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John Farkas: Fire Boy! April 20, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
John Farkas: Fire Boy!

John Farkas’ name seems to have flared up very briefly in history and then to have died down again just as quickly. Many of the things associated with John (Janos?) were, let’s say, poltergeist tricks and not that remarkable. But what about the fire? Note that this newsreport dates to 1921 and appeared in the […]

Twelve Best History Montages October 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Twelve Best History Montages

By history montage we refer to short length runs of images and film available on youtube often with attractive music in the background. They are typically put together by amateurs and their productions standards and their production values can be a little shaky. However, often late in the evening or when he wants his daughters […]

Last State Persecuted Witch in Europe October 2, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Last State Persecuted Witch in Europe

We are in 1862 and a letter arrives in the UK from Hungary and Reka. A few days since a farmer, residing in the commune of Bazas, denounced his daughter-in-law as a witch, and said it was she who had for a long time prevented rain from falling. He moreover affirmed that for several months […]

The Axe Murderer Who Became A National Hero September 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
The Axe Murderer Who Became A National Hero

Nations and cities have passionate rivalries with their neighbours. Beach, for example, grew up in Britain a country where national identity is based not on love of the Queen or respect for the rule of law but rather on disliking the French. However, the whole British-French thing (‘the best of enemies’) is a fairly tame […]

Never Fall Asleep in a Hungarian Cemetery September 25, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Never Fall Asleep in a Hungarian Cemetery

Beach recently gave some publicity to Walter Starkie’s excellent Raggle Taggle. Here is a vampire story from the book. Our hero (Walter) has fallen asleep in a cemetery when he is woken by a man. He was a strange little old man like one of the goblins in Grimm’s fairy stories. He walked with bent […]

Review: Walter Starkie, Raggle Taggle September 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Review: Walter Starkie, Raggle Taggle

When Beach first picked up Walter Starkie’s Raggle-Taggle: Adentures with a Fiddle in Hungary and Roumania (1947) he was looking for a reference to fairies. The book was to be a literary one night stand: 300 closely printed sides, ten minutes of flicking. But already in ‘the Preface to New Edition’ a more serious relationship […]

The Strange Siege of Nagy Ida September 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Strange Siege of Nagy Ida

This is a cute little Weird War story. Beach doesn’t expect it is true as it conforms rather well to several Roma stereotypes. Though knowing humanity’s potential for stupidity… Well, let’s say that anything is possible. In the year 1557, during the troubles in Zapoly, the castle of Nagy Ida, in the county of Abaujvar, […]

Selling (Balkan) Europe by the Pound March 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Selling (Balkan) Europe by the Pound

Beach has pioneered for some time his WIBT (‘wish I’d been there’) series. Those moments in the past where any historically-conscious person would just LOVE to be a half dead bluebottle on the windowsill watching the great men and women conspiring to create history. It is a nice idea, of course. However, as most of […]

András Toma: The Forgotten Prisoner July 28, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
András Toma: The Forgotten Prisoner

The Second World War was a time of almost universal suffering. But, at least, when Hitler popped a bullet into his head and the Japanese Emperor retired his divinity it all ended? Well, for most of humanity yes. But there were those unlucky souls who ended up far from home with no hope of a […]