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  • Image: Murder of Woman and Child at Ivanhorod July 28, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Image: Murder of Woman and Child at Ivanhorod

    Of all the murderous shots taken on the eastern front in the Second World War here is the one that has slowly pushed its rivals aside to become the atrocity picture: it appears on book covers, DVDs and in trailers for TV programmes. This is quite understandable. The shot has the right combination of pathos […]

    The Wessel Coins #3: Kilwa and its Sultanate July 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Wessel Coins #3: Kilwa and its Sultanate

      Kilwa (or Quiloa as it was often called in European sources) was a small almost-tidal island off the coast of Tanzania. ‘Almost tidal’ because in its early history there was allegedly a causeway and even in later centuries it was possible to wade to Kilwa at low tide. The city of Kilwa was a […]

    Women and Trains July 26, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Women and Trains

    Beachcombing has a dear aged friend who left her native country and came to live in the UK in the late 1930s. On her first day in the capital she, then a fresh-faced beautiful woman, climbed onto a train at Waterloo (follow the link for the best Churchill story of them all) and settled down […]

    Giant Spiders in Bristol July 25, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Giant Spiders in Bristol

    Derren Brown is a gifted English mentalist and an ultra sceptic (atheist, materialist…) in the mould of the great Houdini and the sometimes great Randi. You can usually get to the bottom of DB’s tricks, which makes them all the more interesting. This is Beach’s favourite. He simultaneously plays seven chess professionals, simultaneously wins four, […]

    Forgotten Kingdoms: The Gagauz and Identity Problems July 24, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Forgotten Kingdoms: The Gagauz and Identity Problems

    Eastern Europe is full of unexpected populations. But few are as fun as the Gagauz,  a proud and ancient people, based in what is today southern Moldova. Of course, most modern westerners have never heard of Moldova – historically part of Romania – let alone that country’s tiny minority in the south. But the Gagauz […]

    The Wessel Coins #2: The Coins July 23, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
    The Wessel Coins #2: The Coins

    In a previous post we examined the background to the discovery of the Wessel Coins. Today, instead, it is time to look at why the coins are so exciting. It will be remembered that Morrie Isenberg came across nine coins on the beach in Jensen Bay. These coins break down into two classes, and this […]

    Treasure-Hunting in Lancs July 22, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Treasure-Hunting in Lancs

    Today is not a day to celebrate. Those bastards who provide Beach with his internet supply have been playing games for a week now. Beach finds himself, this morning, stranded without a signal. In desperation he has, therefore, been reduced to typing up the following post, putting it on a pen drive and giving it […]

    It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession… July 21, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession…

    Imagine Jane Austen at her writing desk while sister is downstairs playing the harpsichord. Suddenly there is an excited knock on the door and Cassandra comes running up the stairs. ‘Jane, tis so exciting, some Inuit have come to the Hall. George Cartwright brought them back from Labrador.’ Jane puts down her pen and passes […]

    Flying Drums in Tibet July 20, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Flying Drums in Tibet

    A lot of interest recently in the objects used by witches to fly: broomsticks, trees etc: Other weird flying objects, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. This brought Beach to parallel traditions, among which is the extraordinary flying drum of Tibet. An earliest, perhaps the earliest example on record follows here.  The description is of a […]

    A Suicidal Ghost July 19, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Suicidal Ghost

    To follow up on a recentish post on suicide, here is a suicide and a ghost. Note that the suicide is certainly factual, as he had just appeared in the newspaper. Beach was struck by how jaunty, active and, well, pissed this ghost was. Thinking about it there are some of these ghost stories where […]

    Colonialism and Burying the Irish Under Buildings July 18, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Colonialism and Burying the Irish Under Buildings

    Luise White published, in 2000, her Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa. Very crudely – the book is difficult to reduce to a simple core because it recognizes complexity on the ground –White shows how colonial anxiety was played out through what she chose to call ‘vampire’ legends. Europeans and their agents […]

    Review: Barry, Witchcraft and Demonology July 17, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: Barry, Witchcraft and Demonology

    Witchcraft is extraordinarily popular in history faculties: there can be few first grade universities that don’t offer either a course on witchcraft or a course that has a witchcraft component. But caveat emptor, actually most of these courses are not about witchcraft, but about the witch hunt, in which tens of thousands of men and […]

    Evans-Wentz and a Missing Thesis July 16, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Evans-Wentz and a Missing Thesis

    Walter Evans-Wentz (obit 1965) was an American mystic who wrote, as a young man, before his interests went eastwards, the most important twentieth-century book about fairies: The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, published at Oxford in 1911. That book, available in many places on the web, can be broken down into three parts. The first […]

    Vindictive Welsh Saints July 15, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Vindictive Welsh Saints

    Gerald of Wales has the following to say about the Irish: This seems to me a thing to be noticed that just as the men of this country are during this mortal life more prone to anger and revenge than any other race, so in eternal death the saints of this land that have been […]

    The Wessel Coins #1: Morry Isenberg’s Discovery July 14, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Wessel Coins #1: Morry Isenberg’s Discovery

    28 February 2013 the Indiana-University-Purdue-University sent out a press release announcing modestly: ‘IUPUI led expedition seeks source of thousand-year-old coins in Aboriginal Australia’. Nothing to see, move on? Well, it took the world’s press some time to catch on, the real interest only came in May. But, of course, ‘thousand’ year old coins in Australia […]

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