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Inscribed Egg from Lancashire May 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Inscribed Egg from Lancashire

What is the most popular page on this blog? Beach would have expected his work on the last cavalry charge or on the Fairy Investigation Society (happy days) or possibly some of his writing on capital punishment. But not a bit of it. The most popular post picked up by Google and its users is […]

Cat Cruelty in Nineteenth-Century Magic May 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Cat Cruelty in Nineteenth-Century Magic

***Unexpected summer flu, the result of sitting up all night and writing about boggarts then taking students up a mountain: act your age!*** Why is it always the cats that suffer? Beach has not the slightest idea but here is yet more proof that few animals get a worse deal from the esoteric world. The […]

Magonia #1: Introducing a Medieval Cloud Cuckoo Land May 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Magonia #1: Introducing a Medieval Cloud Cuckoo Land

‘Magonia’ is a word that sends thrills down many spines. It is, of course, the name of a magical medieval land hidden from mortal man. It has been jumped on by modern UFO researchers as an example of early contact: skyboats were said to fly out of Magonia. Jacques Vallée wrote Passport to Magonia (1969 […]

Astrology and Burning Cities May 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Astrology and Burning Cities

Astrology was the one portion of occultism that survived, with its respectability intact, into the modern age. Indeed, up until, the eighteenth century there were those who insisted that astrology should be included among the natural sciences. Then, with the Enlightenment and the birth of modern astronomy, astrology took a dive in prestige from which […]

Ragamuffin Purring in 1873 (Preston) May 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Ragamuffin Purring in 1873 (Preston)

In the early days of this blog Beach celebrated the ancient Lancashire sport of purring or clog fighting (1, 2), where an opponents shins are reduced to bloody jelly with the white bone showing through. Sorry for that. In the hope of reviving this thread of posts here is a nineteenth-century allusion to the sport […]

Amazons 5#: Some Truths? Don’t Count On It… May 2, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Amazons 5#: Some Truths? Don't Count On It...

In 1542 Francisco de Orellana crossed from Chile (under Pizarro) and then passed down the Amazon to the sea with fifty men. It was an extraordinarily dangerous and uncomfortable journey and it says something for the courage and ruthlessness of the Spaniards that most were still alive when the Amazon vomited them into the Atlantic […]

The Earliest Description of a Zoo? April 30, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Earliest Description of a Zoo?

There is a long-standing argument among historians and archaeologists about the world’s earliest zoo. Candidates come from across Euro-Asia, from the Mediterranean to China, and include the exciting recent digs at Hierakonpolis (Hawk City), where now well over 100 animals, ranging from hippos to baboons and wildcats to dogs, have been disinterred.  However, archaeology always […]

Amazons #4: The Amazons Fight the Spaniards April 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Amazons #4: The Amazons Fight the Spaniards

It will be remembered that the year is 1542 and that a small Spanish party is making its way down the Amazon under the command of Francisco de Orellana. There follows the fourth and the most dramatic of the Amazon episodes in the work of Gaspar de Villar (for 1, 2 and 3 follow the […]

Amazons 2#: ‘They’ll Kill You’ April 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Amazons 2#: 'They'll Kill You'

The women warriors of the Amazon basin appear for the first time in a European account in 1542 when Gaspar de Carvajal, a friar on the expedition of Francisco de Orellana was passing down the river that would soon be named for them. Beach has already described an earlier Indian description of these women from […]

Amazons 1#: First Contact April 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Amazons 1#: First Contact

In 1542, a small party led by Francisco de Orellana, a thuggish conquistador (was there any other sort?) was making its way down a huge South American river towards the sea. In the depths of this dangerous region, where no white man had ever gone before, the Spaniards began to hear strange stories of… Well, […]

Death As A Basketball April 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Death As A Basketball

Death by basketball… We examined this quaint pre-Columbian custom just last week. But what about the strangest death of them all death AS a basketball? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The place is Central America and we are in pre-Columbian times again. This is the epoch of the great ball games of the Maya and […]

Mrs T’s Revolving Eyes April 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Mrs T's Revolving Eyes

In the tradition of writing topical posts a week after they have ceased to be topical, Beachcombing thought that he would celebrate, today, Margaret Thatcher’s eyes as part of his occasional maverick politicians series. Coming of age in a country where that loathed/loved woman reigned, this blogger has long been fascinated by the way that […]

The Lonely Cottages: Ancoats March 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Lonely Cottages: Ancoats

Beachcombing has a bit of a thing about unsuitable placenames: placenames that may once have been efficient but that by now are simply inappropriate. A favourite example of this is Ancoats in central Manchester. Ancoats for those who have never had the chance to walk on its dirty cobbles was once one of the most […]

The Cipher Wheel, Bacon and Digging Up A River March 25, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Cipher Wheel, Bacon and Digging Up A River

There is perhaps no worse sign of enthusiasm than a talented man or woman finding ciphers hidden in celebrated texts. The Bible, Shakespeare, Milton… All have been examined with such passion that only the unimaginative could fail to notice that peculiar patterns emerge when you take the second final word from each penultimate sentence. Beach […]

Viking Zombie February 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Viking Zombie

A Viking zombie story from medieval Iceland courtesy of Chris from Haunted Ohio Books: thanks Chris!! Glam is an uncouth and enormous Swede who is taken on as a shepherd in a ‘haunted’ part of Iceland (Vatnsdal): he is rash enough to guard the sheep from whatever beast comes out in the Icelandic moonlight. This […]

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