jump to navigation

A Jewish Hitler? April 7, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
A Jewish Hitler?

One of the most interesting ‘urban legends’ about Hitler is that the fuhrer was himself part Jewish: a notion perhaps helped along by his particularly unaryan features. It would, as a matter of fact, be truer to say that Hitler may have had Jewish ancestry. The ambiguity comes about not from Hitler’s maternal side but […]

The Rossendale Fairies Photographed? April 6, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
The Rossendale Fairies Photographed?

This week has been big in fairy land. Not only did an interesting piece appear concerning a diabolical gnome from Argentina, there were also some photographs published by the Manchester Evening News purporting to show fairies. As this blog has always taken very great pleasure in giving fairies and more importantly fairy belief space we […]

Hari-Kiri at the Hague? April 4, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Hari-Kiri at the Hague?

In 1907 three Korean representatives travelled to the Netherlands to persuade the powers meeting at the Hague Peace Conference to revoke Japanese hegemony over Korea. Their leader was Yi Jun (aka Ri Jun, Yi Chun, pictured left) and he and his two colleagues were devastated to learn, upon arrival, that they would not even be […]

Love Goddess 8: Simonetta Vespucci March 30, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Love Goddess 8: Simonetta Vespucci

Our latest in the love goddess series (for a full list see below) is Simonetta Vespucci (obit 1476), a woman that had the reputation for being the most outstanding beauty of Florence at the apogee of that city’s golden age. We know that she came from Genova (her maiden name was Cattaneo de Candia), we […]

Madame Caillavah and Her Nineteenth-Century Gold Detector March 26, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Madame Caillavah and Her Nineteenth-Century Gold Detector

In that unholy mess of blood and tradition-killing, the French Revolution, there was much sacking of national treasure houses and attempts by ‘reactionaries’ and guardians to keep some of those treasures out of the hands of the Convention. One such event took place in 1793 at St Denis when looters went over the entire Cathedral […]

Human Drum at Rennes March 18, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Human Drum at Rennes

***Thanks to Tokyobling for putting me onto this story and too many others like it*** Had a pretty disturbing week looking at the use of human skins in witchcraft and book covers: things that Beach, in his alloyed innocence, just didn’t realize existed. However, of all the human skin stories I ran across the strangest […]

Jasper Maskelyne and Magic Machine Guns in WW2 March 5, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jasper Maskelyne and Magic Machine Guns in WW2

***Dedicated to Moon Man who put me onto Jasper Maskelyne*** Jasper Maskelyne is a fascinating character from the ranks of fighting WW2 Britons. A stage magician, he found himself in the Royal Engineers at the start of the War and gave himself over to camouflage work. His book, Magic Top Secret (1949), which I’m itching […]

Colonel Fowler and the Mammoth, 1887 February 27, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Colonel Fowler and the Mammoth, 1887

Col. F. Fowler lived for 12 years in Alaska, from c.1877-1889. On finishing his time there he was asked by a reporter about the most interesting thing he had seen there. He answered as follows: Two years ago last summer I left Kodiac for a trip to the head waters of the Snake River, where […]

The Myth of Unbloody Zagonora February 26, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Myth of Unbloody Zagonora

One of the least bloody periods in the history of warfare came in early fifteenth-century Italy. The Italian city states had become a good deal less violent than a century before, and warfare was farmed out to mercenary captains, who proved themselves both greedy and all too often endearingly effete. These mercenary captains were in […]

Did You Hear the One About Nessie, the Sceptic and the Water Horse? February 2, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Did You Hear the One About Nessie, the Sceptic and the Water Horse?

Two of the most interesting Christmas books this year were Roland Watson’s The Water Horses of Loch Ness and Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero’s Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids. As is evident from the titles these books take opposite sides of the crypto argument: in fact, the authors […]

The Dragon of Dornoch? January 26, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Dragon of Dornoch?

Dragons… It has been so long. The last dragon story of kinds was the serpent crown in the summer of 2012 and the last proper dragon tale was back in spring of 2012, a seventeenth-century Essex wyrm. Here, instead, is a fascinating but potentially dodgy source for a twelfth- or thirteenth-century dragon: a letter sent […]

The Pope and His Tanks January 21, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Pope and His Tanks

If you open a book of memorable quotations you will find bon mots and phrases that have been validated by time. You will also often find controversy as to where these sentences come from and because they belong to a given people or nation or, indeed, all of humanity they are altered and reascribed. Beach […]

Spirit Photo Fakes: Katie King January 5, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Spirit Photo Fakes: Katie King

The Count (a regular contributor here) is to blame. Beach had hoped to spend just a couple of thousand nano-seconds on spirit photography, but it is so extraordinarily interesting. Last time we looked at some late nineteenth-century photographs where ghostly  loved ones were portrayed with their families in the most transparent fakes.  But what about […]

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 […]

Carter, Poland and a Translator December 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Carter, Poland and a Translator

In 1977 Carter visited Poland on his first trip abroad as President. Poland had long been in the US’s cross-hairs. It was the country in the Eastern Block that was most likely to cause the Soviet Union problems and the reputation of the Polish people for resisting foreign tyrrany, of course, went before them. By […]

Page 1 of 1212345...10...Last »