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More Caithness Mermaids October 23, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern

Mermaid posts. It has been a while… This one should be read together with another nineteenth-century Caithness sighting. It cannot be a coincidence that two letters were sent at the same time relating to the same village. Presumably the publicity given to Miss Mackay in late May for her sighting, encouraged or emboldened William Munro, […]

Berlin, 30 April 1945 October 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Berlin, 30 April 1945

Beachcombing had two formative experiences over the last week. One was discovering that peanut, banana and honey sandwiches can be substantially improved through the use of raw ginger. The other was watching Die Untergang (Downfall) the 2004 film describing the final days of Hitler in April 1945. On balance, Beach prefers the liberal use of […]

Escapes, Wives and Cases October 21, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Escapes, Wives and Cases

A reflection on escapees. Beachcombing  was brought up in the shadow of the Second World War where escape stories were  nutrition for a growing boy. Then he made the mistake of reading the Count of Monte Cristo at an impressionable age. Are there any more exciting pages in fiction than Edmond’s fake funeral? Beach can […]

Eleven Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Strange Deaths October 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Eleven Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Strange Deaths

A slow day in Beachcombing’s world. Exams, exams, exams… In any case, onto the post. The following extracts – yet more death, sorry – come from a rare eighteenth and nineteenth century sub-category of low journalism: the weird death. The closest in today’s world is to be found in Fortean Times’ very enjoyable Strange Deaths […]

Immortal Meals 6#: Arguments at Tehran October 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Immortal Meals 6#: Arguments at Tehran

WIBT (Wish I’d been there)  moments from the Big Three Conference at Tehran in 1943 are so numerous that a casual reader would be spoilt for choice: Marshal Voroshilov dropping the Sword of Stalingrad at the worst possible moment in the ceremonials; German intelligence’s attempts to kill Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin; agreement on the United […]

Incitatus: Caligula’s Horse October 18, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Incitatus: Caligula's Horse

The mad and bad Gaius Caligula (37-41 AD), third emperor of Rome had a reputation for cruel insanity and was responsible for the death of his grandmother, his father and several thousand Romans. But no one could say that he didn’t treat his horses well. The most celebrated, Incitatus, was given a retinue of eighteen […]

From the Mahogany Ship to Mons Badonicus: An Archaeological Fantasia October 17, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
From the Mahogany Ship to Mons Badonicus: An Archaeological Fantasia

Inspired by thoughts of Nag Hammadi, Howard Carter and Leslie Alcock at Cadbury Beachcombing spent an  evening wondering about archaeological fantasias, discoveries that he hopes will be made before he  himself becomes an archaeological subject and is put into the ground. Boudica’s grave. Boudica was, of course, the queen of the Iceni who gave Nero […]

Swedish Husbands and Yemeni Wives October 16, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Swedish Husbands and Yemeni Wives

A bit of non-history fluff today that has been going around and around in Beachcombing’s head: the strange compatibilities and incompatibilities of married couples from different cultures. When British Beachcombing himself happily tied the knot with his Italian wife a decade ago, he was told that married life with ‘foreigners’ was more interesting but more […]

The Wold Cottage Meteorite October 15, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Wold Cottage Meteorite

Beachcombing has, over the months, given some publicity to meteorite history, the intrusion of bolides into human affairs, and today he thought he would do tribute to a rock that came hurtling from the sky in 1795. Though not in itself a particularly remarkable example of the shooting star the Wold Cottage Meteorite changed scientific […]

Hearts, Genies and Gnosticism at Nag Hammadi October 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
Hearts, Genies and Gnosticism at Nag Hammadi

Howard Carter whispering ‘wonderful things’, Leslie Alcock finding Dark Age timber at Cadbury (‘that was Camelot’), Bedouin shepherds investigating a complex of caves at the Dead Sea… All wonderful, of course. But for Beachcombing none of these quite match the thrill of the discovery at Nag Hammadi in 1945. In that year, possibly in December, […]

Suger’s Sherbert Holder October 13, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Suger's Sherbert Holder

In previous posts Beachcombing has celebrated objects that have long and interesting histories: take, for example, the Baltic buddhas, Cellini’s canon or the Dauphin’s heart. It was with some excitement then that he just recently stumbled upon a vase that made, in the Middle Ages, its way from Moorish Spain through the hands of several […]

Ultra, Enigma, Secrets and Squealing October 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Ultra, Enigma, Secrets and Squealing

Regular readers of this blog will know that Beach is extremely suspicious of conspiracy theories and those who write about them. However, one partial exception is Robin Ramsay, joint founder of Lobster Magazine, a Fortean Times columnist and a general conspiracy guru. RR certainly has a thorough understanding of conspiracy theorists: ‘[w]hat is wrong with […]

Royal Claimants October 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Royal Claimants

A brief post today as visits from Beachcombing’s parents and his girls’s grandparents are proving a distraction. There is just time though to share with his readers a couple of fabulous photographs that he has dug up. At the head of this page you will find Sigismund Otto Maria Josef Gottfried Henrich Erik Leopold Ferdinand […]

Maggie Walls and Witch Cobblers October 10, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Maggie Walls and Witch Cobblers

A historian is someone who spoils a good story with the truth. Bear this in mind as you read of the final extinction of the celebrated witch Maggie Walls, whose monument stands at Dunning in Perthshire. Maggie, legend tells, was burnt at the stake on this spot in 1657, though there is much doubt as […]

The Meal that Stopped a Suicide October 9, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Meal that Stopped a Suicide

As Beach soars out of his convalescence here is a modern nonsense post to enjoy from the immortal meals series. The problem is that Beach cannot be sure that this meal ever took place: given the loons involved it may just have been a Futurist fantasy. But where the likes of Marinetti and Fillìa are […]

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