Life Among the Thugee

The existence of large bodies of men having no other means of subsistence than those afforded by plunder, is, in all countries, too common to excite surprise; and, unhappily, organized bands of assassins are not peculiar to India! The associations of murderers known by the name of Thugs present, however, so many remarkable points of character and manners, that curiosity may reasonably be excited to inquire into the history, and ascertain the feelings, opinions, and motives of persons differing, in many respects, so widely even from all other followers of their own horrible occupation. In different parts of India, these ruffians assume, and have been designated by, various names, derived either from the mode by which they dispatch their victims-from the purpose for which they destroy life, or from the arts by which they inveigle their prey to destruction. In the more northern parts of India, these murderers are called Thugs, the name by which they are most generally known among Europeans. This term signifies It “deceiver.” In some provinces to the southward, according to Dr. Sherwood, they have obtained the name of Phansigars, or It stranglers,” from the Hindostanee word phanai, a It noose.” By the same authority it is stated, that in the Tamul language they are called Ari Tulucar, or Mussulman It noosers”; in Canarese, Tanti Calleru, implying” thieves who use a wire or catgut noose”; and in Telagu, Warlu Wahndlu, or Warlu Vayshay Wahndloo, meaning people who use the noose.”

It is remarkable, that, after an intercourse with India of nearly two centuries, and the exercise of sovereignty over a large part of the country for no inconsiderable period, the English should have been ignorant. of the existence and habits of a body so dangerous to the public peace. This, however, seems to have been the case: and it may be regarded as affording a strong proof, how little progress was made by the Europeans, during a long series of years, in knowledge of the people among whom they resided, and over whom they exercised the functions of rulers. There is reason to conclude, that the British Government knew nothing of the Thugs until shortly after after the conquest of Seringapatam, in 1799, when about a hundred were apprehended in the vicinity of Bangalore. They did not engage general attention; nor would it appear that they were suspected to belong to a distinct class of hereditary murderers and plunderers, settled in various parts of India, and alike remarkable for the singularity of their practice and the extent of their depredations. In the year 1807, between Chittoor and Arcot, several Thugs were apprehended, belonging to a gang which had just returned laden with booty from an expedition to Travancore; and information was then obtained, which ultimately led to the developement of the habits, artifices, and combinations of these atrocious delinquents.

The Thugs that invested the south of India some years ago were settled in Mysore, on the borders of that province and the Carnatic, in the Balaghat districts ceded to the Company by the Nizam in 1800; and they were particularly numerous in the Poliums of Chittoor. The sequestered part of the country which comprehended these Poliums maintained little intercourse with the neighbouring districts, abounding in hills and fast­nesses; and, being immediately subject to several Polygars, afforded the Thugs a convenient and, sure retreat. The protection of the Polygars was extended to them in common with other classes of robbers, in consideration of a settled contribution, or, which was more frequent, of sharing in the fmits of their rapacity.

It is impossible that such criminals as the Thugs, living by systematic plans of depredation, could long remain in the same place in safety, unless their practices were encouraged or connived at by persons in authority. Hence, after the establishment of the Company’s Government over the Carnatic and the districts ceded by the Nizam, and the consequent extinction of the power and influence of the Polygars, some of whom had succeeded in rendering themselves virtually independent of the former government, many of these murderers changed their abodes, and assumed other names: others, who remained, endeavoured to shelter. themselves by subterfuge and dissimulation.

While they lived under the protection of Polygars and other petty local authorities, and among people whose habits were in some respects analogous to their own, it was unnecessary to conceal that they subsisted by depredation. They and their families lived peaceably with their neighbours, whom they never attempted to molest. Between them there subsisted a reciprocation of interest, in the purchase and disposal of the plunder which the Thugs brought with them, on returning from their expeditions. Conscience in the East is neither very delicate nor very enlightened; and if any scruples arose, the countervailing profit would, more and more than balance them.  The Thugs at all times engaged in the tillage of land, even under the native chiefs, when they had settled habitations. They either sowed the lands, or prepared them for seed, during the season that they remained at home; and left the care of them to their women and children, in their absence. This peaceful pursuit afforded them a screen, on the extension of the English Government, and, while pursuing their criminal practices, enabled them to appear dependent on honest and laudable industry.

According to Dr. Sherwood, who wrote in 1816, and whose acquaintance with Thuggee appears to have been founded principally upon observations made in the territories subject to the Presidency of Fort St. George, a gang consisted of from ten to fifty, or sometimes a greater number. Captain Sleeman states, that the gangs have often contained two or three hundred; but, in such instances, they commonly follow each other in small parties of ten or twenty, upon roads parallel to each other, being prepared to concentrate, on any point, when necessary. Different parties frequently act in concert, apprising one another of the approach of travellers whose destruction promises a valuable booty. They assume the appearance of ordinary inoffensive travellers: sometimes they pretend to be traders; and, if enriched by former spoliations, travel on horseback, with tents, and pass for wealthy merchants, or other persons of consequence. Sometimes they commence their route in more humble characters; but acquiring, in their rapacious progress, horses and bullocks, these at once furnish them with the means of transporting the remainder of their plunder, and of making pretensions to higher degrees of wealth and station.

