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Finns, Magic and Murder February 18, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Finns, Magic and Murder

***Dedicated to Leif who always gets me good Viking stories!*** There are Viking traditions dating back into the Middle Ages about the magic abilities of Finnish sorcerors (almost certainly Lapplanders). It is, though, bewildering to find a version of this belief surviving as late as the 1860s. This from a British newspaper. On Friday, Kar […]

Finns, Snow and Magic December 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Finns, Snow and Magic

The earliest eyewitness account of the Laplanders (the Sami) to leak into European writing comes in Alfred’s translation of Orosius (late ninth century). It depends on the testimony of one Othere (aka Ohthere), a Viking who had travelled along the freezing coast of Norway and who had encountered the peoples of the White Sea. Note […]

Jokes From World War 2 October 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jokes From World War 2

Unlike our previous post on jokes about the World Wars here are a series of jokes from world war two. Beach can’t guarantee that every single one came from the the period between Sept 1939 and the summer of 1945, but they have a contemporary feel. Here are his favourites. Note a factory worker, Marianne […]

The Trolls That Tuck You In July 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Trolls That Tuck You In

1980 a British psychic is in Finland. ‘I had hardly made myself comfortable [in the bedroom], and I was certainly not asleep or even dozing, when I heard chattering all around me. There were people in the room. Perhaps, thinking I was asleep, they had come to inspect the strange creature in their midst from […]

Creative Pretexts for War July 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Prehistoric
Creative Pretexts for War

In the good old days when we had spears and lived in tribal societies war was, for much of humanity, a seasonal activity like boar hunting and berry picking. You did not have to explain why you wanted to steal the cattle of the clan on the other side of the hill: you just got […]

All Hail the Male Witch! June 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
All Hail the Male Witch!

Why were witches, in the early modern period, women? The simple answer is that they were not. In all parts of Europe there were male witches and in some part of Europe male witches (witch = those put on trial for that crime) outnumbered narrowly or substantially the number of female witches. So at one […]

The Sausage War August 26, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary

  Beachcombing has been paying perhaps too much attention to Finland in the last two months: the result of a long infatuation with Mannerheim, the aristocratic military commander who twice saved his young country from the Soviets. He kicked off with the tale of Mannerheim’s cigar. He moved  onto a WIBT moment in the court […]

Stalin, Molotov and the Finns August 6, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Stalin, Molotov and the Finns

A brief post to celebrate a WIBT (wish I’d been there) moment from the margins of the Second World War. November 1939 and western Europe has plunged into internecine conflict. However, the non-combatant Soviet Union is enjoying itself. Indeed, it has decided to use this precious period to put the record straight with some of […]

Immortal Meals 5#: Mannerheim and the Cigar July 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Immortal Meals 5#: Mannerheim and the Cigar

Halcyon hours this birthday evening with the flash of kingfisher wings: excellent presents, visits from friends and, best of all, the food… Strict health diet suspended for one glorious twelve-hour period. Beach has just finished a litre and a half of coca cola: if God exists then he tastes like cane sugar. In tribute to […]