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  • The Ripper and Thieves’ Candles November 4, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Ripper and Thieves' Candles

    The thieves’ candle is a longstanding tradition in Britain, America and, indeed, throughout the western world. Usually the candle was the hand of a dead man with one or more of the fingers made into candles. These candles were supposed to provide safety, invisiblity and be able to cast sleep spells on victims. For example, […]

    Close Encounter of the Zeppelin Kind July 10, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Close Encounter of the Zeppelin Kind

    In the 1960s, date unspecified, a southern English paper the Hackney and Kingsland Gazette published the following letter, a memoir from one Mr S.C. Thomas, who had lived in the area in the First World War. His memories had taken him back to October 1916 when he and Hilda Cavanagh had gone out for a […]

    Swearing Fetuses and the English Sausage Seller May 17, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Swearing Fetuses and the English Sausage Seller

    A nasty little episode from the late 1860s and London with a most curious annex. A sausage seller gets roughed up by a group of young London Jews, after saying something anti-semitic. This led to a trial. When his wife or ‘missus’ was called into the witness box though, something rather peculiar happened. To corroborate […]

    Love Goddess #9: Damian Hirst’s Madonna May 9, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Love Goddess #9: Damian Hirst's Madonna

    ***Thanks to Invisible for sending this one in*** Damien Hirst, media-savvy horseman of the post modern art apocalypse and the Madonna, mother of Christ, eternal sweetness and light, whose breasts produce condensed milk for the faithful. What would happen should these two contrary forces come together? Well, there is no reason for speculation because in […]

    Pre-Columbian Trips to America? Ballast! January 19, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Pre-Columbian Trips to America? Ballast!

    Imagine the excitement of the archaeologists who had gathered at NA-57 off the Florida coast near Fernandina in 1972. In some offshore piles they had found various bits of ‘rubbish’ from European settlers: ceramics, pipes, glass fragments… Nothing special you might think. But what was unusual was the dating. British settlements began in the area in […]

    A French Bombing Operation in London, 1984! January 4, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A French Bombing Operation in London, 1984!

    This is the time of year that UK government records are released, slipping out of the thirty years for which state papers are routinely kept away from the public gaze: freedom of information has changed this situation, but not dramatically. The result is that every year on New Year’s Day British researchers and conspiracy theorists […]

    German Invasion Force in London, 1909! January 2, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    German Invasion Force in London, 1909!

    All the European nations suffered bouts of craziness leading up to the First World War: one of the reasons that so many men in jackets started throwing straw hats at each other in August 1914… However, in many ways the most endearing and incredible was the conviction in Britain that Germany was planning an invasion […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #9: Mr Fox Speaks (or Lies)! November 5, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #9: Mr Fox Speaks (or Lies)!

    ***Many interesting comments on the Perceval case, particularly from Bob S who has done far better at digging out rare sources than Beach. Here is one that passed Strange History by completely but that Bob happily picked up*** Here is yet another source for the Williams dream from The autobiography of Sir John Rennie  by […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #3: The Earliest Account October 11, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #3: The Earliest Account

    This appeared in The Times 16 Aug 1828 ‘Remarkable Coincidences’. We have been able to find no earlier trace of the alleged dream of the murder of 1812. It is clearly valuable for its age  and seems to depend on the special knowledge of Mr Williams. However, serious discrepancies with the later account (next post) […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #2: The Event October 9, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #2: The Event

    Any study of the psychic dream that supposedly/allegedly accompanied the death of Spencer Percival in 1812 needs some background: most studies get straight to the dream and skip over the whos and whats of the assassination, which have some intriguing aspects in themselves. Spencer Perceval (1762-1812) was a Tory statesman who had served as Chancellor […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #1: Arthur Speaks October 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #1: Arthur Speaks

    This case is a psychic classic that Beach has long wanted to look into. He thought he would begin with a well-written but uncritical account to show just how excited people can get. Cue Arthur Conan Doyle who claimed that this was ‘clear proof of psychic action… though there is some slight confusion about the […]

    The Existence of the Mermaid is Now Certain c. 1794 September 24, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Existence of the Mermaid is Now Certain c. 1794

    We haven’t done mermaids for a long time. Yet who can forget the submarine and the mermaids or the Queen of Cuba or the mermaid that ate boiled fish or for that matter Christopher Columbus and the mermaid and the mermaid killed in Exeter. Oh happy days… Anyway, from memories of the past to a new […]

    A Suicidal Ghost July 19, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Suicidal Ghost

    To follow up on a recentish post on suicide, here is a suicide and a ghost. Note that the suicide is certainly factual, as he had just appeared in the newspaper. Beach was struck by how jaunty, active and, well, pissed this ghost was. Thinking about it there are some of these ghost stories where […]

    Forgotten Kingdoms: Enclave London! July 12, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Forgotten Kingdoms: Enclave London!

    In 410 the walls of Britannia came crashing down. In a situation of great confusion Rome apparently disavowed its interest in the island; the island that had always been its poorest province, and got on with trying to save its continental possessions: the failure of that task a generation later marked the end of the […]

    Weird Jobs in the 1881 UK Census July 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Weird Jobs in the 1881 UK Census

    Spent the night and early morning looking for a much loved missing tortoise: mission accomplished at 6.42 amdist tears and recriminations. How do you punish a tortoise? This morning trying to come down from too much chocolate and coca cola. Took to racing through the 1881 census looking for unusual jobs and strange households: winding […]

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