Thugs are accustomed to wait at choultries, on the high roads, or near towns where travellers rest. They arrive at such places, and enter towns and villages, in straggling parties of three or four persons, appearing to meet by accident, and to have no previous acquaintance. On such occa­sions, some of the gang are employed as emissaries, to collect infonnation, and especially to learn if any persons with property in their possession are about to undertake a journey. They are often accompanied by children of ten years of age and upwards; who, while they perform menial offices, are gradually initiated into the horrid practices of Thuggee, and contribute to prevent suspicion of their real character. Skilled in the arts of deception, they enter into conversation, and insinuate themselves by obsequious attentions into the confidence of travellers of all descriptions, to learn from them whence they came, whither and for what purpose they are journeying, and of what property they are possessed. When, after obtaining such information as they deem requisite, the Thugs determine to attack a traveller, they usually propose to him, under the specious plea of mutual safety or for the sake of society to travel together; or else they follow him at a little distance, and, when a fit opportunity appears for effecting their purpose one of the gang suddenly throws a rope or sash round the neck of the unfortunate victim while the rest contribute, in various ways to aid the murderous work.

Intrepidity does not appear to be a charac­teristic of the Thugs; and, in truth it is a quality not to be looked for in assassins by profession. A superiority in physical force is generally regarded as an indispensable preliminary to success. Two Thugs, at the least, are thought necessary for the murder of one man; and more commonly three are engaged. Some Thugs pride themselves upon being able to strangle a man single handed; and this is esteemed a most honourable distinction. To ascribe to a Thug this power, is the highest compliment that can be paid him. A single Thug who had succeeded in pulling a man from his horse, and strangling him, conferred a distinction
upon his family which ennobled it in the eyes of their fellows for many generations. Such a man was Buckshee, and a few others; but the majority of the Thugs are, and ever have been, firm adherents of the maxim, that “discretion is the better part of valour.”

Some variations have existed in the manner of perpetrating the murders; but the following seems to be the most general. While travelling along, one of the gang suddenly throws the rope or cloth round the neck of the devoted individual, and retains hold of one end; the other end being seized by an accomplice. The instrument of death, crossed behind the neck, is then drawn very tight, the two Thugs who hold it pressing the head of the victim forwards: a third villain, who is in readiness behind the traveller, seizes him by the legs, and he is thus thrown on the ground. In this situation there is little opportunity of resistance. The operation of the noose is aided by kicks
inflicted in the manner most likely to produce vital injury, and the sufferer is thus quickly dispatched.

The best precautions are taken to guard against discovery or surprise. Before the perpetration of the murder, some of the gang are sent in advance, and some left in rear of the place, to keep watch, to prevent intrusion, and to give warning, if occasion requires, to those engaged in the act. Should any persons unexpectedly appear on the ground before the murdered body is buried, some artifice is practised to prevent discovery; such as, covering the body with a cloth, while loud lamentations are made, professedly on account of the sickness or death of one of their comrades; or one of the watchers will fall down, apparently writhing with with pain, in order to excite the pity of the intruding travellers, and to detain them from the scene of murder.

Such are the perseverance and caution of the Thugs, that, in the absence of a convenient opportunity, they have been known to travel in company with persons whom they have devoted to destruction, for several days before they executed their intention. If circumstances favour them, they generally commit the murder in a jungle, or in an unfrequented part of the country, and near a sandy place or dry water-course. Particular tracts are chosen, in every part of India, where they may exercise their horrid profession with the greatest convenience and security. Much frequented roads, passing through extensive jungles, where the ground is soft for the grave, or the jungle thick to cover them, and where the local authorities took no notice of the bodies, were favourite spots. The Thugs speak of such places with the same affection and enthusiasm as other men would of the most delightful scenes of their early life.

In these chosen spots, a hole, three or four feet in depth, usually forms the grave of the unhappy traveller, who is placed in it with his face downwards. The barbarous character of the Thugs is displayed in their treatment of the wretched remains of the murdered persons. Though death brings a termination of suffering, it does not put an end to to the outrages of the murderers. Long and deep ‘gashes are made in various parts of the bodies: sometimes the limbs are disjointed, and the figure distorted into unusual positions. These outrages arise from various motives. Their intention generally is, to expedite the decomposition of the body, and to prevent its inflation, which, by causing fissures in the superincumbent sand, might attract jackals, and thus lead to the discovery of the corpse. Sometimes, however, these deeds have been the result of disappointment, and the emanations of a petty and unmanly revenge. When the amount of plunder is less than had been expected, the villains have frequently vented their displeasure in wanton indignities on the unconscious remains of the dead.

