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  • The Nazis and Their Fairy Friends: Sidhe Heil! July 11, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Nazis and Their Fairy Friends: Sidhe Heil!

    ***Thanks to Theo and (Anomalist) Chris for this information and to Beach’s family for a fabulous birthday – an African hedgehog and an interlibrary loan credit and an Edwardian painting of the farm where Beach grew up, wow!** ***Credit where credit is due: I owe Sidhe Heil to Greg at the Daily Grail*** Beach is […]

    Image: Hammer and Sickle Time on the Reichstag July 9, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Image: Hammer and Sickle Time on the Reichstag

    Yevgeny Khaldei (obit 1997) was Jewish, a Ukrainian and a Soviet citizen: three pretty good reasons to hate the Third Reich. A talented photographer he must have counted himself lucky, then, to have been in at the kill, on the roof of the Reichstag as an adolescent, Aleskei Kovalyev, lifted the dreadful flag of Stalin […]

    Crowds #7: Fleeing July 4, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Crowds #7: Fleeing

    Beach greatly enjoyed, last year, writing a series of posts on crowds: i.e ransacking the web for likely images with the philosophy that groups, particularly ecstatic, tense or ‘altered’ groups make for interesting studies. There was crowds as art, those silly men with straw hats from August 1914, listening crowds, religion and crowds, prisoner crowds […]

    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’ […]

    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 […]

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