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  • Jury Hell in 1995 August 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Jury Hell in 1995

    Beach has previously, on this site, looked at truly awful jobs (the Worst Career in History tag): including Japanese Prime Ministers, Knocker ups, Scottish Kings and Water Thief Watchers. However, he has recently come across, with some excitement, a new chamber in hell: namely, jury duty on the O. J. Simpson trial, Jan 25, 1995 – […]

    Snowball Atrocities 7#: Ghostly Snowballs in Illinois June 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Snowball Atrocities 7#: Ghostly Snowballs in Illinois

    Beach was awfully fond of his snowball tag, and was disappointed when he simply ran out of good snowball stories. Imagine his joy then to run into some ghostly snowballs in Skinner’s Myths and Legends of Our Own Land. The year is apparently 1849 Forty-seven years ago, in the township of St.  Mary’s, Illinois, two […]

    Evans Wentz and Money May 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Evans Wentz and Money

    Regular readers will know that over the years Beach has confessed to a fascination for Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz, the American mystic and sometime fairy writer. Beach is interested, above all, in Walter and the fairies. However, there are a number of other aspects of Evans Wentz’s life that are intriguing and that help to […]

    Immortal Meals #32: Molecular Gastronomy, 1910? February 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortal Meals #32: Molecular Gastronomy, 1910?

    In December 1910 a Dr. Stillman, head of the laboratory at the Stevens Institute of Technology, New York, decided to offer some lucky guests a synthetic meal: ‘On the side table were test tubes, bunsen burners, retorts, bottles of various reagents, and so forth.’ Do we glimpse here the beginning of molecular gastronomy? The menu […]

    Victorian Urban Legend: Familiar Robbers February 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legend: Familiar Robbers

    This is a cute story from the States, picked up by an Irish newspaper in 1873. Whether this story is true or false we do not know; but it is said here that recently in the parish of St. Martin, Iberia, or somewhere down that way, an old widow lady, whose children had all married […]

    Poker Wallet February 14, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Poker Wallet

    This poker story comes from an extremely rare poker book that has, unfortunately, never been scanned and put online, John Lillard’s Poker Tales. It is perhaps the best collection of poker anecdotes the world has seen and dates to 1896: A certain very well known New Jersey politician – an old man, whose fame extends […]

    Was Napoleon III an American?! February 7, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Was Napoleon III an American?!

    Beach has already proved (to no one least of all his own satisfaction) that Napoleon III survived death. But Beach now discovers, to his horror, that Napoleon III was not Napoleon III. This story appeared in the American press in 1858. This was a story given by one Louise Mercier on her sick bed in 1853. […]

    Dumb Duels #5: Golf Duel January 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dumb Duels #5: Golf Duel

    A golf duel from the US picked up by a British newspaper in 1927 and so dating to that year? From America comes an account of a strange duel – a combat with golf clubs and balls as ‘the weapons’ wherewith two disputants went out to seek satisfaction. A St. Louis man and a visitor […]

    The Crowd Swindle January 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Crowd Swindle

    The originality of Victorian criminals is often breath-taking. Here is a particularly fine dodge and something that would have made a quite excellent Sherlock Holmes short story. A remarkable case of attempting to extort money is reported from New York. Some years ago, it may be remembered, a Mr Rosenbaum, in London, was annoyed in […]

    A Missing Folklore Book: Marie Campbell December 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A Missing Folklore Book: Marie Campbell

    Recently Chris, from Haunted Ohio Books, wrote a fascinating post on a missing folklore manuscript. Chris reached out to see whether anyone could find this precious document, a series of fairy legends from the Appalachian Mountains collected by Marie Campbell (1907-1980).* The legends were referred to in 1976 by Katharine Briggs in her Dictionary of […]

    Killer Snake Wheels November 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Killer Snake Wheels

    Beach has just had a glorious meal but before going back to table he wanted to share this great snake urban legend: as regular readers will know snakes are a favourite subject. This comes from Pol and Fisher’s Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet. How can anyone […]

    Tojo’s Teeth: Remember Pearl Harbor November 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Tojo's Teeth: Remember Pearl Harbor

    There is a post to be written and perhaps, when his file is big enough, Beach will attempt it of puerile acts of revenge carried out against defeated nations. Limiting ourselves here to the Second World War there is, for example, Hitler’s insistence that France’s surrender be signed in the same railway car, where German […]

    Marshal Ney Survives Death November 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Marshal Ney Survives Death

    Marshal Ney was Napoleon’s greatest general and even those who, like Beachcombing, loathe old Boney, feel some regret when they read of how Ney was executed 7 Dec 1815. The great man stood in front of the firing squad and himself gave the order to fire after telling his soldiers: ‘I have fought a hundred battles […]

    Immortals: Memories of the Revolutionary War in the Late Nineteenth Century October 30, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortals: Memories of the Revolutionary War in the Late Nineteenth Century

    Another immortal, this time from the Grantham Journal 20 Sep 1873. Note that vagueness about Afro-Americans’ ages was often pronounced in the late nineteenth century. Several of the ‘oldest American’ stories are about ex-slaves in the south. According to the Louisville Journal, a wonderful old negro is at present living at the farm of Dr. […]

    Fat Boy Blusters October 23, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Fat Boy Blusters

    The US bombing of Hiroshima went off, in operational terms, flawlessly. The bombing of Nagasaki was a different matter. For one thing, Nagasaki was not even the target: Fat Man was supposed to have been dropped on nearby Kokura but smoke from a conventional raid obscured the bombing run. Everything that could go wrong on […]

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