If, when a murder is perpetrated, a convenient place for interring the body be not near, or if the Thugs be apprehensive of discovery, it is either tied in a sack, and carried to some spot where it is not likely to be found, or is put into a well. In Oude, where the fields are almost all irrigated from wells, the bodies were generally thrown into them; and when the cultivators discovered these relics of crime, they hardly ever thought it worth while to ask how they came there, so accustomed were they to find them. In Bengal and Behar, where the most frequented roads pass along or frequently across rivers, the bodies are cast into those rivers. If none of these expedients be advisable, a shallow hole is dug, in which the corpse is buried, till a fit place for interring it can be discovered; when it is removed, and cut in the manner already mentioned. If compelled to perform the interment under, circumstances which subject them to the risk of observation, the Thugs put up a screen on the wall for a tent, and bury the body within the enclosure; pretending, if inquiries are made, that their women are within the screen. If the traveller had a dog, it is killed, lest the affection of the animal should cause the discovery of the body of his murdered master. The office of mangling the dead body is usually assigned to a particular person of the gang. The Thugs are always provided with knives and pickaxes, which they conceal from observation.

It will thus be seen, that the system of the Thugs is well devised to secure that concealment so necessary to the continued success of their horrid practices. The mode of destroying their victims, and of disposing of their remains, almost preclude the possibility of rescue or escape, of witnesses to the deed, of noise or cries for help, of effusion of blood, and, indeed, of any trace of the crime. An impenetrable veil of darkness is thrown over their atrocities.

It has been supposed, that formerly a long string with a running noose was used by the Thugs for seizing travellers, and that they robbed on horseback. These practices do not at present, however, appear to be common. They sometimes use a short rope, With a loop at one end: but a turban, or sash, are more usually employed, as these answer the atrocious purpose in view as well as a regularly-prepared noose, and have the additional recommendation of exciting no suspicion. When a waist-cloth or sash is used, it is previously doubled to the length of two feet, or two feet and a half: a knot is formed at the double extremity, and a slip-knot tied about eighteen inches from it. In regulating the distance of the two knots, so that the intervening space, when tightly twisted, may be adapted to embrace the neck, the Thug who prepares the instrument ties it upon his own knee. The two knots give a firm hold of the cloth, and prevent its slipping through the hands in the act of applying it. After the person attacked has been brought to the ground, the slip-knot is loosed by the Thug who has hold of that part of the cloth: and he makes another fold of it round the neck; upon which placing his foot, he draws the cloth tight, in a manner similar to that— to use the expression of a Thug informer— “of packing a bundle of straw.” If, which scarcely ever happens, a traveller escape from the persons attempting to strangle him, he incurs the hazard of being dispatched by one of the parties on watch. These men have swords, and will endeavour to cut down any man who escapes from the stranglers. Should he finally escape, or should any other circumstance occur to excite alarm or apprehensions of being seized, the gang immediately disperses, having previously agreed to re-assemble, at an appointed time, at some distant place.


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Highlander Bible

Harry Houdini Investigates the Spirit World

The magician delighted in exposing spiritualists as con men and frauds.

By EDMUND WILSON June 24, 1925

Houdini is a short strong stocky man with small feet and a very large head. Seen from the stage, his figure, with its short legs and its pugilist’s proportions, is less impressive than at close [...] Read more →

The Preparation of Marketable Vinegar

It is unnecessary to point out that low-grade fruit may often be used to advantage in the preparation of vinegar. This has always been true in the case of apples and may be true with other fruit, especially grapes. The use of grapes for wine making is an outlet which [...] Read more →

Cleaning Watch Chains

To Clean Watch Chains.

Gold or silver watch chains can be cleaned with a very excellent result, no matter whether they may be matt or polished, by laying them for a few seconds in pure aqua ammonia; they are then rinsed in alcohol, and finally. shaken in clean sawdust, free from sand. [...] Read more →

Carpenters’ Furniture

IT requires a far search to gather up examples of furniture really representative in this kind, and thus to gain a point of view for a prospect into the more ideal where furniture no longer is bought to look expensively useless in a boudoir, but serves everyday and commonplace need, such as [...] Read more →

Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair


This video by AT Restoration is the best hands on video I have run across on the basics of classic upholstery. Watch a master at work. Simply amazing.


Round needles: Double pointed hand needle: Hand tools: Staple gun (for beginner): Compressor [...] Read more →

Tuna and Tarpon

July, 16, l898 Forest and Stream Pg. 48

Tuna and Tarpon.

New York, July 1.—Editor Forest and Stream: If any angler still denies the justice of my claim, as made in my article in your issue of July 2, that “the tuna is the grandest game [...] Read more →

AB Bookman’s 1948 Guide to Describing Conditions

AB Bookman’s 1948 Guide to Describing Conditions:

As New is self-explanatory. It means that the book is in the state that it should have been in when it left the publisher. This is the equivalent of Mint condition in numismatics. Fine (F or FN) is As New but allowing for the normal effects of [...] Read more →

How Long is Your Yacht?

Dominion, Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club,Winner of Seawanhaka Cup, 1898.

The Tail Wags the Dog.

