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  • Where Are the Gods of the Modern World? July 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Where Are the Gods of the Modern World?

    Forget the Iron Age, the Nuclear Age, the Internet Age. There are three periods of human endeavor: nomadic hunter-gathering before history; agriculture, which began about 8000 BC and ended in most parts of the west in the last one hundred and fifty years (when a majority of citizens had left the land); then finally industrial […]

    Whipping Boy: Origins of a Royal Institution July 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Whipping Boy: Origins of a Royal Institution

    The whipping boy needs little introduction. He was the child, brought up with a prince or with a young king, and punished on his behalf, when the prince or king was naughty: crucially the royal and his proxy were friends so any pain was vicariously felt. And why not just hit the royal in question? […]

    Yahoos in North America July 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Yahoos in North America

    Reading anomalous material there is sometimes an overlap of tiny details that are perplexing. Consider this description of three different North American wild men (who would certainly be called Big Foot today). In 1905 an article in the Washington Post described a Maryland wild man: ‘When it shrieks it sounds much like ‘Ya-ho! Ya-ho! Ya-ho!’ […]

    The Monster of Piper’s Hole: Scilly July 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Monster of Piper's Hole: Scilly

    This was one that really got the curiosity going. Samuel Drew was an early nineteenth-century author who have we visited a couple of times on this blog: once while describing a Cornish bear monster (about 1500 years after bears had disappeared from Cornwall) and once being set up as the author of a fictional sky […]

    The Index Biography #19, Prize a Good Book June 30, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Index Biography #19, Prize a Good Book

    The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The writer must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the indivdual’s life. We offered up previously here Sheridan le Fanu and Joseph […]

    Hanging Jokes June 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Hanging Jokes

    Beach recently pointed out that were you to want to have a joke at someone’s expense it is probably not a good idea to involve poison. Similiarly strangehistory would advise against the use of nooses as these three sorry stories go to show. 20 Aug 1881: Last week a fatal practical joke was perpetrated at […]

    Jumping Wild Men June 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jumping Wild Men

    ***Dedicated to Mike Dash and Theo*** Beach has been having the time of his life looking at nineteenth-century Big Foot reports thanks to a very useful book by Chad Arment, Historical Bigfoot. All page numbers in the next paragraph come from that volume. What Beach loves about the book is that nineteenth-century Big Foot reports […]

    Cornish Bear Monster? June 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Cornish Bear Monster?

    Strangehistory has given previously some space to the Cornish ‘Methodist metaphysician’ Samuel Drew (obit 1833). Last time Samuel Drew had been accused, almost certainly falsely by Wikipedia, of witnessing a ghost army. This time Samuel’s witnessing of the paranormal can be substantiated as it appeared in his biography, the author, his son, having apparently taken […]

    Historically-Minded Immortals June 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Historically-Minded Immortals

    Imagine if you will a man or woman who has lived not three score years and ten, but three score centuries and ten. They have rutted, defecated, masticated there way through the generations, watching the changing nuances of human idiocy, the misleading crab walk of technology and the intolerable brightness of every new young generation […]

    Horse God in Early Modern Cornwall! June 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Horse God in Early Modern Cornwall!

    In 1595 a Spanish raid on Cornwall in South-western England took place under Captain Carlos de Amezola. Amezola landed his men at Mount’s Bay and burnt several ships, churches and hundreds of houses in Penzance, Newlyn, Paul and Mousehole, some of the most westerly English settlements. This small act of warfare was, of course, absolutely […]

    The Sasquatch: Bigger is Better June 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Sasquatch: Bigger is Better

    There is a natural and very understandable human tendency to see a terrifying four-foot dog and describe it, honestly, to your neighbour as a terrifying six-foot dog. This is well known, of course, and may be behind the extraordinarily long lengths given to some snakes, a previous subject of this blog. However, there is another […]

    Udder Snakes June 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Udder Snakes

    One of the most curious legends, one that this blogger cannot even begin to account for, is the idea that some animals and particularly snakes and reptiles like to take milk directly from a cow’s udder. Here is a selection of some of these legends. It goes without saying that there is no truth in […]

    You Have Only Your Chains to Lose (Unless You Are African) June 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    You Have Only Your Chains to Lose (Unless You Are African)

    Karl Marx was a prolific author. The complete works of Marx and (his companion) Engels run to an almost unbelievable fifty volumes (including letters). In these volumes Marx said many clever things, some wise things, a good deal of stupid things, and some utterly, utterly bonkers things. Beach has recently been enjoying a selection of […]

    Irish Sheep Boy June 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Irish Sheep Boy

    Many years ago Beach ran a post on an Irish cow man, which seemed to have come out of a ‘Celtic’ wonder tale. What though about the Irish sheep boy, reported by the Dutch doctor Nicholas Tulp (pictured) (obit 1674)? The sheep boy had somehow ended up in Amsterdam. Note that in what follows Beach […]

    The Longest Snake in the World June 16, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Longest Snake in the World

    British newspapers gave a couple of acres of space between 1800 and 2000 to ‘monster snakes’ discovered in this or that corner of the Green & Pleasant land. Typically a vicar in Devon had found an adder that measured two and a half feet long… However, leaving the shores of Britain behind there were better […]

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