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  • Stolen Horses and the Cunning Man October 15, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Stolen Horses and the Cunning Man

    Cunning men were the healers and magicians of the English countryside from the middle ages up until the reign of George V. They had various jobs: including making love potions, casting birth charts, healing animals and individuals, and undoing witchcraft. However, the activity that got them most in the newspaper was their talent for finding […]

    Why Do We Forget Soviet Murder? October 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Why Do We Forget Soviet Murder?

    Between 1917 when Lenin declared the revolution to 1956 and the invasion of Hungary Soviet massacres of innocents or opponents were frequent, massive and only seriously contested in the West by the small national Communist parties. Yet one of the extraordinary things about these bloody outbursts is that they have been forgotten by all but […]

    Mythologised Suicides? Levi and Turing October 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Mythologised Suicides? Levi and Turing

    Suicides are not always easy to determine. Did the man who drove his car into a bridge support do so as a deliberate act because he had just learnt of his bankruptcy or did he do so because he had not slept for 24 hours and was exhausted and prone to error? Did the woman […]

    Crazy Couplings: Koestler and de Beauvoir October 9, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Crazy Couplings: Koestler and de Beauvoir

    Here is part of an occasional series on crazy couplings: sexual encounters between individuals who, by rights, should never have had anything to do with each other, let alone undress in one another’s presence. To kick start the series two rather unpleasant people whose intimacy is thankfully beyond this blogger’s imagining: Simone de Beauvoir and […]

    Review: The New Civilisation? October 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The New Civilisation?

    Paul Flewers, The New Civilisation? Understanding Stalin’s Soviet Union, 1929-1941 (2008) There is a strip in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (1930), where the intrepid boy reporter spies out some British leftists who are visiting ‘the new civilization’: the Soviet Union about five years after Stalin had ascended the blood steps to the iron throne. […]

    Gentlemanly Soldiers October 2, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gentlemanly Soldiers

    There are lots of different types of soldiers but today Beach wants to put aside the cowards, the sadists, the pragmatists, the survivors and concentrate on perhaps one of the few attractive categories: the gentleman soldier. The cult of the gentleman soldier began amongst the European aristocracy in the middle ages, its values were embodied […]

    Margaret Murray in Her Own Words September 15, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Margaret Murray in Her Own Words

    Margaret Murray (obit 1963) was a brilliantly creative and ill disciplined scholar who not satisfied with the mysteries of the pyramids (she was an Egyptologist) decided to sort out European witchcraft in two books: The Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921) and The God of the Witches (1931). Modern scholars universally reject her methods, while […]

    The Mermaid Con September 13, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Mermaid Con

    Before starting out his research on swindles and confidence tricksters, Beach would never have imagined that there could be a mermaid con. This one came from the Gold Coast in Africa and was reported by the head of British administration there in 1923. Not Eve Pos, 6 Oct 1923, 3 A rogue will tell a […]

    Ten Best Second World Statistics September 11, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Ten Best Second World Statistics

    What are the most telling WW2 statistics? Here are ten that stand out for Beach. Send any others in: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com or correct at will. 1) The population of the first world Allied nations was approximately half a billion, the population of the first world Axis powers was approximately one hundred and fifty […]

    Unlucky Minister and Fishing Boats September 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Unlucky Minister and Fishing Boats

      Priests and monks have long considered to be unlucky in European folklore. If you met a priest in 1400 walking down a Derbyshire or Pyrenean road you would straight away do something to ward off bad luck: touch wood, your testicles etc etc. Priests and monks understandably got quite testy at being treated as albatrosses, […]

    The Churchill Coventry Myth September 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Churchill Coventry Myth

    Did Churchill allow Coventry to be bombed to save the Enigma secret?

    Footfalls Echo in the Memory: Taunton September 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Footfalls Echo in the Memory: Taunton

    ‘I’ve… seen things… you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate… All those… moments… will be lost, in time, like… tears… in… rain.’ Famous lines from Bladerunner. But what if instead of an exotic replicant at his death, we […]

    The Index Biography #21, Prize a Good Book August 31, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Index Biography #21, Prize a Good Book

    The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The writer must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the indivdual’s life. We offered up previously here Sheridan le Fanu and Joseph […]

    The Imitation Game August 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    The Imitation Game

    The earliest and greatest British victory in the Second World War (building on crucial Polish breakthroughs) was the breaking of the new German code machine Enigma, 22 May 1940, just as the British Expeditionary Force was being surrounded by the Wehrmacht in France. For those of an academic persuasion the achievement is particularly sweet because […]

    Gort’s Longest Hour August 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gort's Longest Hour

    Long before Tolstoy ruined War and Peace with his reflections on the role of great men in history humans sat down and debated the ability of individuals to influence events. Beach is a bit of a heretic in this. He believes passionately that men and women not ‘impersonal forces’ (whatever the hell they are) make […]

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