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'Dr. Beachcombing'

(2 Hours, 8 Minutes)

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(MP3 B : 64 minutes)


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One of the breakout esoteric stars of 2010, 'Dr. Beachcombing' joins BoA:Audio for his first-ever interview, discussing his critically acclaimed work chronicling some of history's most bizarre stories. In this lengthy conversation, we'll cover burned libraries, widely believed historical myths, forgotten kingdoms and lost realms, hinge moments in history, and stories that reflect something or someone being in the wrong place or wrong time. Among the tales you'll hear are the "sandwich in space," the Confederate exiles who left America to settle in Brazil, a 16th century account of witnesses unicorns in captivity, 'invisible books,' the 'Italian Shakespeare' theory, and the "Republic of Rough and Ready." Along the way, we'll also find out more about the mysterious 'Dr. Beachcombing' as he pulls the curtain back a tad to give us a glimpse of the writer who has electrified online esoterica over the last year.

Altogether, it's a conversation that features a plethora of fascinating and strange stories that will entertain, amuse, and boggle the mind.

Full Preview: We kick things off by finding out a bit of background about 'Dr. Beachcombing' and how/why Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog was created. We also find out how Beach comes up with some of the obscure historical tales he writes about on the blog. We then talk about into the phenomena of how many strange tales from history turn out to be incorrect or exaggerations, a common occurrence that Dr. Beach has experienced since starting the blog. He uses the tale of the Austrian Army doing battle against itself as an example of this type of story. He also details the evolution of the famous JFK assassination witness 'The Lady in Red,' as an example of how memories can change over the years.

We then begin discussing some of the major categories of blog posts found at Dr. Beach's site, beginning with "lost libraries and texts." Beach details how prevalent lost texts truly are and shares some stories of famous lost books. This leads to us finding out how a lost text is even known if it is perceived to be lost and we then delve into the mysterious Library of Alexandria, perhaps one of history's most famous examples of this disappearance of critical data. Dr. Beach also points out how the Library of Alexandria is just but one example of ancient libraries being destroyed and how the switch from tablets to paper created this delicate situation of preserving texts. This leads to some discussion on the durability of digital information into the future.

The next category we cover is 'cobblers,' i.e. widely believed historical myths and legends or misperceptions of history. As an example, Dr. Beach uses the classic belief that Marco Polo brought spaghetti back to Italy from China. He also tells the story of Lowell's observations of Mars and how they were debunked by contemporary astronomy. Following that, we cover 'Countries, States, and Regni that Time Forgot.' Dr. Beach talks about the stories surrounding the civilization of Manau, which predated, but lived on, England's Isle of Man. He also shares the tale, from World War II, of the London hotel room which was deigned Yugoslav territory, for one day, so that the royal line of Yugoslavia could be maintained. Dr. Beach also details the tale of "The Republic of Rough and Ready," a North American 'micro nation.'

Following that, we talk about 'hinge moments,' seemingly innocuous events where history was radically altered forever. Dr. Beach shares the amazing story of a double-agent Russian spy who nearly caused a nuclear war between Britain and the Soviet Union. He also recounts the story of a Nazi weather machine that was discovered in the Arctic Circle in 1981. This leads to discussion on the rumours surrounding Hitler's death and Dr. Beach's take on conspiracies in general. Next, we cover Dr. Beach's 'Wish I'd Been There' moments and he details the story of Emperor Julian the Pagan, from the 4th century in Rome, who paved the way for the ultimate decline of Paganism in Rome. He also tells the, never before published on the Internet, tale of Winston Churchill's dream where he claims to have communicated with his deceased father.

