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  • Last State Persecuted Witch in Europe October 2, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Last State Persecuted Witch in Europe

    We are in 1862 and a letter arrives in the UK from Hungary and Reka. A few days since a farmer, residing in the commune of Bazas, denounced his daughter-in-law as a witch, and said it was she who had for a long time prevented rain from falling. He moreover affirmed that for several months […]

    Beachcombed 40 October 1, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Beachcombed
    Beachcombed 40

      Dear Reader, October Beach is presently away from home. Mrs Beach is at home dealing with one child with chronic and coming earache and the other bairn with chronic and now going toothache. Funny how imperfectly the human body is made. Father-in-law’s builder crisis continues though the first assault on the dishonest so and […]

    Jumping the Broomstick September 30, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jumping the Broomstick

    Here’s an account from the marches of Yorkshire and Lancashire. It involves a very unusual folk wedding in the late nineteeenth or the early twentieth century. One of the strangest sights that I ever saw in my early inn days was a ‘brush steyl’ wedding at an inn on the Stanedge Road. We had been […]

    The Lion That Didn’t Roar! September 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Lion That Didn't Roar!

    Chris from Haunted Ohio Books sent the following late nineteenth-century theatre story in. It would be difficult to beat this. Never, but never work with children and animals. Someone connected with ‘The Soudan’, the English romantic drama which has already surpassed every theatrical record in Boston, thought that a live lion led on the stage […]

    The West Without Christianity: Neo-Platonism, Allah or Jupiter? September 28, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    The West Without Christianity: Neo-Platonism, Allah or Jupiter?

    Woke up with a crazy counter-factual thought. Let’s say that Christ is born and becomes messiah to a select group of Nazarenes. He is crucified and allegedly rises from the dead: keep or strike the ‘allegedly’ as pleases you. However, then things go awry. Paul never has a migraine on the Road to Damascus and […]

    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 & […]

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