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Germania: A Nightmare Deferred March 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Germania: A Nightmare Deferred

‘Egypt’s might is tumbled down/ Down a-down the deeps of thought;/ Greece is fallen and Troy town,/ Glorious Rome hath lost her crown,/ Venice’s pride is nought./ But the dreams their children dreamed/ Fleeting, unsubstantial, vain/ Shadowy as the shadows seemed/ Airy nothing, as they deemed,/ These remain.’ Beautiful poem Mary (Coleridge), but thankfully some […]

Pimping Your Noble Sister in Wartime Naples March 16, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Pimping Your Noble Sister in Wartime Naples

Norman Lewis’ Naples ’44 is one of the great works of the Second World War. It describes the most dramatic of places, Naples, under the most dramatic of situations, German and then Allied occupation. Beach was so excited, by his recent playing around with this book, in that tale about Padre Pio the human anti-aircraft […]

Who Needs Anti-Aircraft Guns When You Have Saints? March 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Who Needs Anti-Aircraft Guns When You Have Saints?

In Norman Lewis’ brilliant, astounding Naples ’44, the British writer has many curious and memorable passages from his diary of that year. However, this is one of Beach’s favourites. At Pomigliano [north-east of Naples] we have a flying monk who also demonstrates the stigmata. The monk claims that on an occasion last year when an […]

The Godly Tape Recorder March 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Godly Tape Recorder

A very brief blog today as exams are on and marking will be intense. Beach recently had the luck to stumble on this beautiful piece in a routine outline of anthropological research. He was reminded of that great A.C.Clarke quotation: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ To someone in New Guinea ignorant of […]

Lucy Bruce, Iona and the Fairy Investigation Society March 5, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Lucy Bruce, Iona and the Fairy Investigation Society

Miss Lucy Bruce is a virtually forgotten twentieth-century mystic, who spent some of her life on the Isle of Iona in Scotland. She interests the writer of this post because she was a member of the Fairy Investigation Society and he is presently trying to learn more about the organization by tracking all members down: […]

Feline Paws through History March 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Feline Paws through History

***Dedicated to Larry, Why Evolution is True and Andy the Mad Monk*** Feline lovers will curse us for saying this but the cat has not played a huge role in history. True, we have observed here in the past some its few runs across the stage of the past including the notorious cat organ, cat […]

The Mostly Lost Writings of Netta Fornario/Mac Tyler/Marie Fornario February 27, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Mostly Lost Writings of Netta Fornario/Mac Tyler/Marie Fornario

Last month we put up an article on Netta Fornario, who died in unusual circumstances on Iona in 1929, since when a supplementary piece with more details has appeared elsewhere on the web. The most interesting thing to come out of our last post, for this author at least, was that Netta Fornario was fascinated […]

Boggart of Shatton February 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Boggart of Shatton

The Boggart is a solitary and typically pretty nasty fairy. The following is an unusually detailed early twentieth- or perhaps late nineteenth-century account. Our author (writing in the 1950s) notes that the Boggart ‘attacked man and beast’ and then continues: The Boggart would appear to have instilled in the people of the Peak a dread […]

Review: The Face in the Window February 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Review: The Face in the Window

Two useful rules for writing reviews that Beach is about to break. Never write a review about a friend’s work and never write a review before finishing a book. Well, today we incinerate these rules and celebrate Chris Woodyard’s The Face in the Window because, after having read 80%, it is clear that it deserves […]

Goa the Golden February 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Goa the Golden

***Sorry this was accidentally pre-released yesterday…*** Goa was both the oldest continuous and one of the most curious of European colonial territories and is included here as part of our Forgotten Kingdom series. An important medieval Indian state it was attacked and captured by the Portuguese in 1510. Portugal would then run Goa up until […]

British Occultists and World War II February 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
British Occultists and World War II

World War II has come to Britain. The country you love is in peril. What do you do? Young men become soldiers. Young women nurses or volunteers. Pacifists argue against the insanity of it all. The old end up on fire-watching duty or filling in crucial holes in industry. Centenarians start knitting socks for the […]

A Magpie Parliament? February 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
A Magpie Parliament?

***Dedicated to Ed*** Magpies are often seen in small groups and this has had a predictable reflex in folklore where there is a charming rhyme (with some regional variations) that children still learn in the UK: One [magpie] for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy… As to bigger groups […]

Reds and Blues in the Persian Gulf February 9, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Reds and Blues in the Persian Gulf

Paul K. Van Riper was one of the most notable American warleaders of his generation. A marine commander who earned a reputation for fighting from the front in Vietnam, he finally retired as lieutenant general, 1 October 1997. Then, 24 July 2002, Rip (as he is know to his friends) went rogue and killed 20,000 […]

Luck, Shysters and Jack O’Lantern February 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Luck, Shysters and Jack O'Lantern

As this year’s epiphany gift Beach put up the only two numbers of a Fortean magazine from the 1940s entitled New Frontiers: we couldn’t host this on the website because of an upload limit, and we had to trust some external site which proved unreliable. Thanks to our webmaster, Raoul, the magazine though has now […]

Italy’s Weird Languages February 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Italy's Weird Languages

Italy is chaotic not just in day-to-day but also in geographical terms. The Apennines that come down from the Alps dominate most of the country and separate out the peninsula into two hundred semi-independent shangrilas. The result is that Italy has always been doomed to social, cultural and linguistic division. Italian itself, the ‘dialect’ of […]

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