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Chinese Pied Pipers? November 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Chinese Pied Pipers?

Beach ran into this weird little text in the depth of the archives of a book quoting a book quoting a book. It is dated to 1820 but reported almost sixty years later in a discussion of horse whispering (a recent obsession on this blog). It does not appear in any newspaper database that we […]

Buried Alive in Ninteenth-Century India June 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Buried Alive in Ninteenth-Century India

***Dedicated to Leif*** Busy day chez Beachcombing as two Romanians help to retrieve a garden that has been abandoned for forty years to a state of wellbeing. On the subject of digging this brilliant piece was sent in by an old friend of this blog, Leif. The text comes from The Court and Camp of […]

Indians in Australia, c. 2000 B.C.? May 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
Indians in Australia, c. 2000 B.C.?

 ***Beach dedicates this to an old friend of the blog, Wade, presently recuperating in hospital: the New York Changeling needs you, Wade!*** There is a case to be made for not writing about bizarre history research when it first comes out, but waiting six months for the shouting to die down. In six months new […]

The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Are More Rainbow Coloured on the Other Side of the Fence April 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Are More Rainbow Coloured on the Other Side of the Fence

Hallucinogens are frequently found in the traditional religious life of hunter-gatherers and rural communities. There are, of course, literally hundreds of different ways of intoxicating yourself ranging from toad glands to nutmeg, from jimson weed to ergot spores. And naturally, these techniques which, depending on your point of view, canker or enhance reality, are important […]

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 […]

Goa the Golden February 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Goa the Golden

***Sorry this was accidentally pre-released yesterday…*** Goa was both the oldest continuous and one of the most curious of European colonial territories and is included here as part of our Forgotten Kingdom series. An important medieval Indian state it was attacked and captured by the Portuguese in 1510. Portugal would then run Goa up until […]

Britain’s ‘Indian’ Prime Minister January 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Britain's 'Indian' Prime Minister

Did you know that a nineteenth-century English Prime Minister was of Indian descent? Well, many of our text books tell us that this was the case. Lord Liverpool (Robert Jenkinson) (obit 1828), who presided over such questionable events as the Congress of Vienna and the War of 1812, had an Indian grandmother. Here is one […]

Mysterious Hominids in India November 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mysterious Hominids in India

Another extract – this time eighteenth century – from Beachcombing’s Pygmies, Dwarfs and Fairies series. The following has a certain cryptozoological feel to it: including the fact that the ‘samples’ disappeared into the ether. The creatures in question came from deep in the Indian interior and were brought to Bombay before they inconsiderately died. They […]

Was Chess Invented in Ireland or China or India or…? November 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Was Chess Invented in Ireland or China or India or...?

                There is a general consensus that chess came out of the east, that it arrived in Europe through the Arab Mediterranean and that from there it made its way to the royal courts of France and Germany. Certainly, by the fifteenth century a game that we recognise […]

The Origins of One-Foot September 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
The Origins of One-Foot

***Dedicated to Leif*** Humanity has the habit of peopling the edges of its maps with unusual creatures: the ‘there-be-dragons’ phenomenon. We have previously on this blog looked at dog-heads, for example, both in relation to India and Ethiopia. Dog-heads can be explained, as perhaps can unicorns and even dragons and cyclops. But how do you […]

Crowds #4: Religion July 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #4: Religion

Beach has so far offered up three crowd photo collections: August 1914, Speaking to Crowds and Crowds as Art. Today he thought he’d move in a little deeper with religious crowds from a small file he’s been building up over the last couple of years. The picture that head’s this post is one of his […]

A Romani Mystery in Eleventh-Century England March 9, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A Romani Mystery in Eleventh-Century England

***Dedicated to Stephen D*** Our knowledge of the ancient and medieval movements of peoples depends on extraordinarily inadequate contemporary sources and the  deadly (and often unsupported) prejudices of historians and archaeologists. But now, with the use of DNA sampling and other techniques, including isotope analysis, science is coming to the rescue: giving us surprising insights […]

In Praise of the Hindoestanen February 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
In Praise of the Hindoestanen

Beachcombing has run, over the months, a series of forgotten kingdom posts: lands and peoples that time forgot. Sometimes he has stretched this definition to its elastic limit by including forgotten communities: a personal favourite, for example, were the Confederates who fled from Lincoln’s peace and came to settle in Brazil. Another group that he […]

Somehow Still Walking February 16, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Somehow Still Walking

Beachcombing used to live on a farm next to an SS veteran who had escaped from a Soviet prisoner of war camp with four ‘through and throughs’, a lot of random shrapnel and with one of his eye balls conspicuously absent: he was a bit of a ‘card’ and refused to wear a glass eye. […]

The Future of English December 29, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
The Future of English

There have been various ‘world’ languages, beginning with Greek, moving on to Latin, and from there changing rapidly from Portuguese, to Spanish, to French and more recently to English. Beachcombing spent a lazy moment yesterday browsing a nineteenth-century essay on the ‘inevitable’ triumph of English, the author arguing that not only would English become the […]

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