The following is a characteristic sample of those broad and liberal views on yachting which are the pride of the Boston Herald. Speaking of the coming races for the Seawanhaka international challenge cup, it says:

[...] Read more →

Vitruvius Ten Books on Architecture


The Ten Books on Architecture




List of the 60 Franklin Library Signed Limited Editions

The following highly collectible Franklin Library Signed Editions were published between 1977 and 1982. They are all fully leather bound with beautiful covers and contain gorgeous and rich silk moire endpapers. Signatures are protected by unattached tissue inserts.

The values listed are average prices that were sought by [...] Read more →

Protecting Rare Books: How to Build a Silverfish Trap

Silverfish damage to book – photo by Micha L. Rieser

The beauty of hunting silverfish is that they are not the most clever of creatures in the insect kingdom.

Simply take a small clean glass jar and wrap it in masking tape. The masking tape gives the silverfish something to [...] Read more →

Fed Policy Success Equals Tax Payers Job Insecurity

The low level of work stoppages of recent years also attests to concern about job security.

Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan The Federal Reserve’s semiannual monetary policy report Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate February 26, 1997

Iappreciate the opportunity to appear before this Committee [...] Read more →

Chantry Chapels

William Wyggeston’s chantry house, built around 1511, in Leicester: The building housed two priests, who served at a chantry chapel in the nearby St Mary de Castro church. It was sold as a private dwelling after the dissolution of the chantries.

A Privately Built Chapel

Chantry, chapel, generally within [...] Read more →

The Billesden Coplow Run

*note – Billesdon and Billesden have both been used to name the hunt.


[From “Reminiscences of the late Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq”]

The run celebrated in the following verses took place on the 24th of February, 1800, when Mr. Meynell hunted Leicestershire, and has since been [...] Read more →

Zulu Yawl

Dec. 10, 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 477-479


The little ship shown in the accompanying plans needs no description, as she speaks for herself, a handsome and shipshape craft that a man may own for years without any fear that she will go to pieces [...] Read more →

Coffee & Cigarettes

Aw, the good old days, meet in the coffee shop with a few friends, click open the Zippo, inhale a glorious nosegay of lighter fluid, fresh roasted coffee and a Marlboro cigarette….

A Meta-analysis of Coffee Drinking, Cigarette Smoking, and the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

We conducted a [...] Read more →

Naval Stores – Distilling Turpentine

Chipping a Turpentine Tree

DISTILLING TURPENTINE One of the Most Important Industries of the State of Georgia Injuring the Magnificent Trees Spirits, Resin, Tar, Pitch, and Crude Turpentine all from the Long Leaved Pine – “Naval Stores” So Called.

Dublin, Ga., May 8. – One of the most important industries [...] Read more →

Preserving Iron and Steel Surfaces with Paint

Painting the Brooklyn Bridge, Photo by Eugene de Salignac , 1914


Excerpt from: The Preservation of Iron and Steel Structures by F. Cosby-Jones, The Mechanical Engineer January 30, 1914


This is the method of protection against corrosion that has the most extensive use, owing to the fact that [...] Read more →

Proper Wines to Serve with Food

Foie gras with Sauternes, Photo by Laurent Espitallier

As an Appetizer

Pale dry Sherry, with or without bitters, chilled or not. Plain or mixed Vermouth, with or without bitters. A dry cocktail.

With Oysters, Clams or Caviar

A dry flinty wine such as Chablis, Moselle, Champagne. Home Top of [...] Read more →

Proper Book Handling and Cleaning

Book Conservators, Mitchell Building, State Library of New South Wales, 29.10.1943, Pix Magazine

The following is taken verbatim from a document that appeared several years ago in the Maine State Archives. It seems to have been removed from their website. I happened to have made a physical copy of it at the [...] Read more →

Traditional JuJutsu Health, Strength and Combat Tricks

Jujitsu training 1920 in Japanese agricultural school.



In the writer’s opinion it becomes necessary to make at this point some suggestions relative to a very important part of the training in jiu-jitsu. [...] Read more →

How to Make Money – Insurance

Life insurance certificate issued by the Yorkshire Fire & Life Insurance Company to Samuel Holt, Liverpool, England, 1851. On display at the British Museum in London. Donated by the ifs School of Finance. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)

From How to Make Money; and How to Keep it, Or, Capital and Labor [...] Read more →

Mudlark Regulations in the U.K.

Mudlarks of London

Mudlarking along the Thames River foreshore is controlled by the Port of London Authority.

According to the Port of London website, two type of permits are issued for those wishing to conduct metal detecting, digging, or searching activities.

Standard – allows digging to a depth of 7.5 [...] Read more →

The First Greek Book by John Williams White

Click here to read The First Greek Book by John Williams White

The First Greek Book - 15.7MB



The death, on May 9, of John Williams White, professor of Greek in Harvard University, touches a large number of classical [...] Read more →

Mortlake Tapestries of Chatsworth

Mortlake Tapestries at Chatsworth House

Click here to learn more about the Mortlake Tapestries of Chatsworth

The Mortlake Tapestries were founded by Sir Francis Crane.

