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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 […]

Viking Zombie February 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Viking Zombie

A Viking zombie story from medieval Iceland courtesy of Chris from Haunted Ohio Books: thanks Chris!! Glam is an uncouth and enormous Swede who is taken on as a shepherd in a ‘haunted’ part of Iceland (Vatnsdal): he is rash enough to guard the sheep from whatever beast comes out in the Icelandic moonlight. This […]

Never Forget the Church Sprite! August 8, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Never Forget the Church Sprite!

When Beach gives fairy posts (and God knows sometimes he does too many) he tries to come up with unusual accounts, peculiar perspectives. He does not do ‘normal’ folklore. But this is a little story from Sweden that filled him with the melancholy of a dying or at least a changing world. Read it, reflect […]

Swedish Husbands and Yemeni Wives October 16, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Swedish Husbands and Yemeni Wives

A bit of non-history fluff today that has been going around and around in Beachcombing’s head: the strange compatibilities and incompatibilities of married couples from different cultures. When British Beachcombing himself happily tied the knot with his Italian wife a decade ago, he was told that married life with ‘foreigners’ was more interesting but more […]

Dried Cats August 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Dried Cats

In prehistory there were, by definition, no written records. In antiquity there were few. In the Middle Ages few or several. And, then, from the invention of the printing press onwards, in Western Europe at least, the flood of the written word is almost painful. Yet notwithstanding this deluge, incredibly, there are whole facets of […]

Reading Runes at Runamo March 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Reading Runes at Runamo

The horror! The horror! Beachcombing joined the rest of his family this morning with headlice and so is rushing this post in between a delousing shower and the preparation of an application for a new job for Mrs B. Apologies too to all those many correspondents to whom he has not yet replied. He hopes […]

The Buddha in Viking Sweden August 20, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Buddha in Viking Sweden

                Beachcombing thought that today he would revisit a classic anomalous archaeological find: the Helgö Buddha. Knowing though his personal weaknesses, he first did some deep breathing exercises before the mirror repeating a score of times: ‘be nice about the Vikings’, ‘be nice about the Vikings’, ‘be nice […]

A Fifteenth-Century Interest in Scandinavian Plague Rats July 15, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A Fifteenth-Century Interest in Scandinavian Plague Rats

                          The Bubonic plague was around a long time before, in 1897, scientists finally discovered what caused the illness: disease-carrying fleas on the backs of rats. Then having taken over five hundred years to work out the plague in scientific terms: these same genius […]