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  • Index Biography #32: Prize a book July 31, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Index Biography #32: Prize a book

    ***Invisible got this one, spool down for the answer*** The Index Biography is a new form of biography 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. […]

    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth? July 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth?

    It is one of the most famous sentences of the twentieth century. Marshal Foch on being told of the final conditions of the Paris Peace Conference stated: ‘This is not a peace treaty, it is an armistice for twenty years’ (Ce n’est pas une paix, c’est un armistice de vingt ans). The Oxford Dictionary of […]

    Twin Countries July 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Twin Countries

    This is an idea that has been going around and around in Beach’s head for a few years, the way that certain pairs of countries seem to have a strange sense of reciprocated fascination with each other. Three examples from Europe: Ireland and Germany; France and Poland; Italy and Britain. All these pairings include an […]

    The Pirandello-Lenin Statue July 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Pirandello-Lenin Statue

    Beach has proud form in reporting stories of Lenin statues: including one in the United States and one (what spasm of Soviet insanity…) in Antarctica. However, he was thrilled to be recently sent this great story by LTM, to whom this post is respectfully dedicated. This letter appeared in the London Review of Books and […]

    You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down July 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    You Can't Keep A Good Man Down

    Beach is proud to present this family story from West Virginia from Alan Moses. It took place in 1933. Old Man Bill Mason was my grandfather’s childhood mentor and post-adolescent friend and bootlegger. Bill spent a lifetime doing heavy farm work, his spine arthritic and bent in his old age as a result. When Bill […]

    Historical Children Scarers July 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Historical Children Scarers

    ***Dedicated to Invisible*** Parents have scared children for generations with conjured horrors: the fairies, the black boggart, Jenny Greenteeth and many, many more. However, Beach today wants to look at a very select category. Historical personalities who were so horrific (or at least were imagined to be so horrific) that parents could credibly say: ‘Get […]

    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans June 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans

    You’ve all had that awful sinking feeling. You’ve prepared your masterful attack with a vast army across the entire front and then some fool goes and misplaces the map: and next thing you know the scrap of paper ends up in the hands of your opposite number, in the enemy  high command. There must be […]

    Snowball Atrocities #2: Snowball Deaths June 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Snowball Atrocities #2: Snowball Deaths

    You can’t go far in snowballing history without dealing with the deaths. European and American newspapers (Beach’s source for most of what follows) are full of snowball fatalities in the nineteenth and twentieth century. For those of us who have perhaps played with snow and lovingly lobbed loose white balls in the direction of family […]

    Referendum Day June 23, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Referendum Day

    Killer Rabbits June 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Killer Rabbits

    Beachcombing’s father in law, a few days ago, actually managed to trip over a snake. He thought it was a piece of rope… In celebration of this unlikely event and in memory of sheep killings Beach now declares open season on rabbit killers. We’ve already had the terrors of supernatural rabbits, but what about the […]

    How Long Did Our Ancestors Live? June 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    How Long Did Our Ancestors Live?

    Life expectancy is a tricky thing. Every demographer knows that, in the modern world, the difference between a national life expectancy of 40 in country A and 70 in country B is predominantly about how many children die in their early years of life. If you look at life expectancy for fifteen year olds then […]

    Watchers of the Sky: The Modern UFO Cult May 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Watchers of the Sky: The Modern UFO Cult

    The sky was not a big thing in the supernatural before the early modern period. Yes, there were the odd wild hunts, some dragon flights (aurora borealis?) and some airy elementals. But there was no sense that the heavens were worth watching for the supernatural in their own right. Then the modern age begins: Protestantism, […]

    Snowball Atrocities #1: Snowball Bomb May 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Snowball Atrocities #1: Snowball Bomb

    Sometimes the blogger finds a newstory that he cannot let go. After a week of wrestling with his conscience Beach has decided that he simply has to give this particular incidence of love between the peoples of Europe wider coverage. We are in 1931. Prague. Thursday. Two schoolboys were killed in the course of a […]

    Review: The Bye Bye Man May 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The Bye Bye Man

    Robert Damon Schneck, The Bye Bye Man and Other Strange-but-True-Tales (New York 2014) RDS has built a reputation, in the last decade, for ‘strange stories’ well told with a strong bias towards the supernatural. This ‘new’ collection – actually originally published by Anomalist Press in 2005 as The President’s Vampire – has the typical RDS […]

    What Language is Closest to English? May 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval
    What Language is Closest to English?

    English is a Germanic language and its closest living relation should be one of the Continental Germanic tongues, German, Dutch and the like. However, try speaking English to a German who knows no English, or try understanding German (with just English) and you will find that they are very distant relations. An Italian listening to Spanish: or […]

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