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  • Death by Joke March 21, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Death by Joke

    The historical practical joke tag has now reached almost a dozen posts and Beach thought that he would celebrate with a brief survey of a particularly unusual form of practical joke: jokes that ended in the joker or jokee dying. Beach limited himself to British newspapers from 1 Jan 1880 to Dec 31 1899 and […]

    Review: The Victorian Book of the Dead March 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: The Victorian Book of the Dead

    In the last thirty years historians have found a new way to pattern their vast bibliographies. Rather than just include twenty pages in alphabetical order – too easy for the scholarly mind – many have decided, instead, to split the bibliography in two. The first bibliography will be primary sources and the second bibliography will […]

    You Can’t Go Home Again: Aunt Janey and Other Stories February 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    You Can’t Go Home Again: Aunt Janey and Other Stories

    Qua campis cervos agitabat sacra juventus/ Incumbit fessus nunc baculo senior./ Nos miseri, cur te fugitivum, mundus, amamus? (‘Here the holy young man who chased deer in the fields, now, stands a broken old man with a stick/ O what wretches! Why, world we love, do you flee from us?’) Alcuin O Mea Cella Beach’s […]

    The Eugenics of History? February 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Eugenics of History?

    Eugenics refers of course to the depressing strand of thinking that says that societies (for which read boffins with bow ties employed by the state) should be allowed to decide which of us can and cannot reproduce our genes. Eugenics was briefly fashionable in the 1920s and 1930s then the Nazis came along and, perhaps […]

    Naked Christianity January 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Naked Christianity

    Beach recently shared the splendours of naked fertility rituals in Missouri from Colonial times to the Great Depression. The author of that article (Vance Randolph, Nakedness in Ozark Folk Belief, The Journal of American Folklore 66, 333-339) also describes what may be spill over into local Christianity. In 1905 a preacher, Jim Sharp from Missouri, […]

    Seven German Mistakes that Lost the Great War January 10, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Seven German Mistakes that Lost the Great War

    Germany went to war in August 1914 to bloody Russia, put Britain back in its place and break France’s back. Looking at their war record, after a century, what is striking is just how close Germany came to achieving at least a relative victory. Yet Germany’s leadership was not up to the job: this is clearer […]

    Naked Fertility Rituals from Missouri January 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Naked Fertility Rituals from Missouri

    Imagine these three scenes all from Ozark country in Missouri: A man and a woman walk into a flax field naked chanting, while throwing seeds, ‘Up to my ass, an’ higher too!’ The man throws the seed against the woman’s buttocks. ‘Then they just laid down on the ground and had a good time.’ Date: […]

    Goatman: Flesh or Folklore November 26, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Goatman: Flesh or Folklore

    ***warning, Beach worked on a goat farm for six long months…*** Let’s first of all get one thing out of the way. Goatman: Flesh or Folklore was brought out by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. In other words, it is a privately published work. In 1990 this would have been a strong negative signal and old […]

    The Joys of Historical Ignorance November 9, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Joys of Historical Ignorance

    For a student from the west the basic sign of historical literacy is whether or not you can put the following periods in their correct order: antiquity, ‘dark ages’, middle ages, renaissance and modernity. Beach has the privilege of teaching perhaps two hundred American students a year and probably ten percent would be capable of […]

    The Poison Duel 10#: Playing Cards and Poison at Tombstone October 20, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 10#: Playing Cards and Poison at Tombstone

    This story was allegedly taken from the Detroit Free Press by an English newspaper, 27 Oct 1894. That it appeared in the DFP there is no reason to doubt, English newpapers are almost frightening reliable about these things: that such a duel took place between an English and a French man in Tombstone… Well, this […]

    The Poison Duel 8#: Animal Poison Duels October 12, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Poison Duel 8#: Animal Poison Duels

    Thanks to Chris from Haunted Ohio Books for pointing out a dimension of the poison duel that Beach had recklessly passed by: poison duel by animal. First, the tarantula duel from 1887 courtesy of Chris Grand Forks [North Dakota] Daily Herald 20 September 1887: p. 3 A Toledo (O) special dispatch says: Particulars of a […]

    Killing Fidel October 8, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Killing Fidel

    The 1975 Church Committee looked at rogue or extreme CIA activities and took a particular interest in the decision in the late 1950s and early 1960s to kill foreign heads of state, who were deemed unfriendly to US interests. Chief of these was, of course, Fidel Castro, a man who had both succeeded in making […]

    FoI and Noah’s Ark October 6, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
    FoI and Noah's Ark

    Noah’s Ark has had a bit of a rough time over the last hundred and fifty years. Indeed, from the first attacks on what might be called ‘literal Christianity’ the aetheist rottweillers have gone after the Ark with a passion that is frightening. Why? Quite simply because the authors of the Pentaeuch (God or/and mere […]

    Could Japan Have Fought On? October 4, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Could Japan Have Fought On?

    On the 6 August 1945 American planes dropped their first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The Japanese would surrender within a month, arguably hundreds of thousands of US lives and very possibly hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives were saved by Little Boy and his elder brother Fat Man. The Japanese surrender came about because of […]

    Did a Minnesota Bear Almost Cause World War III? September 28, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Did a Minnesota Bear Almost Cause World War III?

    The story is often told because it is a thrilling and terrifying one. In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 a bear triggered an alarm at a US base leading personnel to believe that their airfield was under attack by Soviet saboteurs. US nuclear bombers on the airfield were scrambled and were […]

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