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  • Frobisher’s Missing Five February 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Frobisher's Missing Five

    There is a fascinating episode in Frobisher’s 1567 first trip to the North West Atlantic. Five of his men vanished in the most extraordinary circumstances while on Baffin Island (Arctic Canada). But these foolish men, being five of them in all in the bote, having set on land this stranger at the place appointed: the […]

    Italy’s Weird Languages February 4, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Italy's Weird Languages

    Italy is chaotic not just in day-to-day but also in geographical terms. The Apennines that come down from the Alps dominate most of the country and separate out the peninsula into two hundred semi-independent shangrilas. The result is that Italy has always been doomed to social, cultural and linguistic division. Italian itself, the ‘dialect’ of […]

    Inuit in Orkney? February 2, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Inuit in Orkney?

    James Wallace was minister of Kirkwall in Orkney (Scotland). In 1688 he wrote the following account, though this was not published till 1693, by which time the good minister was dead. Sometimes about this country are seen these men they call Finnmen. In the year 1682, one was seen in his little Boat, at the […]

    Miskito: A Forgotten Early Modern Kingdom January 30, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Miskito: A Forgotten Early Modern Kingdom

    ***Dedicated to Alan*** A very long trivia question. Where in the world would an early modern traveller have found an Episcopalian non-European kingdom with monarchs with English names, many of whom died by violence, whose tax base depended on raiding neighbouring territories and which survived the best part of three hundred years? No idea? Well, […]

    Inuit as an Unlikely Source for Medieval Charts January 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Inuit as an Unlikely Source for Medieval Charts

    Could you draw a perfect, to scale map of the area that you live? Close your eyes, consider the fields, the rivers and streets and then give it a go. After you’ve spent ten minutes with some coloured crayons compare your effort with a professionally produced map, contours and all. The chances are that you […]

    Post-Mortem Occult Discovery January 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Post-Mortem Occult Discovery

    Don Giovanni dei Medici (obit 1621) was the son of the first Medici Count of Tuscany. He had, however, the very great misfortune  to be born illegitimate and though acknowledged by his father, he was never in the Medici’s inner circle. It might have been this sidelining that led Don Giovanni dei Medici to become […]

    I’ve Been In This House Before… January 25, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    I've Been In This House Before...

    There is a rare subsection of Forteana where a sensitive woman (at least in all the examples we know) visits a mystery house in dreams and then, after a long period of nightly wandering, finds herself, amazed, at the front door of her dream house on a random visit to the countryside: again the examples […]

    Wiccans and Fairy Shamans: Priority? January 23, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Wiccans and Fairy Shamans: Priority?

    In the last thirty years there have been growing numbers of men and women who have expressed a belief in fairies: for a minority of these communion with fairies has come to take on the outlines of a of religious system. We even read of ‘fairy shamanism’ and special ‘congresses’ where believers experiment with contact […]

    In Search of Exotic Blood in Europe, 1000-1900 January 22, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    In Search of Exotic Blood in Europe, 1000-1900

    DNA gets all over the place. We have looked before at some ‘freak’ examples from the Middle Ages, including Amerindian blood in medieval Iceland and Indian DNA in eleventh century England. But after dethroning Britain’s only Indian Prime Minister the other day Beach decided to go after easier prey, namely Europeans from 1000-1900 who had […]

    Forgotten Kingdom: The Bird-Shit Island January 20, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Forgotten Kingdom: The Bird-Shit Island

    Nauru is a small island (about eight square miles) half way between Hawaii and New Zealand made largely of bird droppings. If that does not sound particularly promising consider two further points. First, that its European discoverer named it Pleasant Island in 1798: it was once extraordinarily beautiful. And second that the bird droppings can […]

    Edwin Drood and Spirit Resolution January 16, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Edwin Drood and Spirit Resolution

    The Mystery of Edwin Drood is Dickens’ unfinished novel. Half way written when the author died in 1870, it has long offered an opportunity to pot boilers to finish off the novel for themselves – it is essentially a murder mystery – something many have tried, impossible as it is to judge Dickens’ plans for […]

    Into the Lion’s Mouth January 15, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Into the Lion's Mouth

    What do Lorenzo the Magnificent (obit 1492), Henry III of Navarre (obit 1610) and Rudolph Hess (obit 1987) have in common? Well, they were men, they were all born in Continental Europe and they also went defenceless to their enemies and somehow survived to tell the tale, hence the lion’s mouth of the title. First, […]

    Invisible Library from Belgium: the Fortsas Catalogue January 9, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Invisible Library from Belgium: the Fortsas Catalogue

    The Fortsas Catalogue, printed in 1840 has within its pages one of the greatest invisible libraries ever written: an invisible library being a collection of book that have never existed outside an author’s imagination. The catalogue itself is real enough: a few (very valuable) copies are still to be found, but the namesake of the […]

    Irish-speaking Argentinean Indians!! January 8, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Irish-speaking Argentinean Indians!!

    One of the weaker proofs of Pre-Columbian contacts with Europe is the legend of the ‘white Indian’. Typically, a pioneer in the sixteenth or seventeenth or eighteenth or even the nineteenth century comes upon an Indian who by his appearance or his actions shows that he is really of European descent. Prior to today Beach […]

    Britain’s ‘Indian’ Prime Minister January 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Britain's 'Indian' Prime Minister

    Did you know that a nineteenth-century English Prime Minister was of Indian descent? Well, many of our text books tell us that this was the case. Lord Liverpool (Robert Jenkinson) (obit 1828), who presided over such questionable events as the Congress of Vienna and the War of 1812, had an Indian grandmother. Here is one […]

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