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  • Why Did Germany Screw Up in 1940? January 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Why Did Germany Screw Up in 1940?

    The survival of Britain from May to October 1940 is one of the most stirring stories of the Second World War. Britain as Lukacs noted could never have won the war alone but in the first summer of the war Britain could have lost it. From 1936 to early May 1940 the UK had made […]

    Did the Russians Off Archduke Ferdinand?! January 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Did the Russians Off Archduke Ferdinand?!

    There follows that rarest of things. A credible conspiracy theory. Our two heroes are Dragutin Dimitrijević (aka Apis, obit 1917) Chief of Serb Military Intelligence and Viktor Artamonov (obit 1942), a Russian military liaison officer in Serbia. Apis is remembered by history as the organizer of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination and the organizer of the Black […]

    The Bank Note Club January 7, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Bank Note Club

    Imagine a watering hole where Hans Christian Andersen has cocktails with Genghis Khan and where Sigmund Freud takes to the dance-floor with Greta Garbo and makes innuendos. A world in which Nelson Mandela plays darts with Benjamin Franklin and St Martin gets into a fight with Pharaoh Khafra. Have we strayed into a parallel dimension […]

    The Boom of the Bitterbump January 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Boom of the Bitterbump

    Beach has recently been going through modern folklore books for the northern English counties (Lancashire, the three Ridings, Northumberland etc etc). Of forty or fifty books he has so far taken to bed he has been struck by their rather low quality. There are not many awful books, but most are offensively mediocre: these people, remember, […]

    How to Get Rid of a Poltergeist December 30, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    How to Get Rid of a Poltergeist

    James McClenon is a sociologist who has written on the paranormal and parapsychology. His books are to be recommended in the highest terms, not just for their arguments, put perhaps most of all for their reasonable yet never irritating openness to the unexplained; something which does not offend even a hoary old materialist like Beach. […]

    Pan in Warwickshire?! December 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Pan in Warwickshire?!

    In 1885 a neophyte priest William Herbert Seddon arrived at the parish of Painswick in Warwickshire. Seddon had a strong classical background, he appears for instance in that monument of Victorian learning, The Concordance to the Septuagint, as an important contributor. And he was interested to find, on his arrival, that until the early nineteenth […]

    White Woman of Bell Island December 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    White Woman of Bell Island

    Beach recently had the immense pleasure or reading John Widdowson’s If You Be Don’t Be Good, a collection (and analysis) of bogeys used by Newfoundland parents in the interwar and immediate postwar. JW’s purpose was to examine how parents controlled their children in Atlantic Canada, particularly through folklore. But he also picked up many fascinating, […]

    Christmas: Waking Up to Liberation December 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Christmas: Waking Up to Liberation

    Happy Christmas to all readers. This was Strange History’s photo of the year. A teen (Jewish?) girl photographed by British or Dominion (Canadian?) troops at the liberation of Bergen Belsen’s hospital, 15 April 1945. Frighteningly thin, she has just survived the worst war in human experience, on one of the most dangerous acres of European soil. […]

    Ilse Koch: The Skin Harvester of Buchenwald December 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Ilse Koch: The Skin Harvester of Buchenwald

    Ilse Koch, ‘the bitch of Buchenwald’, seems to have been an unpleasant human being. She was a sadist, and she was, as a matter of record, – something almost as serious in the 1940s and 1950s when her reputation was made – ‘promiscuous’: she had opportunities to sate both desires as the wife of the […]

    Morris Dancers from Hell December 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Morris Dancers from Hell

    Imagine that you have a problem in your west African village. A witch is believed to be among you, or worse still someone has been indulging in cannibalism. How do you deal with such miscreants: there is no police force with the resources, and the local chief is at the end of his tether. Well, […]

    Review: Atlas of Countries that Don’t Exist December 16, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Atlas of Countries that Don't Exist

    ***Thanks to Ricardo for sending this one in*** One of the most heart-breaking aspects of the rise of ISIL/ISIS/DAESH is the way the Daeshites have butchered their way through the brilliantly coloured mosaic of ethnic, linguistic and, of course, religious tiles, in northern Iraq. In twenty years when the Caliphate has been consigned to the […]

    Two Centuries of Historical Memory? December 11, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Two Centuries of Historical Memory?

    In the 1980s Beach read an article on Ronald Reagan that described the then President (born in 1911) talking to veterans of Gettysburg as a child. It was a spark on kindling for the historic imagination. Here is a striking nineteenth-century equivalent that has given Beach much pleasure today. It was recorded in 1851 in […]

    A Canadian Fear Census December 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    A Canadian Fear Census

    John Widdowson is one of our finest British folklorists and some of his most interesting work has been on how to scare the living bejesus out of ten year olds. Indeed, his first book had the winsome name If You Don’t Be Good and describes how parents, in the 1960s and 1970s, in Newfoundland (Canada), […]

    Magic Ritual Disaster, 1983 December 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Magic Ritual Disaster, 1983

    Greystone was a converted manor house in Wiltshire (UK) that Gareth Knight (pictured), perhaps the most celebrated post-war British ritualist, used for his magic. From 1977 to 1983 a series of rituals were carried out by Gareth to connect the upper with the lower world: the aim was to bring earth and the underworld back […]

    A Fourteen-Year Second World War?! November 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A Fourteen-Year Second World War?!

    Strangehistory recently featured the longest European war of the twentieth century, that between Greece and Albania (1940-1987). While looking at this Beach was intrigued, nay amazed by the true duration of the Second World War. In fact, this morning his room has taken on a strange orange sheen. For example, how long was Britain at […]

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