From the Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 13

Crane, Francis by William Prideaux Courtney

CRANE, Sir FRANCIS (d. [...] Read more →

The Master of Hounds

Photo Caption: The Marquis of Zetland, KC, PC – otherwise known as Lawrence Dundas Son of: John Charles Dundas and: Margaret Matilda Talbot born: Friday 16 August 1844 died: Monday 11 March 1929 at Aske Hall Occupation: M.P. for Richmond Viceroy of Ireland Vice Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Lord – in – Waiting [...] Read more →

The Fowling Piece – Part I

THE FOWLING PIECE, from the Shooter’s Guide by B. Thomas – 1811.

I AM perfectly aware that a large volume might be written on this subject; but, as my intention is to give only such information and instruction as is necessary for the sportsman, I shall forbear introducing any extraneous [...] Read more →

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika


Translated into English by PANCHAM SINH

Panini Office, Allahabad [1914]


There exists at present a good deal of misconception with regard to the practices of the Haṭha Yoga. People easily believe in the stories told by those who themselves [...] Read more →

Popular Mechanics Archive

Click here to access the Internet Archive of old Popular Mechanics Magazines – 1902-2016

Click here to view old Popular Mechanics Magazine Covers

Home Top of Pg. Read more →

Guaranteed 6% Dividend for Life. Any takers?

Any prudent investor would jump at the chance to receive a guaranteed 6% dividend for life. So how does one get in on this action?

The fact of the matter is…YOU can’t…That is unless you are a shareholder of one of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks and the banks under [...] Read more →

Indian Mode of Hunting – Beaver

Jul. 30, 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 87

Indian Mode of Hunting.


Wa-sa-Kejic came over to the post early one October, and said his boy had cut his foot, and that he had no one to steer his canoe on a proposed beaver hunt. Now [...] Read more →

The Snipe

THE SNIPE, from the Shooter’s Guide by B. Thomas – 1811

AFTER having given a particular description of the woodcock, it will only. be necessary to observe, that the plumage and shape of the snipe is much the same ; and indeed its habits and manners sets bear a great [...] Read more →

The Public Attitude Towards Speculation

Reprint from The Pitfalls of Speculation by Thomas Gibson 1906 Ed.


THE public attitude toward speculation is generally hostile. Even those who venture frequently are prone to speak discouragingly of speculative possibilities, and to point warningly to the fact that an [...] Read more →

JP Morgan’s Digital Currency Patent Application

J.P. Morgan Patent #8,452,703

Method and system for processing internet payments using the electronic funds transfer network.


Embodiments of the invention include a method and system for conducting financial transactions over a payment network. The method may include associating a payment address of an account [...] Read more →

Cocillana Syrup Compound

Guarea guidonia


5 Per Cent Alcohol 8-24 Grain – Heroin Hydrochloride 120 Minims – Tincture Euphorbia Pilulifera 120 Minims – Syrup Wild Lettuce 40 Minims – Tincture Cocillana 24 Minims – Syrup Squill Compound 8 Gram – Ca(s)ecarin (P, D, & Co.) 8-100 Grain Menthol

Dose – One-half to one fluidrams (2 to [...] Read more →

Chronological Catalog of Recorded Lunar Events

In July of 1968, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA), published NASA Technical Report TR R-277 titled Chronological Catalog of Recorded Lunar Events.

The catalog begins with the first entry dated November 26th, 1540 at ∼05h 00m:

Feature: Region of Calippus2 Description: Starlike appearance on dark side Observer: Observers at Worms Reference: [...] Read more →

Cup of Tea? To be or not to be

Twinings London – photo by Elisa.rolle

Is the tea in your cup genuine?

The fact is, had one been living in the early 19th Century, one might occasionally encounter a counterfeit cup of tea. Food adulterations to include added poisonings and suspect substitutions were a common problem in Europe at [...] Read more →

Stoke Park – Granted by King Charles I

Stoke Park Pavillions


Stoke Park Pavilions, UK, view from A405 Road. photo by Wikipedia user Cj1340


From Wikipedia:

Stoke Park – the original house

Stoke park was the first English country house to display a Palladian plan: a central house with balancing pavilions linked by colonnades or [...] Read more →

King Arthur Legends, Myths, and Maidens

King Arthur, Legends, Myths & Maidens is a massive book of Arthurian legends. This limited edition paperback was just released on Barnes and Noble at a price of $139.00. Although is may seem a bit on the high side, it may prove to be well worth its price as there are only [...] Read more →

What is the Meaning of the Term Thorough-bred Fox-hound

Reprint from the Sportsman Cabinet and Town & Country Magazine, Vol.1, Number 1, November 1832.

MR. Editor,

Will you allow me to inquire, through the medium of your pages, the correct meaning of the term thorough-bred fox-hound? I am very well aware, that the expression is in common [...] Read more →

The Hoochie Coochie Hex

From Dr. Marvel’s 1929 book entitled Hoodoo for the Common Man, we find his infamous Hoochie Coochie Hex.

