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Gluten, Famine and the Slow Crawl of Medical Knowledge August 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Gluten, Famine and the Slow Crawl of Medical Knowledge

***Beach wants to salute his readers for a couple of days as he is going on his yearly retreat (hermit’s cave etc): he’ll see you on the other side, if the wolves don’t come*** Wheat is the grain of the west. The crop that has followed Europeans wherever they have gone for the simple reason […]

The Terror of the Cow Charmer August 6, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Terror of the Cow Charmer

A cute fairy post from the west of Ireland in the nineteenth-century. The narrator is a visiting sportsman. I heard, when passing the porter’s lodge, that the gate-keeper’s cow was ill. As she was a fine animal, the loss would have been a serious one to the family, and hence I became interested in her […]

The Immortal Major Fraser August 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Immortal Major Fraser

OK here is an atmospheric little passage from a nineteenth-century description of the fifth most beautiful city in the world. Major Fraser, though he never dined there, spent  an hour or two daily in the Estaminet du Divan [in Paris] to read the  papers. He was a great favorite with every one, though none  of […]

The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!? July 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!?

One of the most peculiar texts that Beachcombing has ever read is the description of the Island of Cronos – the titan pictured here with thanks to Goya – in Plutarch (c. 120 AD). Much has been made of this island and attempts to fix it on the map have been undertaken frequently: some have […]

The Cow-Man of Wicklow and His Sad End July 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Cow-Man of Wicklow and His Sad End

A paddy-bashing story from one of the nastiest Irish-haters of them all: Gerald of Wales. In the neighbourhood of Wicklow at the time when Maurice Fitzgerald got possession of the country and the castle, an extraordinary man was seen – if indeed it be right to call him a man. He had all the parts […]

The Crown of the Queen of Serpents July 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Crown of the Queen of Serpents

A curious little episode from a very obscure English autobiography. The individual being described here is August de Haxthausen (obit 1866), friend of the brothers Grimm.  De Haxthausen ended up in Britain in the 1840s in the house of a little girl, Janet Ross, who would become one of Beach’s favourite cookery book writers: but […]

The Christian Wolves of Ossory July 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Christian Wolves of Ossory

We all know that medieval chroniclers and sensationalists love wonder stories. Beach has a private rule that even if a medieval tale takes place with a ‘reliable’ witness in living memory, then he still looks the other way. But the following story clearly ‘happened’ (though there may be a way to reread it) in that […]

Don’t Get Mad, Get William: The Authorship Question July 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Modern
Don't Get Mad, Get William: The Authorship Question

Beachcombing has written over 750 posts in the last couple of years with 2786 emails received in that time: two a week at the beginning, about twenty a day now…. And he’s glad to say that only 4 of these emails have been rude, though lots of others have included polite raps over much bruised […]

Mad Cures: Sore Throats and Currents July 10, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mad Cures: Sore Throats and Currents

C. 1900 you have a nasty sore throat that won’t go away. A friend tells you that there is a new treatment in town for only three dollars, five if you stay at home and the practitioner comes to your house with ‘the machine’. And what exactly does this  ‘new’ treatment entail, you ask innocently? […]

Archangel Steals Money in Naples! July 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Archangel Steals Money in Naples!

Beachcombing has recently been getting into the world of nineteenth-century seances and mediums. You know, those men with walrus moustaches (for hiding mono-tone mouth accordions) and a hot line to the ‘other side’. These shysters could make even the fairies seem humdrum. Here is one of Beach’s favourite accounts that has everything: sex, money, a […]

Trolls in Staffordshire (in the 1970s!) June 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Trolls in Staffordshire (in the 1970s!)

***With thanks to Invisible*** Beach usually limits his cryptozoology to historical sightings and is a little uneasy at reporting an event from his own lifetime. But this particularly rumpus in the dark has a lot to recommend it in fairy terms so it caught his interest: the full account can be found at Nick Redfern’s […]

Worthless Currencies June 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Worthless Currencies

As Beach writes Mrs B is travelling on a plane to [first destination deleted] to open a bank account in [second destination deleted] to get the Beachcombing family ‘fortune’ (ahem) as far as possible from the Euro Zone. It may or may not work as, while the Italian State has provided lots of identification documents, […]

Ginx’s Baby June 8, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Ginx's Baby

***Dedicated to Wade who sent this in*** An interview with the tax man today so a low intensity post on a story sent in by Wade from an American paper 1871. It is presumably a morality tale (with a kick at the old country): but it is cute for all that. It is one of […]

The Wandering Jew in Burnley May 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
The Wandering Jew in Burnley

Today it is the turn of the Wandering Jew. For those who have never met him WJ refused to help Christ (as he was carrying his cross) or made fun of Jesus as he hung between the thieves. This proved a bad idea. WJ now meanders cursed around the globe and will do so until […]

The Devil in Disney May 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
The Devil in Disney

A book was recently sent anonymously to Beachcombing named The Dark Side of Disney: Utterly Unauthorised Tips, Tricks and Scams for you WDW Vacation (Leonard Kinsey). Beach cannot really write a review of said work; as he is not an expert in the field. He has very vague memories of Disney World from a childhood […]

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