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Colonialism and Burying the Irish Under Buildings July 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Colonialism and Burying the Irish Under Buildings

Luise White published, in 2000, her Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa. Very crudely – the book is difficult to reduce to a simple core because it recognizes complexity on the ground –White shows how colonial anxiety was played out through what she chose to call ‘vampire’ legends. Europeans and their agents […]

Vindictive Welsh Saints July 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Vindictive Welsh Saints

Gerald of Wales has the following to say about the Irish: This seems to me a thing to be noticed that just as the men of this country are during this mortal life more prone to anger and revenge than any other race, so in eternal death the saints of this land that have been […]

The Wessel Coins #1: Morry Isenberg’s Discovery July 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Wessel Coins #1: Morry Isenberg’s Discovery

28 February 2013 the Indiana-University-Purdue-University sent out a press release announcing modestly: ‘IUPUI led expedition seeks source of thousand-year-old coins in Aboriginal Australia’. Nothing to see, move on? Well, it took the world’s press some time to catch on, the real interest only came in May. But, of course, ‘thousand’ year old coins in Australia […]

Fastest Marchers July 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Fastest Marchers

How far can the average person walk in a day? Most of us walk about three miles an hour, which should mean that, if we didn’t develop blisters or stitch and if a man with jack boots had a pistol at our head, we could probably manage between thirty and forty miles a day. But […]

Turning Back the Years in Oz July 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Turning Back the Years in Oz

***With thanks to Invisible and Wade*** Consider a curious thing. Australian prehistory is far easier to rewrite than American prehistory. If you begin to question the route by which the Aborigines arrived in Australia, or posit an early Indian influx onto the continent or even begin to speculate about mahogany boats and seventeenth-century Caucasoid skulls […]

Magonia #9: The Myth Continues June 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Medieval, Modern
Magonia #9: The Myth Continues

As access to information gets easier, and there was a huge-internet powered jump in the 1990s, then surely the information available to us should become more accurate, right? Easier to check facts, easier to be checked… Not a bit of it. As information becomes more accessible then more people have more access to information and […]

Magonia #8: The Comte de Gabalis and the Sylphs June 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Magonia #8: The Comte de Gabalis and the Sylphs

The Magonia series is now almost at an end. But Beach could not sink the sky boats without a reference to the Comte de Gabalis, one of the most hellishly strange books ever written (first edition 1670). The CdG is a seventeenth-century esoteric text, essentially a long discussion of the secret life of elementals: the […]

Peter, Abraham and Muhammad on the Wrong Side of the Urals June 16, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Peter, Abraham and Muhammad on the Wrong Side of the Urals

Here’s a bizarre scenario (with no basis in the historical record…). c.c.c.1000 a Jewish, a Muslim and a Christian missionary find themselves on the wrong side of the Ural Mountains among a horse-killing, horse-worshipping pagan people (and before anyone writes in there is some ancient and medieval evidence for Jewish ‘evangelism’). The Christian missionary, Peter, […]

Magonia #7: Grimaldus and Chemical Warfare June 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Magonia #7: Grimaldus and Chemical Warfare

There follows another extract from Agobard’s essay on thunder and hail. It is not actually linked in any way to Magonia: so why bother? Well, first, it is certainly bizarre and should be recorded on strangehistory. And, second, because many who have written on Magonia have undeservedly conflated the Tempestarii and this strange episode. A […]

Magonia #6: Leland Sings Magonia June 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Magonia #6: Leland Sings Magonia

Elizabeth Pennell writes in her memoirs of Charles Leland, the nineteenth-century folklorist and alleged bullshitter: He got well over the gout in the spring and summer of 1891, as he travelled by easy stages several weeks at Via Reggio, Geneva, Homburg to London for his last visit there. He went on with his Heine [the […]

Vision Quest #3: Witch Lotions June 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Vision Quest #3: Witch Lotions

An interesting witch case from fourteenth-century Italy with hints of hallucinogens. The following passages appear in the work of Bernard of Siena (aka Bernardino, and Bernardine) (obit 1444). This, btw, is before the witch craze really catches fire. It has several curious features. I having preached of these charms and of witches and of sorceries, […]

Jasper and Butternuts on the Edges of Vinland June 9, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Jasper and Butternuts on the Edges of Vinland

***Dedicated to Wade*** Jasper is a silica stone that was used by our ancestors both as a decoration and as a form of primitive match. Because of its fire-making properties jasper is often found in archaeological digs. A nice example of this is the dozen odd pieces of jasper that have been discovered over the […]

Magonia #5: What’s In A Name? June 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Magonia #5: What's In A Name?

One significant part of the Magonia puzzle that Beach has not yet troubled with is the name. Surely there should be a clue in those four syllables as to what Magonia really was? Well, there have been, suitably enough, four theories that have been put forward, over the years, to explain what the word ‘Magonia’ […]

Nine Historical Mysteries June 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Nine Historical Mysteries

***Dedicated to Moonman*** Thanks to an email from an old friend of StrangeHistory Beach found himself wondering about moments from history that are mysterious, and where this blogger would chop off his own digits to get at the truth. In what follows, he has avoided the classics because, to be frank, he just doesn’t care […]

Review: The Terror That Comes in the Night June 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Review: The Terror That Comes in the Night

Beach has been lucky with his reading recently. It began with Dennis Gaffen’s Running with the Fairies, passed on to Chris Woodyard’s Face in the Window and Emma Wilby’s Cunning Folk and then there was a jump back in time with Mike Dash’s Borderlands. Another excellent addition to his library has been David J.Hufford’s The […]

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