that folklore records were […]

    Operation Resurrection: British Folklore July 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Operation Resurrection: British Folklore

    British folklorists badly screwed up their own discipline in the late nineteenth century. When they should have been collecting the rich crops from the home counties and the north and midlands they, instead, indulged in premature comparative work, looking overseas for answers to stupidly ambitious questions. The comparison with some of Britain’s smaller European neighbours […]

    Index Biography #43 June 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Index Biography #43

    The Index Biography is a quiz 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 Stalin (he of ripe […]

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