What follows is a verbatim transcription of the text:

The Hoochie Coochie Hex should not be used in conjunction with any other Hexes. This can lead to [...] Read more →

Fly Casting Instructions

It is a pity that the traditions and literature in praise of fly fishing have unconsciously hampered instead of expanded this graceful, effective sport. Many a sportsman has been anxious to share its joys, but appalled by the rapture of expression in describing its countless thrills and niceties he has been literally [...] Read more →

Arsenic and Old Lace

What is follows is an historical article that appeared in The Hartford Courant in 1916 about the arsenic murders carried out by Mrs. Archer-Gilligan. This story is the basis for the 1944 Hollywood film “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane and directed by Frank Capra. The [...] Read more →

Mocking Bird Food

Mocking Bird Food.

Hemp seed……….2 pounds Rape seed………. .1 pound Crackers………….1 pound Rice…………….1/4 pound Corn meal………1/4 pound Lard oil…………1/4 pound


Home Top of Pg. Read more →

Rendering Amber Clear for Use in Lens-Making for Magnifying Glass

by John Partridge,drawing,1825

From the work of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake entitled Materials for a history of oil painting, (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846), we learn the following:

The effect of oil at certain temperatures, in penetrating “the minute pores of the amber” (as Hoffman elsewhere writes), is still more [...] Read more →

Audubon’s Art Method and Techniques

Audubon started to develop a special technique for drawing birds in 1806 a Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. He perfected it during the long river trip from Cincinnati to New Orleans and in New Orleans, 1821.

Home Top of [...] Read more →

The Age of Chivalry


On the decline of the Roman power, about five centuries after Christ, the countries of Northern Europe were left almost destitute of a national government. Numerous chiefs, more or less powerful, held local sway, as far as each could enforce his dominion, and occasionally those [...] Read more →

King James Bible – Knights Templar Edition

Full Cover, rear, spine, and front

Published by Piranesi Press in collaboration with Country House Essays, this beautiful paperback version of the King James Bible is now available for $79.95 at Barnes and

This is a limited Edition of 500 copies Worldwide. Click here to view other classic books [...] Read more →

The Late Rev. H.M. Scarth

H. M. Scarth, Rector of Wrington

By the death of Mr. Scarth on the 5th of April, at Tangier, where he had gone for his health’s sake, the familiar form of an old and much valued Member of the Institute has passed away. Harry Mengden Scarth was bron at Staindrop in Durham, [...] Read more →

The Intaglio Processes for Audubon’s Birds of America

Notes on the intaglio processes of the most expensive book on birds available for sale in the world today.

The Audubon prints in “The Birds of America” were all made from copper plates utilizing four of the so called “intaglio” processes, engraving, etching, aquatint, and drypoint. Intaglio [...] Read more →

Tobacco as Medicine

The first published illustration of Nicotiana tabacum by Pena and De L’Obel, 1570–1571 (shrpium adversana nova: London).

Tobacco can be used for medicinal purposes, however, the ongoing American war on smoking has all but obscured this important aspect of ancient plant.

Tobacco is considered to be an indigenous plant of [...] Read more →

British Craftsmanship is Alive and Well

The Queen Elizabeth Trust, or QEST, is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of British craftsmanship through the funding of scholarships and educational endeavours to include apprenticeships, trade schools, and traditional university classwork. The work of QEST is instrumental in keeping alive age old arts and crafts such as masonry, glassblowing, shoemaking, [...] Read more →

A Conversation between H.F. Leonard and K. Higashi

H.F. Leonard was an instructor in wrestling at the New York Athletic Club. Katsukum Higashi was an instructor in Jujitsu.

“I say with emphasis and without qualification that I have been unable to find anything in jujitsu which is not known to Western wrestling. So far as I can see, [...] Read more →

King William III on Horseback by Sir Godfrey Kneller

Reprint from The Royal Collection Trust website:

Kneller was born in Lubeck, studied with Rembrandt in Amsterdam and by 1676 was working in England as a fashionable portrait painter. He painted seven British monarchs (Charles II, James II, William III, Mary II, Anne, George I and George II), though his [...] Read more →

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.


Nov. 5. 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 371-372

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.

New Smyrna, Fla., Oct. 21.—Editor Forest and Stream:

It is not generally known that the fish commonly called jewfish. warsaw and black grouper are frequently caught at the New Smyrna bridge [...] Read more →

History of the Cabildo in New Orleans

Cabildo circa 1936

The Cabildo houses a rare copy of Audubon’s Bird’s of America, a book now valued at $10 million+.

Should one desire to visit the Cabildo, click here to gain free entry with a lowcost New Orleans Pass.

