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  • Hippocratic Cobblers. February 15, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Hippocratic Cobblers.

    ***Dedicated to good and honest doctors: a pox on the others…*** Beachcombing has suffered greatly under the tyranny of white-coats over the years: blame a long undiagnosed and thus untreated condition – uncovered eventually after about ten minutes on Wikipedia. He has come then to expect problems in the medical sector. But nothing prepared him […]

    An Aberystwyth Mermaid February 13, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    An Aberystwyth Mermaid

    Mermaids are the most despised of all the creatures of the British imagination. Folklorists have only had the decency to write two half decent books on them over the last century. The result is that there are lots of accounts out there that have never been gathered in. This one seemed, at least to Beachcombing, […]

    The Rocking Stone Unrocked February 10, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Rocking Stone Unrocked

    The mother of all busy days today as students clamor for assistance and daughters for entertainment. Beach hope that readers will forgive him for offering up this story from his winter reading about Cornwall in the south-west of Britain. Our author is describing the Loggan Stone, aka the Logan Stone of Treen. This far-famed rock […]

    Fairies and Golf Balls February 8, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairies and Golf Balls

    Beachcombing had a melancholy moment this morning. He turned up a report from the mid nineteenth-century (a letter) of a forgotten bit of fairylore from the county of Leicestershire: a county (for those in less happy lands) in the English Midlands. In the lordship of Humberston, on the estate of Mr. Poohin [try looking for […]

    Irish Giants: Prehistoric and Otherwise February 7, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
    Irish Giants: Prehistoric and Otherwise

    Beach stumbled the other day on this passage from the Dublin Freeman’s Journal, August 1812. ‘It is not a little surprising, considering our veneration for Irish antiquities, that no notice should be taken of the skeleton recently disinterred at Leixlip. This extraordinary monument of gigantic human stature was found by two laborers in Leixlip churchyard […]

    Anticipating the Telephone February 6, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Anticipating the Telephone

    Beachcombing rather cheekily talked about an anticipation of email the other day: an anticipation of the telegraph would have made more sense, sorry. But what about this anticipation of the telephone from the late seventeenth century? And as glasses have highly promoted our seeing, so ‘tis not improbable but that there may be found many […]

    Mona Lisa Madness February 5, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Mona Lisa Madness

    Beachcombing has long taken an interest in Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Not because he is particularly a fan of cold and bold LdV and those other renaissance artists who wrecked the unity of the Middle Ages. But because the Giocanda has attracted pretty much every mad theory about: we’ll come to this week’s in a moment. […]

    Beachcombing’s Invisible Library February 4, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Beachcombing's Invisible Library

      Beachcombing has had a lot of fun over the last year and a half cataloging invisible libraries, libraries that only exist in the imagination of authors and connoisseurs. Today, Beach thought he would take stock of the achievement to date and also, in a fit of utter self-indulgence, introduce readers to Mrs B’s contribution […]

    Anticipating Email by Three Hundred Years February 3, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Anticipating Email by Three Hundred Years

    Beachcombing is in a technological mood and is looking for technologies that have been anticipated, against all odds, in previous ages. What about for example this late seventeenth-century anticipation of email: or perhaps we should be more modest and say the electric telegraph. But… to advance another instance. That men should confer at very distant […]

    An Overlong Name January 29, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    An Overlong Name

    Another of Beachcombing’s deities died this morning: the small Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (Anglesey) well known in Britain as having the longest name in the country, if not the world. Of course, a moment’s consideration should have told Beach that something fishy was going on; instead, he had innocently let the name be, reasoning that […]

    De Gaulle and Ike at Gettysburg January 26, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    De Gaulle and Ike at Gettysburg

    One of Beachcombing’s many files in the rusty filing cabinet in the downstairs bathroom is a surprisingly bulky: ‘battlefields after the fact’. Here there are a series of great men and women visiting the places of carnage past and reflecting on ‘the father of all things’. There are many precious references in said file including […]

    What Religion did Fairies Follow? January 22, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    What Religion did Fairies Follow?

    Beach’s endless reading in the literature of fairies has led him to a couple of unusual passages. He honestly doesn’t know that to make of them. In truth, they frighten him. The first is from a south-western fairy tale where a man is reunited with his ‘dead’ fiancé who is actually trapped in fairy land. […]

    Review: The Discovery of Jeanne Baret January 21, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: The Discovery of Jeanne Baret

    In 1766 Jeanne Baret, a young Burgundian, joined a round-the-world trip, a French mission to claim territory in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Her experiences, the subject of a recent book by Glynis Ridley, would have been remarkable in itself given her gender and the date. But as the French navy did not allow women […]

    Burning Libraries! Two Lost Folklore Collections January 20, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Burning Libraries! Two Lost Folklore Collections

    Historical blindspots: every age has them. Take the relative lack of interest in folklore prior to the eighteenth century. When folklore heats up in the later nineteenth century you cannot walk across the parlour without tripping over a book on fairies or witches. This means that anything written before say 1860 is particularly precious and any loss all […]

    Hauntings and Technology: the Teflon Effect January 19, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Hauntings and Technology: the Teflon Effect

    Not a month ago Beachcombing reflected on the strange way that Roman ghosts are a modern invention and the way too that there are apparently fashions in which historical periods haunt and which do not. Beach thought that today he would reflect, instead, on a different but surely related phenomenon, the apparent allergy that new […]

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