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  • Napoleon and the Great Pyramid: Myth and Reality December 2, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    Napoleon and the Great Pyramid: Myth and Reality

    One of the best WIBT (wish I’d been there) moments in history must have been that wonderful occasion when Napoleon ascended to the royal chamber in the Great Pyramid and asked to spend a minute alone with the pharoahs: perhaps it is so fantastically attractive as history because no one was there and so there […]

    Dropping Things from Planes in WW1 November 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Dropping Things from Planes in WW1

    With insouciance and innocence man took to the air and then in the First World War began to fight in the air. The pilots were suicidally brave and also almost childlike in their duels. Along with the machine guns there were jokes and jests with friends and enemies alike. In this short post Beach wanted […]

    Jokes About the World Wars October 4, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Jokes About the World Wars

    Laughing about the Great War and the Second World War? Probably not in good taste. But some jokes get closer than narrative history to the sheer pointlessness of it all. Three of the best jokes we’ve found follow. First, let’s start with WW1 reduced to a bar fight. Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together […]

    Execution Substitution: Has It Ever Happened? September 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
     Execution Substitution: Has It Ever Happened?

    A weird little episode that Beach can’t get out of his head. 20 January 1793 the news has come that Louis XVI will be executed/murdered/killed the next day. It is difficult for us to understand the frantic actions undertaken by monarchists in Paris in their do or die efforts to save ‘the anointed of God’. […]

    Burning Lesbians September 6, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Burning Lesbians

      Christianity has never been particularly friendly to homosexuality, but from the thirteenth century things started to heat up immensely. There were some footling differences between sodomy and other ‘sex crimes’, but if a man was accused of having sex with a man in any form then there was an excellent chance that both would […]

    Evans-Wentz and a Missing Thesis July 16, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Evans-Wentz and a Missing Thesis

    Walter Evans-Wentz (obit 1965) was an American mystic who wrote, as a young man, before his interests went eastwards, the most important twentieth-century book about fairies: The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, published at Oxford in 1911. That book, available in many places on the web, can be broken down into three parts. The first […]

    French Witch Body Vandalism June 24, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    French Witch Body Vandalism

    This is taken from a French newspaper from 1864. It reminds Beach of the beginning of one of those 1970s British neo-pagan horror films, Blood on Satan’s Claw, Wicker Man and the like. In fact, Beach would not like to be Lemonnier… He’d probably have a couple of very unlikely erotic experiences and then be […]

    Transvestite Protestors: Why, When and Where? June 23, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Transvestite Protestors: Why, When and Where?

    ***Dedicated to Chris*** Modern and early modern social movements are not normally Beach’s thing. He’ll let the likes of Eric Hobsbawm salivate over those. But just yesterday an email brought a peculiar Irish American phenomenon to his attention: the Molly Maguires, previously known to this author only from Conan Doyle’s Valley of Fear.  The Mollys […]

    Magonia #8: The Comte de Gabalis and the Sylphs June 18, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Magonia #8: The Comte de Gabalis and the Sylphs

    The Magonia series is now almost at an end. But Beach could not sink the sky boats without a reference to the Comte de Gabalis, one of the most hellishly strange books ever written (first edition 1670). The CdG is a seventeenth-century esoteric text, essentially a long discussion of the secret life of elementals: the […]

    Magonia #7: Grimaldus and Chemical Warfare June 15, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Magonia #7: Grimaldus and Chemical Warfare

    There follows another extract from Agobard’s essay on thunder and hail. It is not actually linked in any way to Magonia: so why bother? Well, first, it is certainly bizarre and should be recorded on strangehistory. And, second, because many who have written on Magonia have undeservedly conflated the Tempestarii and this strange episode. A […]

    Blood at El-Halia June 13, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Blood at El-Halia

    Civil war is always terrible. But the Anglo-Saxon world has experienced, at least in modern times, relatively mild versions. The English Civil War was admittedly the most traumatic event on British soil in the last seven hundred years, but, with shameful exceptions from Scotland and Ireland, civilians were not usually put to the sword. Likewise […]

    Magonia #5: What’s In A Name? June 8, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Magonia #5: What's In A Name?

    One significant part of the Magonia puzzle that Beach has not yet troubled with is the name. Surely there should be a clue in those four syllables as to what Magonia really was? Well, there have been, suitably enough, four theories that have been put forward, over the years, to explain what the word ‘Magonia’ […]

    Nine Historical Mysteries June 6, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Nine Historical Mysteries

    ***Dedicated to Moonman*** Thanks to an email from an old friend of StrangeHistory Beach found himself wondering about moments from history that are mysterious, and where this blogger would chop off his own digits to get at the truth. In what follows, he has avoided the classics because, to be frank, he just doesn’t care […]

    Magonia #4: Sky Ships and Moebius Strips June 3, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Magonia #4: Sky Ships and Moebius Strips

    Back to Magonia. Agobard leaves no space for doubt: in early medieval popular tradition there are sky boats and these sky boats are connected with a magical land named Magonia. Now after reviewing the evidence for Agobard himself, a crusty old sceptic, and looking too at the folklore traditions about European hail medicine (Beach would […]

    Magonia #3: The Tempestarii May 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Magonia #3: The Tempestarii

    After a few days delay, back to Magonia… Agobard’s reference to Magonia is often quoted, in translations of variable quality. But far less attention is paid to his references in the same text (‘Contra insulsam vulgi opinionem de grandine et tonitruis’) to tempestarii or stormy-ones: In these parts [i.e. what is today southern France] almost […]

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