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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 […]

Lloyd’s Head August 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Lloyd's Head

In 1864 at Ahuahut in New Zealand a group of Maori warriors defeated a small British contingent led by one Captain Lloyd and seven of the Brits, including Lloyd, were decapitated: the Maoris waited behind a fringe of ferns and shot at close quarters, Lloyds men were outwitted and didn’t stand a chance. The fight […]

Laddering: Making Jerry Pay August 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Laddering: Making Jerry Pay

Today if you dog defecates on the sidewalk or your daughter throws an icecream in the next-door neighbour’s garden it is a matter for the police or some of the tentacle-like social work groups from you local authority. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, of course, but in earlier centuries there was no question […]

Blunt Swords and the American Civil War July 31, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Blunt Swords and the American Civil War

An old and dear friend of this blog Stephen D., to whom many thanks, sends in this bizarre extract from Battles lost and won: essays from [American] Civil War history .ed. John T Hubbell and an essay there by Stephen Z. Starr, ‘Cold Steel’. What were the Union cavalry thinking? A most curious situation involving the […]

Eighteenth-Century East Riding Fairies? July 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Eighteenth-Century East Riding Fairies?

Fairies today and a strange memory of fairies from the mid-late eighteenth century (?) recorded in 1825. Beach likes this because it is reminiscent of fairy sightings from a century or even two centuries later. It is out of place. In fact, if he didn’t have a copy of the original in front of him […]

The Wessel Coins #3: Kilwa and its Sultanate July 27, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Wessel Coins #3: Kilwa and its Sultanate

  Kilwa (or Quiloa as it was often called in European sources) was a small almost-tidal island off the coast of Tanzania. ‘Almost tidal’ because in its early history there was allegedly a causeway and even in later centuries it was possible to wade to Kilwa at low tide. The city of Kilwa was a […]

Women and Trains July 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Women and Trains

Beachcombing has a dear aged friend who left her native country and came to live in the UK in the late 1930s. On her first day in the capital she, then a fresh-faced beautiful woman, climbed onto a train at Waterloo (follow the link for the best Churchill story of them all) and settled down […]

Forgotten Kingdoms: The Gagauz and Identity Problems July 24, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Forgotten Kingdoms: The Gagauz and Identity Problems

Eastern Europe is full of unexpected populations. But few are as fun as the Gagauz,  a proud and ancient people, based in what is today southern Moldova. Of course, most modern westerners have never heard of Moldova – historically part of Romania – let alone that country’s tiny minority in the south. But the Gagauz […]

Treasure-Hunting in Lancs July 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Treasure-Hunting in Lancs

Today is not a day to celebrate. Those bastards who provide Beach with his internet supply have been playing games for a week now. Beach finds himself, this morning, stranded without a signal. In desperation he has, therefore, been reduced to typing up the following post, putting it on a pen drive and giving it […]

It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession… July 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession…

Imagine Jane Austen at her writing desk while sister is downstairs playing the harpsichord. Suddenly there is an excited knock on the door and Cassandra comes running up the stairs. ‘Jane, tis so exciting, some Inuit have come to the Hall. George Cartwright brought them back from Labrador.’ Jane puts down her pen and passes […]

Flying Drums in Tibet July 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Flying Drums in Tibet

A lot of interest recently in the objects used by witches to fly: broomsticks, trees etc: Other weird flying objects, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. This brought Beach to parallel traditions, among which is the extraordinary flying drum of Tibet. An earliest, perhaps the earliest example on record follows here.  The description is of a […]

A Suicidal Ghost July 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Suicidal Ghost

To follow up on a recentish post on suicide, here is a suicide and a ghost. Note that the suicide is certainly factual, as he had just appeared in the newspaper. Beach was struck by how jaunty, active and, well, pissed this ghost was. Thinking about it there are some of these ghost stories where […]

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 […]

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