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  • 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 […]

    Wrong Place Stories February 23, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Wrong Place Stories

    In 1975 Jeremy Thorpe, the then leader of the British Liberal Party, lost his head. After a homosexual affair had gone wrong – and in a period where this would have lost him his job and his name – he had a friend, telephone a ‘heavy’, Andrew Newton, to go and threaten his ex-boyfriend, Norman […]

    Fat Virgin Mary in the Lost Provinces September 26, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fat Virgin Mary in the Lost Provinces

    In 1871 Prussia (on its way to becoming Germany) seized by force and then won by negotiation Alsace and Lorraine, an act that secured their Rhine territories and that arguably led to two world wars: the lost provinces would cost millions of lives. ‘What flag flies over Strasburg?’ asks a nineteenth-century politician returned from the […]

    Rape and Animals September 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Rape and Animals

    A recent post described the bizarre legal proceedings that led to New Haven men being accused of bestiality and one being hung. These cases provoke many thoughts but not least was the fate of the accused animals. When George Spencer was brought to the gallows the pig with which he had supposedly had sex with (and […]

    Broomstick Accidents September 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Broomstick Accidents

    A simple question today. Are witch’s broomsticks dangerous? Well, anything that takes human beings out of the natural element, namely the earth and places them with the birds could go wrong and depending on how high witches were flying, horribly wrong. The greatest in flight danger that witches faced was accidentally saying a Christian name […]

    Irish Sheep Boy June 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Irish Sheep Boy

    Many years ago Beach ran a post on an Irish cow man, which seemed to have come out of a ‘Celtic’ wonder tale. What though about the Irish sheep boy, reported by the Dutch doctor Nicholas Tulp (pictured) (obit 1674)? The sheep boy had somehow ended up in Amsterdam. Note that in what follows Beach […]

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