Home Top of [...] Read more →

On Bernini’s Bust of a Stewart King

As reported in the The Colac Herald on Friday July 17, 1903 Pg. 8 under Art Appreciation as a reprint from the Westminster Gazette


The appreciation of art as well as of history which is entertained by the average member of the [...] Read more →

The Perfect Salad Dressing

The following recipes are from a small booklet entitled 500 Delicious Salads that was published for the Culinary Arts Institute in 1940 by Consolidated Book Publishers, Inc. 153 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.

If you have been looking for a way to lighten up your salads and be free of [...] Read more →

Artist Methods

Como dome facade – Pliny the Elder – Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Work in Progress…


Every substance may be considered as a varnish, which, when applied to the surface of a solid body, gives it a permanent lustre. Drying oil, thickened by exposure to the sun’s heat or [...] Read more →

A Crock of Squirrel


4 young squirrels – quartered Salt & Pepper 1 large bunch of fresh coriander 2 large cloves of garlic 2 tbsp. salted sweet cream cow butter ¼ cup of brandy 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar 6 fresh apricots 4 strips of bacon 1 large package of Monterrey [...] Read more →

Antibiotic Properties of Jungle Soil

If ever it could be said that there is such a thing as miracle healing soil, Ivan Sanderson said it best in his 1965 book entitled Ivan Sanderson’s Book of Great Jungles.

Sanderson grew up with a natural inclination towards adventure and learning. He hailed from Scotland but spent much [...] Read more →

The First Pineapple Grown in England

First Pineapple Grown in England

Click here to read an excellent article on the history of pineapple growing in the UK.

Should one be interested in serious mass scale production, click here for scientific resources.

Growing pineapples in the UK.

The video below demonstrates how to grow pineapples in Florida.

[...] Read more →

Historical Uses of Arsenic

The arsenicals (compounds which contain the heavy metal element arsenic, As) have a long history of use in man – with both benevolent and malevolent intent. The name ‘arsenic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘arsenikon’ which means ‘potent'”. As early as 2000 BC, arsenic trioxide, obtained from smelting copper, was used [...] Read more →

Fortune, Independence, and Competence

THE answer to the question, What is fortune has never been, and probably never will be, satisfactorily made. What may be a fortune for one bears but small proportion to the colossal possessions of another. The scores or hundreds of thousands admired and envied as a fortune in most of our communities [...] Read more →

Napoleon’s Pharmacists


Of the making of books about Napoleon there is no end, and the centenary of his death (May 5) is not likely to pass without adding to the number, but a volume on Napoleon”s pharmacists still awaits treatment by the student in this field of historical research. There [...] Read more →

A Couple of Classic Tennessee Squirrel Recipes


3-4 Young Squirrels, dressed and cleaned 1 tsp. Morton Salt or to taste 1 tsp. McCormick Black Pepper or to taste 1 Cup Martha White All Purpose Flour 1 Cup Hog Lard – Preferably fresh from hog killing, or barbecue table

Cut up three to [...] Read more →

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Reprint from the Royal Collection Trust Website

The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June 1520 in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or, near Guisnes to the south of Calais. The [...] Read more →

The Racing Knockabout Gosling

The Racing Knockabout Gosling.

Gosling was the winning yacht of 1897 in one of the best racing classes now existing in this country, the Roston knockabout class. The origin of this class dates back about six years, when Carl, a small keel cutter, was built for C. H. [...] Read more →

The English Tradition of Woodworking

THE sense of a consecutive tradition has so completely faded out of English art that it has become difficult to realise the meaning of tradition, or the possibility of its ever again reviving; and this state of things is not improved by the fact that it is due to uncertainty of purpose, [...] Read more →

The Hunt Saboteur

The Hunt Saboteur is a national disgrace barking out loud, black mask on her face get those dogs off, get them off she did yell until a swift kick from me mare her voice it did quell and sent the Hunt Saboteur scurrying up vale to the full cry of hounds drowning out her [...] Read more →

Historic authenticity of the Spanish SAN FELIPE of 1690

San Felipe Model

Reprinted from with the kind permission of Dr. Michael Czytko

The SAN FELIPE is one of the most favoured ships among the ship model builders. The model is elegant, very beautifully designed, and makes a decorative piece of art to be displayed at home or in the [...] Read more →

Books Condemned to be Burnt








WHEN did books first come to be burnt in England by the common hangman, and what was [...] Read more →

Art Fraud

A la Russie, aux ânes et aux autres – by Chagall – 1911

Marc Chagall is one of the most forged artists on the planet. Mark Rothko fakes also abound. According to available news reports, the art market is littered with forgeries of their work. Some are even thought to be [...] Read more →

A Cure for Distemper in Dogs


The following cure was found written on a front flyleaf in an 1811 3rd Ed. copy of The Sportsman’s Guide or Sportsman’s Companion: Containing Every Possible Instruction for the Juvenille Shooter, Together with Information Necessary for the Experienced Sportsman by B. Thomas.



