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  • Dumb Duels #5: Golf Duel January 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dumb Duels #5: Golf Duel

    A golf duel from the US picked up by a British newspaper in 1927 and so dating to that year? From America comes an account of a strange duel – a combat with golf clubs and balls as ‘the weapons’ wherewith two disputants went out to seek satisfaction. A St. Louis man and a visitor […]

    Dumb Duels #4: Cigarette Duel December 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dumb Duels #4: Cigarette Duel

    A nice story from the British press about a duel  at Casale (not clear where this is other than northern Italy) from a great Italian actor, Ernesto Rossi (obit 1897): a cigarette duel. A strange duel is related to have been fought by the celebrated tragedian Signor Rossi. The latter, during a farewell performance of […]

    Dumb Duels #3: Cannon Duel November 12, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dumb Duels #3: Cannon Duel

    Beach recently revived one of his favourite tags, the duel and the dumb duel. Here is a doubtful sounding example reported in a British newspaper in 1890. The date of the duel itself should be about 1875, which means that an argument between provincial army officers had a lot of time to be exaggerated into […]

    Dumb Duels #2: Whip Duel October 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dumb Duels #2: Whip Duel

    Beach has neglected for some time the honourable pursuit of dumb duelling: duels where either the weapon or the motive or preferably both were absurd. Here is one from 1853 from France. It is reported in a contemporary English newspaper so it may even, say it quietly, be true. Enter the whip duel A singular duel […]

    The Poison Duel 11#: Poison Duels in Plays and Conclusion October 29, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Poison Duel 11#: Poison Duels in Plays and Conclusion

    Woe, the poison duel series is over, at least till someone else finds some new evidence. Here though are two bits of supplementary evidence, poison duels in plays. This slightly bitchy review appeared in 1835. Another new burletta, entitled An Affair of Honour, was also produced during the week at this theatre. The main interest […]

    The Poison Duel 9#: Poison Duel at the Theatre October 17, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 9#: Poison Duel at the Theatre

    This story comes from a German grammar book with Teutonic compositions dating to 1903 An apothecary once insulted an officer. The officer therefore challenged him to a duel. The duel was to be with pistols. When the opponents had arrived, the apothecary said: ‘I am not used to fighting with pistols, but I have another […]

    The Poison Duel 8#: Animal Poison Duels October 12, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 8#: Animal Poison Duels

    Thanks to Chris from Haunted Ohio Books for pointing out a dimension of the poison duel that Beach had recklessly passed by: poison duel by animal. First, the tarantula duel from 1887 courtesy of Chris Grand Forks [North Dakota] Daily Herald 20 September 1887: p. 3 A Toledo (O) special dispatch says: Particulars of a […]

    The Poison Duel 7#: Molever vs Mullins October 9, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 7#: Molever vs Mullins

    To add to the Poison Duels series here is another fictional story. This time from the Sunderland Daily Echo 17 July 1895, but taken originally from Tit Bit 21 July 1894. Beach loved it and found it more satisfying than the other poison duel set in Germany. Other Poison Duel fictions? Drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com There were […]

    The Poison Duel 6#: The Poisoned Draught October 5, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 6#: The Poisoned Draught

    There follows a story that appeared during research into poison duels. As with many duel stories it is thrilling: ref Hartlepool Mail, 18 Dec 1888, 4. Herr Karl von Krulhanser— the Professor, he was called— was an eccentric man of science. With the exception of a few students, to whom he gave private lessons, he […]

    The Poison Duel 5#: Poison Dominoes in Poland September 27, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 5#: Poison Dominoes in Poland

    The poison duel is dramatic enough: two men with two glasses before them, one poison, one not. Both swig at the same time. But just imagine now, instead, that you add dominoes into the mix. Yes, dominoes… Perhaps only death by lawn bowling or tiddlewinks could be more exciting. This story dates to 1882 when […]

    The Poison Duel 4#: The Medical Origins of the Poison Duel? September 23, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    The Poison Duel 4#: The Medical Origins of the Poison Duel?

    The earliest nineteenth-century poison duel seems to have been that almost fought in 1821 in Virginia. However, there are pre-nineteenth-century records and strangely they concern doctors. The earliest record anywhere that Beach has been able to dig up was an alleged reference in the Iranian poet Nizami (obit 1209). Nizami in one poem (Treasury of […]

    The Poison Duel 3#: Poison at Dawn in Virginia September 19, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 3#: Poison at Dawn in Virginia

    Throughout the poison duels series Beach has noted their essential lack of veracity: that is most seem to be made up or at least there is no respectable proof that they took place. Here, however, is one case that seems quite reliable. There was not, admittedly, a poison duel: but someone suggested such a duel […]

    The Poison Duel 2#: Crossing Poison Pills in Louisiana September 17, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 2#: Crossing Poison Pills in Louisiana

    The following story, reported in 1895, uses assumed names and starts in Louisiana, the cradle of the tall tale: be suspicious, be very suspicious. A man, de Vailliere, approaches a woman to learn that another, Armand, is interested in her. Armand feeling insulted offers a duel: but here brave de Vallierre feels himself on the […]

    The Poison Duel 1#: Introduction September 14, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 1#: Introduction

    The poison duel is a classic of duelling literature. Two men decide to settle a matter of honour using poison as a weapon. Here the exact modality of life and death varies but the basic strategy is as follows: a pill is filled with water, and a second pill is filled with poison (sometimes glasses […]

    Unusual Wild West Duels August 3, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Unusual Wild West Duels

    Duels out in the unconquered west and in the badlands of Mexico should, by rights, just be a matter of six shooters and a fast finger and a faster hand. But here are three examples that show that nineteenth-century eccentricity over duels also reached far beyond New England. Let’s start with a particularly nasty one. […]

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