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Strange stories

The real Robinson

At the time I went to school, almost every child knew the "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe (approx. 1660-1731). The book was available in several editions, including simplified versions for children, and "Robinson" became a synonym for a hermit on a lonely island. The bestseller found imitators, and the "Robinsonads" - adventure stories about sailing ships, castaways [...]

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Strange stories

The great Xhosa cattle slaughter

Crises and mass hysteria, as examples of the dangers of uncontrolled "lateral thinking"? In “In short, in a nutshell, curious” on page 262 “The legendary cargo cult” and on page 323 “A renaissance prophet in the fickle of the masses” we dealt with mass situations in which people can lose their ability to criticize. In the past centuries, easily excitable crowds of people that could no longer be reached through arguments have in diverse [...]

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Strange stories

Gods and oracles - an "old hat"?

(Published December 2014) The world of antiquity, characterized by gods and oracles, seems outdated and outgrown to us today. But did it have a true core - and are we really so much further along in this today than we were then, or have perhaps only the forms changed? Socrates and Transcendence If one reads the writings of the ancient philosophers, one [...]

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Strange stories

A German doom

A custom that is difficult to understand today led to the tragedy that ultimately broke the German Empire: unlike all other European powers, the coronation of German emperors could only take place by the pope and, if possible, on Roman soil. The regular, problem-laden military campaigns to Rome for this purpose overstretched the forces of the empire. - Also [...]

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Strange stories

Honorary salvation for a soil pest

Why we should erect a monument to the earthworm (Published in GralsWelt 78/2013) It is surprising, almost dismaying, to learn how ignorant many people still were in the 19th century. How little, for example, farmers knew about their arable land with its soil life, on the fertility of which depended the crop yields and thus the well-being of many people. We are not talking here [...]

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Strange stories

The Zong Massacre

(Published in GralsWelt 71/2012) People were thrown overboard so that the transport insurance would pay for "lost cargo": a particularly chilling example of what was legally possible in the days of the slave trade. In 1781, the British slave ship Zong was en route from West Africa to the Caribbean. Her captain, Luke Collingwood (c. 1733-1783), was making only his second voyage on [...]

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Strange stories

Was Marco Polo really in China?

(Published in GralsWelt 69/2012) A frequent saying of my history teacher was: "That's how it is written in mythology, that's how Homer told us - but in history you never know what is true and what is only invented." The great traveler - a braggart? We all learned in school about the world traveler Marco Polo (1254-1324) [...].

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Strange stories

His Imperial Majesty the Man-Eater

 (Published in Gralswelt 62/2010) What is “politically correct”? For several years there has been a new point of view for everyone who wants to publish: “political correctness”. Anyone who publishes something would do well to express themselves “politically correct” if they want to make sure that they are not disqualified as an extremist, populist, racist, etc. or even prosecuted. [...]

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Strange stories

Do the Indians count as human beings?

 (Published in Grail World 61/2010) As in the “Disputation of Valladolid” less than 500 years ago it was argued about whether Indians have a soul and whether they play a role in Christ's plan of salvation. Anyone who has read Heinrich Heine may remember his ballad about a disputation in medieval Spain. In his inimitable way, Heine lets a rabbi [...]

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Strange stories

The adventurous life of Adam Dreyling

“The Master of the Seventh Seal” - just a historical novel or more? Published in Gralswelt 58/2010 The history of the world consists of an interplay of many forces, and it is not uncommon for apparent trivialities to be of paramount importance. This was also the case with the well-known naval battle between the great Spanish Armada and the English fleet in 1588. The English victory […]