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Bartering Chinese Women: Mao and Kissinger September 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Bartering Chinese Women: Mao and Kissinger

The honour! Strange History is, as we speak, being hacked by a bunch of Chinese ruffians. If the fairies and mermaids disappear under a swelter of fake Tiffany bags you’ll know why. To celebrate this epoch-making event Beachcombing thought that he would bring China centre stage and also throw Kissinger into the mix. It is […]

Lost in Shangri-La July 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary

In May 1945 an American flight over central New Guinea crashed and killed all but three of the twenty four servicemen on board. The three survivors – two men and a woman – found themselves in the midst of a dense jungle miles from home. They managed to parley with the local tribespeople – who […]

Strange Speeches July 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Strange Speeches

Beachcombing got an email last night from inspired speeches, a new website [now defunct!] dedicated to gathering, well, inspired speeches. His correspondent asked for suggestions for notable discourses from the past. And Beachcombing made the terrible mistake of opening said email at midnight. The result? Beach did not sleep until dawn, tossing and turning, as […]

Bringing Back Flogging? July 3, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Bringing Back Flogging?

Beachcombing thought that he would give a little publicity to a ‘rogue researcher’ today: a tag that refers to those who, with often commendable eccentricity, step outside the bounds laid down by their profession – Beachcombing is always on the look out for these rare souls, drbeachcombing DOT yahoo AT com. The RR in question […]

Beachcombing Beachcombs from Florida to Japan July 2, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Beachcombing Beachcombs from Florida to Japan

**Beach dedicates this post to Ricardo R and Tokyobling who supplied all the material** One area of bizarre history that Beachcombing has so far steered clear of in this blog is, well, beachcombing. He was put off the subject in the mid 1990s when he stumbled on a story in The Sun (Irish edition) of […]

Oaks: Sacrificial and Otherwise June 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Oaks: Sacrificial and Otherwise

***This post is dedicated to Justin, who introduced Beach to the Tree that Owns Itself*** ‘From little acorns might oaks…’ blah blah blah. But, seriously, oaks have long caught the human imagination from sacrificial oaks – Beach has a ‘book’ memory of a German tribe that use to hammer one part of their victim’s guts […]

Animal Effigies and Indian Mounds June 4, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Animal Effigies and Indian Mounds

  Beachcombing has long been attracted to the so called ‘animal effigy mounds’ of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Louisiana. Across these states local Indian populations built a series of giant mounds in the shape of animals. Dating is almost impossibly difficult in such cases, but many archaeologists have placed the creation of these mounds […]

Last Words of the Executed May 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Last Words of the Executed

Beachcombing will not deny it: he’s been in a real Last Words mood recently. So when a friendly book dealer sent him Robert K. Elder’s Last Words of the Executed he was hardly going to complain: even if, by a bizarre error of the printer’s art, the index had ended up being bound in the […]

A Book about Spitting April 28, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
A Book about Spitting

                  Jerry Lembcke, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam (New York University Press 1998) Beachcombing was never going to let a book about spitting in history pass him by. And so when he heard that Jerry Lembcke had given over two hundred pages […]

The Fright Break! April 18, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Fright Break!

Beachcombing recently complained about the lack of the bizarre in classical music. Luckily cinema has no such limitations. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a major director prior to the second world war who was not a complete loon. Then there are – may the heavens be praised – the gimmicks: those loveably outrageous […]

The Underwear of Dictators’ Lovers April 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Underwear of Dictators' Lovers

Beachcombing is still reeling from his recent medical misfortunes and, to make matters worse, he has to catch a bus in about twenty five minutes. So yet again today he will be brief. But he had to share this brilliant catch sent in by Invisible, an important ally in the fight for the historically bizarre. […]

The Emperor of the United States December 14, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Emperor of the United States

Beachcombing heard today some sad news from Perugia (central Italy) where Compagno Paolo, a Perugian eccentric and perpetual member of the Communist Party (twenty years after the Soviet Union was found out) has just passed away. Paolo was, certainly, a legend in the modest Umbrian capital where he was loved by many and known to all. A local tour guide (the Little […]

Jean Hill Misremembering Kennedy November 30, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jean Hill Misremembering Kennedy

  What lying dogs we are! Beachcombing is referring to humanity’s extraordinary ability to warp and deform both our immediate perception of the world and also our memories of those perceptions. You don’t believe Beachcombing? Then take the extraordinary case of Jean Hill (obit 2000). Jean – aka ‘the Lady in Red’ – was an […]

Bats Fight Japan November 28, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Bats Fight Japan

Beachcombing recently described  the possible Byzantine use of weaponised crows soaked in pitch and wondered aloud whether other birds or flying creatures had been employed by ancient or medieval armies. And, almost immediately, like an answer from heaven, he got three emails pointing him to a wonderful story that he’d never heard before:  kudos to Ostrich (a bizarrist of […]

Review: Farquhar, Foolishly Forgotten Americans October 30, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Review: Farquhar, Foolishly Forgotten Americans

A small note: today’s the day that Beachcombing’s first Bizarre Bibliography goes up – Mrs B has taken little Miss B to music therapy (truly…) so Beach has a couple of hours to burn. This bibliography should appear on the horizontal tabs above before evening. It will be short. At first. Any contributions or links […]

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