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Execution Substitution: Has It Ever Happened? September 27, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
 Execution Substitution: Has It Ever Happened?

A weird little episode that Beach can’t get out of his head. 20 January 1793 the news has come that Louis XVI will be executed/murdered/killed the next day. It is difficult for us to understand the frantic actions undertaken by monarchists in Paris in their do or die efforts to save ‘the anointed of God’. […]

Fairy and Diary September 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Fairy and Diary

Just recently Beach came across an eighteenth-century diary with a strange fairy reference and wondered if any readers could help with trying to get to the bottom of it. First, we should say that the diary, by one Rev John Thomlinson, is full of highly elliptical references: it was definitely not for public consumption, but […]

Review: The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England September 25, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Review: The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England

Academia usually shuffles anxiously away from the bizarre, but every so often a historian of note decides to take on something strange – crucifying cats, delusional werewolves… – and produces insights into the past. Imagine, instead, though that a whole soccer team of first-rank historians huddled together and determined to sprint after curious events, instead […]

The Existence of the Mermaid is Now Certain c. 1794 September 24, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Existence of the Mermaid is Now Certain c. 1794

We haven’t done mermaids for a long time. Yet who can forget the submarine and the mermaids or the Queen of Cuba or the mermaid that ate boiled fish or for that matter Christopher Columbus and the mermaid and the mermaid killed in Exeter. Oh happy days… Anyway, from memories of the past to a new […]

Spirit Photo Fakes September 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Spirit Photo Fakes

Beach has been enjoying, thanks to the Count (a longstanding friend of this blog), some fabulous spirit pictures, from the golden age of spiritualist shysterism. These were spirit sittings where men and women were photographed and spirits were invited into their presence. The spirits were then, if we are to believe the skeptics, as in […]

African in Tenth-Century Britain September 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
African in Tenth-Century Britain

***Thanks to Borky for this lovely piece*** People and perhaps particularly kids are forever pulling things out of rivers. So the fact that, in July of this year, a couple of thirteen-year-olds dragged some human bones out of the Coln river in Gloucestershire is hardly a world-stopper.  Nor it is suprising that these bones turned […]

Fairies and Potatoes September 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Fairies and Potatoes

  A curious story from the beginning of that most slaughter of the innocents, the Irish potato famine. Dr Edgar, an Ulsterman is out and about with his friend Mr Brannigan, who later recalled the episode. ‘On the day after the examination of the Irish schools,’ continues Mr. Brannigan, ‘[Dr Edgar] took a walk with […]

American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany #2: The Portuguese September 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany #2: The Portuguese

First of all a huge thank to those who, two days ago, sent so many interesting emails about this problem. Thanks, particularly, to Wade, the Count, Borky, Kenton and Filip, I now have the original Portuguese, which was on pdf page 44 of the unnumbered book.  This throws up two interesting points, which were hidden […]

Cycling and Florence: To Whom Do Cities Belong? September 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Cycling and Florence: To Whom Do Cities Belong?

Beach has associations with several cities in central Italy. However, his favourite city, unfortunately at the very outer limits of his migration route, is Florence: once a term, oh happy day, he goes to the ‘Flowering Place’ to give a lesson for a course. There is a lot to like about Florence, but its local […]

American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany?! #1: Hakluyt September 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany?! #1: Hakluyt

***Thanks to ANL who sent this one in*** In 1601 Richard Hakluyt translated, into English, António Galvão’s Tratado que compôs o nobre & notauel capitão Antonio Galuão, dos diuersos & desuayrados caminhos, por onde nos tempos passados a pimenta & especearia veyo da India às nossas partes, & assi de todos os descobrimentos antigos & […]

Travelling to Another World from Nineteenth-century Rochdale September 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Travelling to Another World from Nineteenth-century Rochdale

Rochdale is a rather frightening town in northern England in the County of Lancashire. We have visited the religious eccentrics of this part of Britain on several occasions before: including the search for the wandering Jew in Burnley (on the wrong side of the Pennines), and Christ in an egg in Leeds (on the right […]

Horse Whispering Witch September 16, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Horse Whispering Witch

A weird witchcraft story published in 1984, recalling an event in 1908. The date, the subject matter and the place, East Anglia, are all quite surprising as are the horses. Don’t really know what to make of this one, though it is fun to read. In 1908 I was a blacksmith’s helper working for Mr […]

The Maps of Michael Izady September 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
The Maps of Michael Izady

***Thanks to Stephen D for this one!!!*** Beach loves maps, who doesn’t? But he was sceptical about Michael Izady’s efforts until he actually went to take a look at the host site. Basically MI has set himself the task of charting ethnic, linguistic and religious groups in the Middle East. For most of us that […]

Spectacle in the Victorian Theatre September 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Spectacle in the Victorian Theatre

The Victorians had a wonderfully superficial streak, which somehow went beyond mere materialism and teetered on the sublime. There are few times where this comes out more than in their theatre spectaculars where content was sacrificed ruthlessly to effect and appearance. You want to put on Anthony and Cleopatra? Great, gut about seven of the […]

Unlucky Days: Rufus Fears Speaks September 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient
Unlucky Days: Rufus Fears Speaks

It’s always fun when academics go off message in the middle of talks. Here is a particularly crazy example from a lecture by Rufus Fears, the celebrated classics professor and editor of Lord Acton, recorded for the Teaching Company, Famous Romans, 3. (The TC, btw, puts some great stuff out there and this series of […]

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