'Exotic Finds in the Wrong Place' is the next avenue of discussion covered in the conversation. He shares a number of examples of weird items being discovered in places, around the world, where they simply should not have been. He also reflects on how these anomalies are actually accepted by historians, but lie on the fringes of history. This leads to some discussion on why the Vikings still do not get mainstream credit for discovering America. We also ponder why the Viking's knowledge of North America never seemed to make it to the powerful countries in Europe, which later 'discovered' and settled the continent. Similar to the previous category, we then find out about 'Wrong Time' tales, where things, ideas, and people turn up in surprising time periods. Dr. Beach shares examples of such incidents and inventions that appeared before their time.

Wrapping up our discussion on the listed categories at Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog, the stories that mystify and stump the accomplished researcher. To this point, he talks about stories where eagles are alleged to have picked up babies as prey. Following that discussion, we talk about the extra categories that aren't listed on the blog, beginning with the 'rogue researchers' of history. He uses the tale of scientists using corpses to study how the Maya performed sacrifices.

Looking at some of the recurring elements found on the blog, we first tackle strange tales surrounding food that can be found throughout history. Along the way, during this segment, we hear about the bizarre world of biodynamic food as well as 1920's futurism and the food it spawned. Dr. Beach reflects on the futurist food that he ate the week prior to our conversation. Following that, we hear about 'invisible books,' which are texts that never truly existed except in the minds of readers, such as Hitler's alleged diary.

Continuing to jump around at some of the highlights of Dr. Beach's blog, we then find out about the tale of Confederate exiles who left America after the Civil War and actually founded a settlement in Brazil. Following that, we cover cryptozoological tales from history and ponder whether they are myths and legends or true stories of sightings of creatures that no longer exist. To that end, he shares the tale, from the beginning of the 16th century, of an Italian visitor to Mecca who wrote about seeing two unicorns in captivity there. We then tackle some of the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare, including the debate over the authorship of his plays. Dr. Beach also shares the 'Italian Shakespeare' theory that is popular in Italy, but hasn't taken hold in America or England.

Heading towards the close, we talk about Dr. Beach's 'elephant obsession' that he had this past Summer and shares some of his strange elephant stories from history. Getting paranormal, Dr. Beach details stories of philosophers throughout history that speculated on the nature of extraterrestrials.

Wrapping up our conversation, we circle back around to Dr. Beachcombing, himself, and try to find out a bit more about the mysterious man behind the excellent blog. He shares the origins of the name and explains why he uses a pseudonym for writing the blog. He also reflects on the evolution of the blog and his anonymity as well. We also find out what's next for 'Dr. Beachcombing,' including the possibility of a Beachcombing's Bizarre History Book.

'Dr. Beachcombing' Bio

Dr Beachcombing lives part of his time in the village of Little Snoring in an undisclosed English county (not Norfolk…) and the rest of his time in an undisclosed village in Tuscany. He likes villages.

He is particularly curious about the strange and the unexpected in records of the past: exceptions that prove or disprove rules. He increasingly suspects that there are no rules, but that’s another story…

Over the years he has put together several bulging filing cabinets full of these strange and unexpected details.

He does not expect his website to be read as a normal blog. It is more a ‘library of the damned’ that every so often the brave will turn up in internet searches.

His website is beachcombing.wordpress.com

Next Week :

Nick Redfern & Greg Bishop

The State of Ufology in 2010

Longtime friends of BoA:Audio, Greg Bishop and Nick Redfern return to the program for our annual examination of the past year in Ufology. We'll cover Stephen Hawking's warning about contacting aliens, China's big airport UFO event, the UFO-Nuke press conference, remembering Zecharia Sitchen, Robert Miles, and others we lost in the past year, as well as the Emma Woods controversy and the shake up at MUFON. Plus, we'll look at cryptozoology as well as emerging esoteric trends with 2011 on the horizon. Unlike in previous years, where we poured over the minutiae of the last 12 months, this year we opt for a more freeform discussion on the state of UFO studies as 2010 comes to an end.

Less an interview and more a conversation between three friends, this episode will hopefully give BoA:Audio listeners food for thought about where we stand when it comes to unlocking the enigmatic UFO phenomenon.

BoA : Audio, Season Six archive