jump to navigation

A Bugged Conversation from June 1945? May 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
A Bugged Conversation from June 1945?

***Dedicated to Cristiano and the memory of his old friend Johann Elser*** In the 1930s and the 1940s Britain boasted perhaps the best intelligence services in the world, with only the Soviets as rivals. SIS (aka MI6) operated throughout the Empire but also in allied and potential enemy countries to great effect. When World War […]

Botched Beheadings April 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Botched Beheadings

The guillotine was originally invented as an act of humanitarianism to liberate criminal kind from the axe. It made sense, after all, to remove a criminal’s head from his or from her shoulders if that criminal had to be killed. But the procedure was messy. Two important things could go wrong while removing said head […]

The Children of Bjelaja-Zerkow April 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Children of Bjelaja-Zerkow

A horrid story from August 1941 at Bjelaja-Zerkow in German occupied Soviet territory. In this town the SS murdered as many as nine hundred Jewish residents. That is nightmarish enough, of course, if unfortunately an all too typical act in the war in the east. What allows Bjelaja-Zerkow to climb a little higher in the […]

The Evils of Chess! April 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Evils of Chess!

Chess! The taut, horrid syllable is enough to unveil the rotteneness at the heart of that most dreadful of games. Avoid it! Turn from it! Ostracise those who play it! Ok, Beach is playing out here, but he recently came across this extraordinary quotation from an Anglican vicar from Essex, at the death of his […]

Germania: A Nightmare Deferred March 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Germania: A Nightmare Deferred

‘Egypt’s might is tumbled down/ Down a-down the deeps of thought;/ Greece is fallen and Troy town,/ Glorious Rome hath lost her crown,/ Venice’s pride is nought./ But the dreams their children dreamed/ Fleeting, unsubstantial, vain/ Shadowy as the shadows seemed/ Airy nothing, as they deemed,/ These remain.’ Beautiful poem Mary (Coleridge), but thankfully some […]

Review: Witches, Fantasies and Fairies March 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Review: Witches, Fantasies and Fairies

In 1966 Carlo Ginzburg, a WANW Italian historian, published I Benandanti. In this book, Ginzburg argued that a group of sixteenth-century Friulian peasants, who believed themselves to have  super powers – they could fly and fight witches – were the last traces of a pre-Christian fertility cult in the region. Ginzburg went on to argue that […]

Feline Paws through History March 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Feline Paws through History

***Dedicated to Larry, Why Evolution is True and Andy the Mad Monk*** Feline lovers will curse us for saying this but the cat has not played a huge role in history. True, we have observed here in the past some its few runs across the stage of the past including the notorious cat organ, cat […]

British Occultists and World War II February 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
British Occultists and World War II

World War II has come to Britain. The country you love is in peril. What do you do? Young men become soldiers. Young women nurses or volunteers. Pacifists argue against the insanity of it all. The old end up on fire-watching duty or filling in crucial holes in industry. Centenarians start knitting socks for the […]

Hitler’s Bizarre Sex Life? February 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Hitler's Bizarre Sex Life?

Hitler’s sex life has spawned thousands of pages of discussion and speculation. Indeed, there are whole books given over to the subject, many chapters and countless paragraphs. Hell, there are even schools of thought: Hitler the copromaniac, Hitler the homosexual, Hitler the heterosexual… All compete to give an insight into Hitler’s anger and his surreal […]

Wanted Balkan King! January 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Wanted Balkan King!

A question. What modern European country asked a cricketer, the son of a Sultan, a German prince, a circus acrobat and a Gaelic-speaking Scot to be their monarch within ten short years? The answer is, of course, Albania. A tiny Adriatic power to the north of Greece, Albania has a history that you wouldn’t wish […]

Forgotten Kingdom: The Bird-Shit Island January 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Forgotten Kingdom: The Bird-Shit Island

Nauru is a small island (about eight square miles) half way between Hawaii and New Zealand made largely of bird droppings. If that does not sound particularly promising consider two further points. First, that its European discoverer named it Pleasant Island in 1798: it was once extraordinarily beautiful. And second that the bird droppings can […]

Into the Lion’s Mouth January 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Into the Lion's Mouth

What do Lorenzo the Magnificent (obit 1492), Henry III of Navarre (obit 1610) and Rudolph Hess (obit 1987) have in common? Well, they were men, they were all born in Continental Europe and they also went defenceless to their enemies and somehow survived to tell the tale, hence the lion’s mouth of the title. First, […]

Medieval Nun Vampire? December 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Medieval Nun Vampire?

Anyone for a medieval vampire-type legend courtesy of Chris from Haunted Ohio Books? It is true that there is no blood here but the demon comes to the sleeping man who perishes soon after. There is also the whole ‘sex thing’ that suffuses western vampire mythology. Perhaps in the end the birth of the vampire […]

Alpine Fairy Music December 14, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Alpine Fairy Music

Fairy music is one of the least studied and yet one of the most curious parts of the world of fairy. Why are these curious beings so strongly associated with melodies? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com What is fairy music like? And do all fairy peoples in the world play the violin? Beach can’t even […]

A German Vampire? December 6, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A German Vampire?

A vampire in seventeenth-century Germany? Perhaps, perhaps not, but something strange was going on here. The year is 1685 and we are in Augsburg. George Schmetzer’s wife had just given birth and suffered back ache. While in the delicate state after child birth: the dreams began. She felt that someone was pressing down on her […]

Page 3 of 912345...Last »