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  • Unripe Bananas and Almost Meeting Charles Dickens: The Index Biography September 2, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Unripe Bananas and Almost Meeting Charles Dickens: The Index Biography

    So you want to know about a famous man or woman; you need a potted biography. You don’t have access to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (or other national equivalents). Wikipedia is often a bit long and can be inaccurate. The Encyclopedia Britannica is worse. And you threw away your reference volumes because you […]

    Fear and Black Dogs August 30, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Fear and Black Dogs

    Black dogs – and we’ve covered a few posts on this subject with fairy dogs and the black dog of Bungay: why are they so frightening? Ian McEwan’s best novel is probably Black Dogs in which idealism destroys evil catches the terror of big black canines perfectly. But Beach was terrified too in his recent […]

    Totalitarian Bizarreness August 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Totalitarian Bizarreness

    Beach isn’t a big fan of totalitarian regimes, but in the defence of those sorry little (and occasionally big) regimes they do make for bizarre news stories. For example, the rumour is just coming in, via South Korea, that the Great Leader in the north has wiped out much of NK’s pop singing community. Among […]

    Okinawa and Three Dead Marines August 28, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Okinawa and Three Dead Marines

    , ***Dedicated to Christopher, who signaled this story*** An episode of memory and death in a closed community, this time over a mere 55 years, but that is interesting simply as a point of comparison with the death of three of Cromwell’s soldiers in Scotland and a 200 year-old memory span there. In 1998 the […]

    Victorian Lesbian Cobblers August 26, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Victorian Lesbian Cobblers

    A week in which this blogger has had a thrilling time reading works on the history of lesbianism: some surprisingly good books out there. Anyway, one of the most fascinating facts about sexuality in western Europe and later European colonies is that way that there was one standard for male homosexuality and quite another for […]

    Strange Fairy Encounter, Co Limerick 1939 August 25, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Strange Fairy Encounter, Co Limerick 1939

    This story comes from an Australian newspaper though it relates to distant Ireland, September 1938. The nature of newspaper digitization is that the nineteenth century is now far better covered than the twentieth century and so all too often getting the right source can prove a problem. Anyway what was going on in Ireland as […]

    Ardeatine and Truth August 24, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Ardeatine and Truth

    In the now long-ago examination of the Ivanhorod picture Beach came across a number of sites with, let’s say, disreputable agendas. One of these led to the website of one Germar Rudolf, who must be the only German since the Second World War to have sought asylum in the United States. GR was prosecuted in Germany over […]

    Knock on Wood/Head August 23, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Knock on Wood/Head

    Victorian and, to a lesser extent, Edwardian writers loved explaining superstitions with bold comparative examples, sweeping generalizations and daring exegeses. However, more recent scholars have been less sure of our ability to unpick  the origin of our taboos. Take this brief passage on superstition from Keith Thomas in his Decline (747-748): The virtue attributed to […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost! August 20, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost!

    An attempt follows to draw the not-so-golden threads of the Golden Ghost together.  We have definite evidence from Rev. Clough that in 1833 when the grave was dug that there was the story in the locality of a golden ghost associated with the tomb. However, there are a number of problems with this. First, only […]

    Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies? August 19, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies?

      Beach is very gradually dipping his big toe into the world of black dogs: those fearsome creatures with eyes as big as saucers burning like fire seen out and about in the British countryside. The key guide is Trubshaw’s Explore Phantom Black Dogs that has a number of fascinating essays including an introduction by  […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #3: The Golden Woman of Mold August 16, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #3: The Golden Woman of Mold

    In two previous posts we have discussed the traditions (ahem) behind the Golden Ghost of Mold. Now we want to look at the person who was buried in the tomb and another problem for the Golden Ghost tradition: the tenant was almost certainly an itty-bitty Welsh woman rather than a mighty warrior. How do we […]

    Eaten by Rats? August 11, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Eaten by Rats?

    ***Dedicated to Chris C*** A short post to ask a very simple question: can rats kill homo sapiens? Of course, given the bubonic plague the answer is yes. But what about in a more simple and straightforward fashion. Can a big enough group of rats attack and overpower a weak enough human being or are […]

    Review: Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay August 10, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay

    ***Thanks to the Count for this tip*** Shock: The Black Dog of Bungay is a recent book (2010) by David Waldron (of Ballarat Australia) and Christopher Reeve of Bungay, Norfolk. The fact that you have to get a historian-anthropologist from down-under and a Norfolk historian to do justice to said black dog – and they […]

    Bullet Proof Mormon Underwear? August 8, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Bullet Proof Mormon Underwear?

    ***Dedicated to the Count, who gave me a pleasant hour on an unpleasant day. Beach should note here that he is not a fan of Mormonism but that he is a huge fan of Mormons: he has had consistently and powerfully positive experiences of followers of that religion and nothing that follows is meant to […]

    Fairies in Space August 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Fairies in Space

    After some rather nauseating episodes in Victorian fairy stories fairies became scary again in the late nineteenth century with the writing of men like ‘Fiona MacLeod’ (William Sharp) and, of course, Arthur Machen. Scary fairies were a late Victorian and Edwardian topos and we’ve looked before at the way the tradition developed and some examples. […]

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