Vaccinate your dogs when young [...] Read more →

Blunderbuss Mai Tai Recipe

Blackbeard’s Jolly Roger

If you’re looking for that most refreshing of summertime beverages for sipping out on the back patio or perhaps as a last drink before walking the plank, let me recommend my Blunderbuss Mai Tai. I picked up the basics to this recipe over thirty years ago when holed up [...] Read more →

Making Apple Cider Vinegar

The greatest cause of failure in vinegar making is carelessness on the part of the operator. Intelligent separation should be made of the process into its various steps from the beginning to end.


The apples should be clean and ripe. If not clean, undesirable fermentations [...] Read more →

The Crime of the Congo by Arthur Conan Doyle


Man looks at severed hand and foot….for refusing to climb a tree to cut rubber for King Leopold

Click here to read The Crime of the Congo by Arthur Conan Doyle

Victim of King Leopold of Belgium

Click on the link below for faster download.

The [...] Read more →

Something about Caius College, Cambridge

Gate of Honour, Caius Court, Gonville & Caius

Gonville & Caius College, known as Caius and pronounced keys was founded in 1348 by Edmund Gonville, the Rector of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk. The first name was thus Goville Hall and it was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [...] Read more →

Life Among the Thugee

The existence of large bodies of men having no other means of subsistence than those afforded by plunder, is, in all countries, too common to excite surprise; and, unhappily, organized bands of assassins are not peculiar to India! The associations of murderers known by the name of Thugs present, however, [...] Read more →

A Few Wine Recipes

EIGHTEEN GALLONS is here give as a STANDARD for all the following Recipes, it being the most convenient size cask to Families. See A General Process for Making Wine

If, however, only half the quantity of Wine is to be made, it is but to divide the portions of [...] Read more →

Fresh Water Angling – The Two Crappies


July 2, 1898 Forest and Stream,

Fresh-Water Angling. No. IX.—The Two Crappies. BY FRED MATHER.

Fishing In Tree Tops.

Here a short rod, say 8ft., is long enough, and the line should not be much longer than the rod. A reel is not [...] Read more →

Copper Kills Covid-19 and the Sun is Your Friend

The element copper effectively kills viruses and bacteria.

Therefore it would reason and I will assert and not only assert but lay claim to the patents for copper mesh stints to be inserted in the arteries of patients presenting with severe cases of Covid-19 with a slow release dosage of [...] Read more →

Salmon Caviar

Salmon and Sturgeon Caviar – Photo by Thor

Salmon caviar was originated about 1910 by a fisherman in the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, and the preparation is a modification of the sturgeon caviar method (Cobb 1919). Salomon caviar has found a good market in the U.S.S.R. and other European countries where it [...] Read more →

A Summer Memory


Here, where these low lush meadows lie, We wandered in the summer weather, When earth and air and arching sky, Blazed grandly, goldenly together.

And oft, in that same summertime, We sought and roamed these self-same meadows, When evening brought the curfew chime, And peopled field and fold with shadows.

I mind me [...] Read more →

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. “Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!” he said. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Home Top of [...] Read more →

Blackberry Wine


5 gallons of blackberries 5 pound bag of sugar

Fill a pair of empty five gallon buckets half way with hot soapy water and a ¼ cup of vinegar. Wash thoroughly and rinse.

Fill one bucket with two and one half gallons of blackberries and crush with [...] Read more →

Producing and Harvesting Tobacco Seed

THE FIRST step in producing a satisfactory crop of tobacco is to use good seed that is true to type. The grower often can save his own seed to advantage, if he wants to.

Before topping is done, he should go over the tobacco field carefully to pick [...] Read more →

Indian Modes of Hunting – Musquash

Hudson Bay: Trappers, 1892. N’Talking Musquash.’ Fur Trappers Of The Hudson’S Bay Company Talking By A Fire. Engraving After A Drawing By Frederic Remington, 1892.

Indian Modes of Hunting.


In Canada and the United States, the killing of the little animal known under the several names of [...] Read more →

The Shirk – An Old but Familiar Phenomena


THE shirk is a well-known specimen of the genus homo. His habitat is offices, stores, business establishments of all kinds. His habits are familiar to us, but a few words on the subject will not be amiss. The shirk usually displays activity when the boss is around, [...] Read more →

Clover Wine

Add 3 quarts clover blossoms* to 4 quarts of boiling water removed from heat at point of boil. Let stand for three days. At the end of the third day, drain the juice into another container leaving the blossoms. Add three quarts of fresh water and the peel of one lemon to the blossoms [...] Read more →

Gold and Economic Freedom

by Alan Greenspan, 1967

An almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue which unites statists of all persuasions. They seem to sense-perhaps more clearly and subtly than many consistent defenders of laissez-faire — that gold and economic freedom are inseparable, that the gold standard is an instrument [...] Read more →

Clairvoyance and Occult Powers

Vishnu as the Cosmic Man (Vishvarupa) Opaque watercolour on paper – Jaipur, Rajasthan c. 1800-50



By Swami Panchadasi

Copyright, 1916

By Advanced Thought Pub. Co. Chicago, Il


In preparing this series of lessons for students of [...] Read more →