isis unveiled: xi (magical history)

“Many believe that all such snakes are prepared and trained for the purpose, and that they are either deprived of their fangs, or have their mouths sewed up. There may be, doubtless, some inferior jugglers, whose trickery has given rise to such and idea. But the genuine serpent-charmer has too well established his claims in the East, to resort to any such cheap fraud. They have the testimony on this subject of too many trustworthy travelers, including some scientists, to be accused of any such charlatanism.

That the snakes, which are charmed to dance and to become harmless, are still poisonous, is verified by Forbes. “On the music stopping too suddenly”, says he, “or from some other cause, the serpent, who had been dancing within a circle of country-people, darted among the spectators, and inflicted a wound in the throat of a young woman, who died in agony, in half an hour afterward.”

According to the accounts of many travelers the negro women of Dutch Guiana, the Obeah women, excel in taming very large snakes called amodites, or papa; they make them descend from the trees, follow, and obey them by merely speaking to them.

We have seen in India a small brotherhood of fakirs settled round a little lake, or rather a deep pool of water, the bottom of which was literally carpeted with enormous alligators. These amphibious monsters crawl out, and warm themselves in the sun, a few feet from the fakirs, some of whom may be motionless, lost in prayer and contemplation.

So long as one of these holy beggars remains in view, the crocodiles are as harmless as kittens. But we would never advise a foreigner to risk himself alone within a few yards of these monsters. The poor Frenchman Pradin found an untimely grave in one of these terrible Saurians, commonly called by the Hindus Moudela. (This word should be nihang or ghariya.)”

H. P. Blavatsky

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