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  • Murder, McCormick, Murray and the Witches October 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Murder, McCormick, Murray and the Witches

    In 1968 Donald McCormick published  Murder by Witchcraft (Arrow Books), it was one of about forty books that he wrote (under his own name or that of ‘Richard Deacon’) and it was, like many, perhaps all of the others, shot through with falsehoods and lies. Beach has examined Donald’s porkies on Jack the Ripper and on Madoc […]

    Why Do We Forget Soviet Murder? October 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Why Do We Forget Soviet Murder?

    Between 1917 when Lenin declared the revolution to 1956 and the invasion of Hungary Soviet massacres of innocents or opponents were frequent, massive and only seriously contested in the West by the small national Communist parties. Yet one of the extraordinary things about these bloody outbursts is that they have been forgotten by all but […]

    Mythologised Suicides? Levi and Turing October 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Mythologised Suicides? Levi and Turing

    Suicides are not always easy to determine. Did the man who drove his car into a bridge support do so as a deliberate act because he had just learnt of his bankruptcy or did he do so because he had not slept for 24 hours and was exhausted and prone to error? Did the woman […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: Bodies in Trees October 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: Bodies in Trees

    Kay Massingill has recently offered to readers of Forteana Exchange a series of body in tree stories. The earliest seems to be this one from 1873 and they carry on into the 1920s. The tale typically has it that someone, perhaps escaping from danger, climbs into a tree, then cannot get out. That brings us to […]

    The Churchill Coventry Myth September 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Churchill Coventry Myth

    Did Churchill allow Coventry to be bombed to save the Enigma secret?

    The Chester Cat Hoax of 1815 September 3, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Chester Cat Hoax of 1815

    This is a short story published some 90 years after the event it supposedly described: Chester is a city on the northern Welsh borders. This story is frequently retold in miscellany of the bizarre, local histories and Francis Wheen includes it in his marvelous The Chatto Book of Cats, 1993. There are three interesting points: […]

    In Search of Misha’al August 3, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    In Search of Misha'al

    Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud was a princess who was, 15 July 1977, shot several times in the head in a carpark in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 1977: Misha’al was the granddaughter of Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the power behind the Saudi throne and one of the original Saudi playboys. Moments after Misha’al’s death her […]

    The Tower Monster #10: Cobblers July 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #10: Cobblers

    This wrap-up post looks at some of the modern accounts of the cylinder/bear ghost and particularly their inaccuracies. This is not done in a condescending way or with spite: this blogger makes factual mistake after factual mistake as his readers constantly remind him. It is, instead, to show again how we, with paranormal sources, where […]

    The Tower Monster #9: The Sexual Predator Ghost July 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Tower Monster #9: The Sexual Predator Ghost

    Chris from Haunted Ohio Books a world authority on ghosts (and urban legends, and fairies and…) has written in with an extract from a book entitled Familiar Spirits: Sexual Hauntings Through the Ages, Colin Waters, Robert Hale,1993, (for pdf extract click here) sexual hauntings. CW reviews the evidence but then reveals a new source ‘another nineteenth century […]

    The Sasquatch: Bigger is Better June 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Sasquatch: Bigger is Better

    There is a natural and very understandable human tendency to see a terrifying four-foot dog and describe it, honestly, to your neighbour as a terrifying six-foot dog. This is well known, of course, and may be behind the extraordinarily long lengths given to some snakes, a previous subject of this blog. However, there is another […]

    Killed by a Watermelon? Royal Iranian Caprices… June 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Killed by a Watermelon? Royal Iranian Caprices...

    Even by the standards of oriental despots Mohammad Khan Qajar was a pretty nasty piece of work. He had himself survived as a young man because the then ruler of Persia had decided only to castrate MKQ instead of having him killed, a decision he would soon regret. MKQ was not apparently a sadist. But […]

    The Flint Hill Wildman: The Victims June 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Flint Hill Wildman: The Victims

    This is the best wild man story yet, it reads like a very bad film, but, like many bad films, the story is compulsive. It came from the Cincinnati Enquirer. Many most mysterious and startling events have occurred in this county in the last last three years, and, by a most terrible and sensational discovery […]

    Death by Bell Ringing May 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Death by Bell Ringing

    In a moment of divine madness, a couple of years ago, Beach asked a question about knights and lightning: basically were sardine cans on horsebacks with long lances natural lightning rods? He has been inspired today to ask another lightning question. The following passage is taken from Wikipedia page on bell-ringers, one of Wiks less […]

    The Durham Serpent May 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Durham Serpent

    Here is a weird little story that allegedly appears in St Nicholas’ Parochial Register, Durham for 1568. Mdm. that a certain Italian brought into the cittie of Durham, the 11th day of June, in the yeare above sayd, a very great strange and monstrous serpent, in length sixteen feet, in quantitie and dimentions greater than a […]

    The Mysterious Erich von Richthofen May 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Mysterious Erich von Richthofen

    The King and Country debate has been described previously on this blog. It was a talk at Oxford Students’ Union 9 Feb 1933, which saw 275 to 153 students vote for the motion ‘that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country’. This surprisingly pacifist stance from a major British institution attracted […]

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