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  • 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 […]

    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 […]

    A Coincidence in the County Palatine? July 13, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Coincidence in the County Palatine?

    ***Dedicated to Borky who has greater faith in coincidences than Beach*** Chesterton has that beautiful line that ‘coincidences are spiritual puns’. Well, today’s post is to celebrate a rare and seemingly unassailable coincidence in the life of this blogger: as to the ‘pun’ part any solutions gratefully accepted – drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. Should […]

    Forgotten Kingdoms: Enclave London! July 12, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Forgotten Kingdoms: Enclave London!

    In 410 the walls of Britannia came crashing down. In a situation of great confusion Rome apparently disavowed its interest in the island; the island that had always been its poorest province, and got on with trying to save its continental possessions: the failure of that task a generation later marked the end of the […]

    The Bull of Brandlesholme (another reason to avoid Lancashire) July 10, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Bull of Brandlesholme (another reason to avoid Lancashire)

    A transcendental experience this morning in the wood: came face to face with a cow-sized wild boar that sniffed at me and then went to chew on a neighbour’s cherries. Medium-sized or large creatures in the wild often have a  magical quality: foxes and deer are a particular favourite. ‘The Lords of Life’, as Lawrence […]

    Weird Jobs in the 1881 UK Census July 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Weird Jobs in the 1881 UK Census

    Spent the night and early morning looking for a much loved missing tortoise: mission accomplished at 6.42 amdist tears and recriminations. How do you punish a tortoise? This morning trying to come down from too much chocolate and coca cola. Took to racing through the 1881 census looking for unusual jobs and strange households: winding […]

    Scooby Doo, Shag and the Bleachworks July 5, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Scooby Doo, Shag and the Bleachworks

    This is a weird little story from a nineteenth-century Lancashire history. You remember the Scooby Doo formula: kids turn up, find that their local fun park is haunted by a ghost, who keeps tripping on the white sheet, and then, finally, they unmask the janitor? Well, this is a Bury equivalent. The story dates to […]

    Coulrophobia and Cricket July 2, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Coulrophobia and Cricket

    There are many reasons to loathe the English but cricket is not one of them. Cricket, according to the romantics, was the game that the squire would play with their tenants, small time farmers and landless labourers on the village green on distant Sundays in the eighteenth century. Trevelyan wrote with pardonable exaggeration: ‘if the […]

    Dreams of Murder June 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreams of Murder

    Telepathy is a curious concept and not the least curious part of this most curious ability is the inability to properly document it. However, in the annals of telepathy (so-called or imaginary, factual and always elusive) some of the most interesting cases have involved dreams and murder: ‘murder will out’ in a bouquet of pink […]

    Sex, Teachers and Students June 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Sex, Teachers and Students

    ***To Bilker*** A long argument last night about the Jeremy Forrest case with an old friend and a post that strays from the pleasantly brambled paths of history, though not, sadly, from the red brick road of education. For those outside the UK Jeremy Forrest was a twenty-nine-year-old teacher who had an affair with his […]

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