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The Underwear of Dictators’ Lovers April 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Underwear of Dictators' Lovers

Beachcombing is still reeling from his recent medical misfortunes and, to make matters worse, he has to catch a bus in about twenty five minutes. So yet again today he will be brief. But he had to share this brilliant catch sent in by Invisible, an important ally in the fight for the historically bizarre. […]

The Death Dealer of Kovno March 31, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Death Dealer of Kovno

Call it the month of the massacres: Beachcombing in the past four weeks has gone knee deep in blood ‘that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er’. Even he gets a little queasy thinking about it. There was Queen Victoria drinking blood; then killer ice-cream; followed up by a horrific […]

Headless Races March 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Headless Races

  After all those head lice (see previous posts) Beachcombing gets back to some decapitation stories, not least because it would be the most efficient way to solve his family’s present problems. In any case, before anyone makes contact with the social workers… In response to an earlier beheading post RR wrote in with the following […]

Playing Solitaire in Hitler’s Bunker March 24, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Playing Solitaire in Hitler’s Bunker

  Crisis in the Beachcombing household tonight. Yesterday it was discovered that every member of the family save Beachcombing himself had been stricken with head lice. And so Beachcombing has spent most of the last six hours combing what look like wood ants from his darling wife’s and elder daughter’s fair locks. By way of […]

Capital Punishment and Prehistoric Burials March 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Prehistoric
Capital Punishment and Prehistoric Burials

    You are a member of the minor nobility in some part of northern Europe found guilty of murder in the fifteenth century. After the capital sentence is passed you are thrown in the back of a cart and driven out to the local place of reckoning.  However, as you are also interested in history […]

Transvestite Knights in the Thirteenth Century March 7, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Transvestite Knights in the Thirteenth Century

Ulrich von Liechtenstein (obit 1278) was a standard thirteenth-century knight. He had castles (three of them). He fought – above all, in Eastern Germany. And he also dressed up as a woman and rode from Maestre (Venice) up to Vienna. Yes, yes, Beachcombing stopped too when he first read this many years ago. But now […]

Beethoven and the Fire from Heaven January 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Beethoven and the Fire from Heaven

Beachcombing recently offered three posts on the subject of lightning, trying to dig up some occasions when a bolt has changed, however modestly, the course of human history. Beachcombing must confess though to being slightly disappointed that lightning has not done more for (or against) humanity: any other lightning offers – drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT […]

Silly Sieg Heils January 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Silly Sieg Heils

The Nazi and ‘Roman’ Salute have been traditional signs of the extra-parliamentary right since the 1920s. Claims have been made that these salutations are more hygenic, more beautiful and also of shorter duration than the handshake. Well, Beachcombing is certainly no fan of palming… However, he finds – memories of the Great Dictator? – the […]

The End of the Werewolf Faith in Strasburg January 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The End of the Werewolf Faith in Strasburg

Beachcombing recently examined the death of the fairy faith in the Yorkshire town of Ilkley and sold it to his readers as a melancholy moment in that community’s history. Today he thought, instead, that he would give evidence for the beginning of the end of faith in were-wolves in the area around Strasburg (‘Germany’ or […]

Image: Cow Sheds and Massacres January 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Cow Sheds and Massacres

Beachcombing has had the novel experience, in these days of premature babies, of watching lots of history documentaries. It is one of the few things that you can do while syringe feeding a fifteen-day-old tot and hoping that she will sleep. After years of staying away from television, he’s been treated to a lot of sub-standard stuff, but […]

Biodynamics and Nazi Market Gardens November 15, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Biodynamics and Nazi Market Gardens

Biodynamics is a form of agriculture that Beachcombing can best describe as ‘organic and then some’. It demands that the farmer treat his or her farm as a single organism and that said farmer use ‘natural’ methods to raise crops and cattle. This includes supplements for fields that are, to say the least, unusual – e.g. […]

Last Axe Decapitations in the West October 21, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Last Axe Decapitations in the West

A description this morning from one of Beachcombing’s books of the season Charles Duff’s A Handbook on Hanging, reviewed in September. To make sense of what follows it should be remembered that Germany had inherited from Prussia beheading as a form of capital punishment. Of course, France too favoured decapitation but employed the more lithe and winsome […]

Germans Pay for the Sins of Their Great, Great, Great Grandfathers October 6, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Germans Pay for the Sins of Their Great, Great, Great Grandfathers

Beachcombing often misses major historical anniversaries on his blog or only cottons on a couple of days too late. Certainly he is off in raising the white flag to celebrate the last German payment of First World War reparations. For, yes, so it was that, on Sunday, 3rd October 2010, the German government put its […]

The Table Leg that Changed History (Kind Of) September 29, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Table Leg that Changed History (Kind Of)

Beachcombing knows that estimates of the number of serious assassination attempts against Hitler vary from ten to twenty. However, the only one of these attacks that actually drew Adolf’s blood was the last, Claus von Stauffenberg’s gutsy solo effort towards the end of the war. In fact, on three different occasions – 11, 15 and 18 July […]

24 August 1940: The Night That Hitler Lost The War August 24, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
24 August 1940: The Night That Hitler Lost The War

                        The answer to the question of when the Third Reich doomed itself to extinction depends naturally on whom you ask. Some will tell you Germany’s failure to secure the Mediterranean in 1942 was crucial. Others will point to the invasion of the Soviet Union […]

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