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Magic Bathing in the Far North February 9, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Magic Bathing in the Far North

This was a story that came up in the search for nineteenth-century superstitions relating to Loch Ness. We are c. 1870. The lake in question is apparently Loch mo Naire (which might be the Serpent’s Lake or the Lake of Shame) aka Lochmanur just on the northern tip of Scotland. Dipping in the loch for […]

More, Good Digestion and a Prayer December 31, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
More, Good Digestion and a Prayer

Beach, in the tradition of rather straitened New Years Day posts wishes his readers the best of 2014 with this little prayer that was sent in by a friend. As always replace ‘Lord’ with ‘Allah’, ‘First Contact’, ‘the Universe’, ‘Historical Materialism’ till your tastes are satisified… Give me a good digestion, Lord, And also something […]

Monotheistic Moments November 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Monotheistic Moments

There seems to be no question that early human societies were polytheistic. Might it even be said that polytheism is the natural human condition? Perhaps monotheism is the equivalent of Big Macs and fried mars bars, whereas we should all really be eating freshly killed gazelle and the fruits of the forest? There is, in […]

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 […]

Travelling to Another World from Nineteenth-century Rochdale September 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Travelling to Another World from Nineteenth-century Rochdale

Rochdale is a rather frightening town in northern England in the County of Lancashire. We have visited the religious eccentrics of this part of Britain on several occasions before: including the search for the wandering Jew in Burnley (on the wrong side of the Pennines), and Christ in an egg in Leeds (on the right […]

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 […]

Peter, Abraham and Muhammad on the Wrong Side of the Urals June 16, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Peter, Abraham and Muhammad on the Wrong Side of the Urals

Here’s a bizarre scenario (with no basis in the historical record…). c.c.c.1000 a Jewish, a Muslim and a Christian missionary find themselves on the wrong side of the Ural Mountains among a horse-killing, horse-worshipping pagan people (and before anyone writes in there is some ancient and medieval evidence for Jewish ‘evangelism’). The Christian missionary, Peter, […]

Swiss Zulus June 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Swiss Zulus

‘Never invade Russia in November’, ‘never start a land war in Asia’ and ‘don’t ever but ever bring a sword to a gun fight’. That last point might be self evident. However, because of the technological gap between different cultures in the post medieval period, all too often courageous men with spears and blades found […]

William Thornber and the Witches, Boggarts, Sorcerers and People of the Fylde June 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
William Thornber and the Witches, Boggarts, Sorcerers and People of the Fylde

Part of the StrangeHistory project is to put up sources that for some reason have not made it onto Google Books and the like. In an attempt to do just this Beach spent a long hour typing out, yesterday, 3000 words from William Thornber’s The History of Blackpool and its Neighbourhood (Poulton 1837). I know, […]

Inscribed Egg from Lancashire May 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Inscribed Egg from Lancashire

What is the most popular page on this blog? Beach would have expected his work on the last cavalry charge or on the Fairy Investigation Society (happy days) or possibly some of his writing on capital punishment. But not a bit of it. The most popular post picked up by Google and its users is […]

Christian Indians in Sixteenth-Century Brazil? May 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Christian Indians in Sixteenth-Century Brazil?

Today a return to the Amazon and a passage from Carvajal’s journal of Orellana’s mad rush for the sea in 1542: the Spaniards were, it will be remembered, sailing down that river towards the Atlantic. Regular readers will recall that we dedicated a number of posts to this expedition to try and uncover more information […]

Magonia #2: Agobard of Lyons May 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Magonia #2: Agobard of Lyons

Very few people who write on Magonia, describe the author who has preserved that land’s memory, or at least there is rarely more than a courtesy nod in the direction of Agobard of Lyons. Let’s, for the sake of novelty, go into more detail here. Perhaps the first thing to say about Agobard of Lyons […]

Soul Selling in Eighteenth-Century London May 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Soul Selling in Eighteenth-Century London

A melancholy day today and so Beach thought that he would enjoy some soul-selling. We are in eighteenth-century London and in the middle of one of those stories that are a little difficult to credit. A young maid, who lived formerly at Kensington, but, removing from thence, lived in St. Martin’s le Grand, London, being […]

The Evils of Chess! April 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Evils of Chess!

Chess! The taut, horrid syllable is enough to unveil the rotteneness at the heart of that most dreadful of games. Avoid it! Turn from it! Ostracise those who play it! Ok, Beach is playing out here, but he recently came across this extraordinary quotation from an Anglican vicar from Essex, at the death of his […]

Dogs of God! Christian Werewolves? March 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Dogs of God! Christian Werewolves?

This is one of those rare times in the early modern witch craze where one feels sorry for the judges.  I mean they turn up at Jurgensburg in Livonia on the Baltic expecting an easy burning: old man widely thought to be a witch hauled up in front of them (though on another charge) and […]

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