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  • Kitchener Survives: Friend of a Friend May 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Kitchener Survives: Friend of a Friend

    One of the great British catastrophes of the Great War was the death of Lord Kitchener on the HMS Hampshire in the North Sea 5 June 1916, not a month before the Battle of the Somme began. Kitchener, famous  as British Secretary of War was a ruthless and effective warleader and understandably British public opinion […]

    Evans Wentz and Money May 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Evans Wentz and Money

    Regular readers will know that over the years Beach has confessed to a fascination for Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz, the American mystic and sometime fairy writer. Beach is interested, above all, in Walter and the fairies. However, there are a number of other aspects of Evans Wentz’s life that are intriguing and that help to […]

    The One Percent Victorian Style April 28, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    The One Percent Victorian Style

    A phrase that has recently gained more and more currency: even to the point where undergraduates shout it out in class discussion, is ‘the one percent’. It is an offhand, contemptuous way of referring to the internationally wealthy.* Beach was delighted, the other day, to come across, in a ghost story no less, to the […]

    Sampling the Supernatural April 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Sampling the Supernatural

    Anyone who has ever studied the supernatural will know that the way we look at the impossible changes from generation to generation and from place to place. For example, in the nineteenth century in the UK and in the US ghosts often dragged chains, as they had since antiquity: today they do not. In the […]

    The Supernatural on Ngram April 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    The Supernatural on Ngram

    Beach has recently been messing about with Ngram, as his leisurely ancestors used to mess around on southern English rivers. Ngram for the uninitiated is a Google tool that allows the user to measure the frequency of certain words in Google Books. It is not as sophisticated as Google Analytics, which measures search terms. But […]

    Self Help as Magic April 17, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Self Help as Magic

    The literature on self help dates back to the book of Proverbs and Cicero, but in its modern multi-billion dollar form it has a particularly American imprint: Dale Carnegie, Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy and Napoleon Hill among the most interesting. Most self help coaches stress the science of self help: life changes are given as […]

    Big Ben Superstitions April 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Big Ben Superstitions

    Big Ben the great bell that rings out from Westminster is a central part of British identity: not least because its chimes have, for many years, sounded on national radio and television programs. It would hardly be surprising then that there are superstitions about Big Ben, but what is surprising is that these seem not […]

    Natural Ghosts April 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Natural Ghosts

    These words came from an article in All the Year Round 1869 trying to explain ghosts as problems of sensation. It is unusually well written, and goes into some areas of perception that modern studies don’t deal with: we tend to be obsessed by sight. Next to sight, hearing is the sense most frequently imposed […]

    Index Biography 40: Prize a book March 31, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Index Biography 40: Prize a book

    ***Solved after quite a wait by Peter G: scroll down for the 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 […]

    Review: Death and the Dolce Vita March 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Death and the Dolce Vita

    Stephen Gundle is one of the best British writers on Italy. He has dealt with Italy film industry, the Italian ideal of beauty and the relationship between Botteghe Oscure (the nasty old Italian Communist Party) and Moscow. However, his most mainstream book is Death and the Dolce Vita: the Dark Side of Rome in the […]

    Exploding Pipes March 20, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Exploding Pipes

    Bored, got nothing to do? Here’s a thought. Why not blind a friend for a lark? There are a couple score newspaper stories from 1850-1950 of workmen, companions and complete strangers giving victims pipes that have been doctored with gunpowder. Typically the smoker puts a match to the shag of tobacco, takes a deep breath and […]

    The Eternal Mystic March 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Eternal Mystic

    Beach is eternally worried about mystics, people who have or believe that they have paranormal powers. Where do they come from? What do they mean? Most studies of ‘mystics’ put them in a historical tradition. The Cunning Man in the English or, for that matter, New England countryside in the 1700s draws on Christianity, Anglo-Saxon […]

    Edith Turner Meets the Blob March 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Edith Turner Meets the Blob

    Edith Turner (deceased 2016) was a well-known British anthropologist. She is honoured here as a rogue researcher* for an experience in 1985 among the Ndembu in Central Africa. She was particularly interested in spirit healing and was allowed, at the very end of November of that year, to attend a healing ceremony where Meru, an […]

    Bloody Sunday and an Eyelid March 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Bloody Sunday and an Eyelid

    Bloody Sunday was an atrocity (simply no other word) that took place in Derry, Northern Ireland, 30 Jan 1972. On that day British paratroopers opened fire on groups of protestors and killed, over several minutes, fourteen men. Who was to blame, the individual British soldiers, their officers, the politicians who had tried to put down […]

    Index Biography #39: Prize a book February 28, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern

    ***David B gets it, 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 […]

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