jump to navigation

Astrology and Burning Cities May 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Astrology and Burning Cities

Astrology was the one portion of occultism that survived, with its respectability intact, into the modern age. Indeed, up until, the eighteenth century there were those who insisted that astrology should be included among the natural sciences. Then, with the Enlightenment and the birth of modern astronomy, astrology took a dive in prestige from which […]

Athens and Ghosts May 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Athens and Ghosts

  A month ago Beach published a story of a legal case between Irish tenant and landlord over a haunting. While typing the account out, while reading the emails about it and generally in that week, Beach had this strange déjà vu, nothing new under the sun feeling. He’d come across something similar before. Finally, his memory […]

Grazing Sheep, Rutting Tortoises and Academic Books May 5, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Grazing Sheep, Rutting Tortoises and Academic Books

Beach is presently reading an academic book that cost 105 dollars. There are 384 pages in said book, which means that purchasers will be expected to pay a little over 50 cents for each leaf of paper (front and back). Strangely, Beach is not bitter about the reading experience because (i) the book is a […]

Hob and Documentation May 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Hob and Documentation

Historians with their infinite archives and supercilious (and usually ill-functioning) electronic databases need lessons in modesty. And here is a ‘lesson’ that Beach stumbled upon this morning. In 1861 the following appeared in a book on archaeology. Mr. Bateman opened a circular tumulus on Baslow Moor [Derbyshire] called ‘Hob Hurst’s house’. It was a very […]

Ragamuffin Purring in 1873 (Preston) May 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Ragamuffin Purring in 1873 (Preston)

In the early days of this blog Beach celebrated the ancient Lancashire sport of purring or clog fighting (1, 2), where an opponents shins are reduced to bloody jelly with the white bone showing through. Sorry for that. In the hope of reviving this thread of posts here is a nineteenth-century allusion to the sport […]

Amazons 5#: Some Truths? Don’t Count On It… May 2, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Amazons 5#: Some Truths? Don't Count On It...

In 1542 Francisco de Orellana crossed from Chile (under Pizarro) and then passed down the Amazon to the sea with fifty men. It was an extraordinarily dangerous and uncomfortable journey and it says something for the courage and ruthlessness of the Spaniards that most were still alive when the Amazon vomited them into the Atlantic […]

Beachcombed 35 May 1, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Beachcombed
Beachcombed 35

  Dear Reader, Sorry but no time. Today is a national holiday that means I have to walk to get to my final exam (university open but buses not running). then I hope to spend the summer writing cool articles about north-western English fairy history (boggarts, bogles…) and enjoying this blog. Here are  the 13000 […]

The Earliest Description of a Zoo? April 30, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Earliest Description of a Zoo?

There is a long-standing argument among historians and archaeologists about the world’s earliest zoo. Candidates come from across Euro-Asia, from the Mediterranean to China, and include the exciting recent digs at Hierakonpolis (Hawk City), where now well over 100 animals, ranging from hippos to baboons and wildcats to dogs, have been disinterred.  However, archaeology always […]

Botched Beheadings April 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Botched Beheadings

The guillotine was originally invented as an act of humanitarianism to liberate criminal kind from the axe. It made sense, after all, to remove a criminal’s head from his or from her shoulders if that criminal had to be killed. But the procedure was messy. Two important things could go wrong while removing said head […]

Amazons #4: The Amazons Fight the Spaniards April 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Amazons #4: The Amazons Fight the Spaniards

It will be remembered that the year is 1542 and that a small Spanish party is making its way down the Amazon under the command of Francisco de Orellana. There follows the fourth and the most dramatic of the Amazon episodes in the work of Gaspar de Villar (for 1, 2 and 3 follow the […]

Blood Rain at Stoke Edith April 27, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Blood Rain at Stoke Edith

Skyfalls are normally a tedium of frogs and snails and red lobster’s tails. But this one caught Beach’s attention because of the sheer horror of the cottager and because of the very seventeenth-century reaction: get a justice of the peace, swear to it and then bring out an absurdly portentous-sounding pamphlet, A Very Strange, But […]

The Children of Bjelaja-Zerkow April 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Children of Bjelaja-Zerkow

A horrid story from August 1941 at Bjelaja-Zerkow in German occupied Soviet territory. In this town the SS murdered as many as nine hundred Jewish residents. That is nightmarish enough, of course, if unfortunately an all too typical act in the war in the east. What allows Bjelaja-Zerkow to climb a little higher in the […]

Amazons 3#: Owned by the Amazons April 25, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Amazons 3#: Owned by the Amazons

In 1542, the party led by Francisco de Orellana, travelled down the Amazon hearing rumours of a mysterious female nation of warriors: these rumours were recounted early on in two villages, and we have already covered these episodes in the previous days (1, 2). However, by June of that year the Spaniards believed that they […]

Grotesque Mesalliances April 24, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Grotesque Mesalliances

There is a school of thought that says arranged marriages work and, even for die-hard romantics like Beach, there are millennia of proof that they can. But there are also cases from every static, traditional society that leave you shaking at the potential horror of an institution that allows a father or brother to choose […]

‘Bloody Foreigners’ and English April 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Medieval, Modern
'Bloody Foreigners' and English

The British are often characterized as being insular, stand-offish and suspicious of outsiders.  And Beach has recently been fascinated by how this parochialism (which is at least partly based in fact) has left traces in the English language and more particularly in the words that English uses for nationality. It should be said, first of […]

Page 29 of 100« First...1020...2728293031...405060...Last »