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  • Dog Glove Magic Disease Near Dublin (or Leicester) June 16, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Dog Glove Magic Disease Near Dublin (or Leicester)

    Elder daughter’s birthday party in a swimming pool coming up in minutes so this is just a curiosity pulled out of the rusty filing cabinet without too much thought. The following is dated to 1341 and appeared in the Annals of Ireland. The Irish annalistic tradition is incredibly complex in its early phase and rather […]

    Tree-Felling Ghosts or Youth Vandalism? June 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Tree-Felling Ghosts or Youth Vandalism?

    This is a very confusing story: perhaps one reason for taking it seriously. We are in Orkney in March 1907. There were certainly believed-in ghosts in Orkney but in 1907 there was also still strong belief in trows: the local fairy population. Ghostly happenings have disturbed the town of Kirkwall, the capital of the county […]

    Notre Dame to Montmartre by Bird Wings in 1840 May 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Notre Dame to Montmartre by Bird Wings in 1840

    Beach tries not to exaggerate – at least in this place* – but of his forty odd flight stories this is perhaps his favourite. Not a mean feat given that those stories include flying Anglo-Saxon monks and Chinese kite men. We are in Paris in 1840 A man, carrying a large bundle, applied some days […]

    A Very Old Carp January 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Very Old Carp

    This is an uncommonly good fish story. It appears in a curious book entitled: Johann Heinrich Cohausen, Hermippus redivivus, or, The sage’s triumph over old age and the grave. If you want to achieve immortality you should probably give said book a read. In any case let’s move on to a centuries-old carp. It is not only the […]

    Queen Victoria, Baby-Killer! December 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Queen Victoria, Baby-Killer!

    Beach has to satisfy himself with a very short post today, not because he doesn’t have time but because he has not the slightest idea how to deal with the material at hand. Great consternation, says the Bedford Times [unable to get the original], has prevailed amongst certain classes at Luton, from rumour that the […]

    Napoleon in Wales November 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Napoleon in Wales

    Beach recently offered up the gem of a story that Göring, of all people, had hidden out in a British bomb shelter in the second world war. At that moment he alluded to the fact that in a previous period the British had been convinced that Napoleon himself had visited Britain on the eve of his […]

    Execution by Boat October 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Execution by Boat

    In the famous nineteenth-century Belgian novel The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak there is a reference to an unexpected form of execution. ‘Since you do not like any of these,’ said the Stevenyne, ‘you shall be taken on to the king’s ships, and there condemned to be torn asunder by four galleys.’ The […]

    Killer Rabbits June 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Killer Rabbits

    Beachcombing’s father in law, a few days ago, actually managed to trip over a snake. He thought it was a piece of rope… In celebration of this unlikely event and in memory of sheep killings Beach now declares open season on rabbit killers. We’ve already had the terrors of supernatural rabbits, but what about the […]

    Silly Helmets from the Middle Ages June 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Silly Helmets from the Middle Ages

    As he reported in an earlier post Beach has recently been looking through the various volumes of medieval armour and arms, particularly those of Guy Francis Laking (all online and all free if you have time and inclination). Last time he did crests. This time he thought that he would try silly hats. It goes […]

    Irish Phoenix (1897)? May 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Irish Phoenix (1897)?

    Beach likes to think that he presents an interesting series of monsters to the international anomalist, folklore horror and ghost community. But he has one regret. In largely limiting himself to British and Irish newspapers the range of fauna is often fairly modest, certainly when compared to the marvelous stuff that appears in some American […]

    Silly Crests May 7, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Silly Crests

    Beach has recently been looking lovingly through the various volumes of medieval armour and arms, particularly those of Guy Francis Laking (all online and all free if you have time and inclination). Particularly fascinating is the high silliness of the crests that were put on the top of the helmets. Above is perhaps the only […]

    Painting on Water May 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Painting on Water

    The strangest painting technique ever employed? The Mountain Man of Fan-Yang, an artist from T’ang China perhaps holds the prize in what for Europe would have been the early Middle Ages. The Mountain Man’s preferred method was as follows: as you remember this think about a French or Irish monk inking a manuscript. Mountain man […]

    Buried Six Times in Twelve Years April 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Buried Six Times in Twelve Years

    Most cultures look with distaste on the removal of dead bodies: many families will do whatever they can to avoid such a thing for their loved ones. So imagine the trauma of being buried and reburied six times in a dozen years. Let’s start though with our death. Paul von Hindenburg, the President of Germany […]

    A Milk-Drinking British Boa March 30, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Milk-Drinking British Boa

    There are lots of tall tales about snakes and lots of tall tales about snakes taking milk from udders and breasts, but this is unusual for the apparent quality of the witness and its impact in the local countryside. The journalist who wrote, and doubtless loved researching, the initial piece was from the Birmingham Gazette. […]

    Creepy Scythian Graves March 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Creepy Scythian Graves

    Here is an extraordinary royal burial ritual for the Scythians described in Herodotus, 4,73: The tombs of their kings are in the land of the Gerrhi, who dwell at the point where the Borysthenes is first navigable. Here, when the king dies, they dig a grave, which is square in shape, and of great size. When it is […]

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