When the ancient primeval man stood alone in an unknown world. It was only natural for him to yield himself to the influence of wild beliefs and wilder superstitions. Since then he has traversed long centuries acquiring during the course of his journey new knowledge and wisdom. This explains the setback to superstition in some part, but not wholly, for the superstitious instinct never dies even in the midst of cicilization. ?In the midst of African forests there are unholy secret societies bound by superstition: and in the heart of great cities there are equally unholy secret societies also bound by superstition?. The present work in its wide sweep, encompasses the study of a large number of these weird practices which formed part of man?s responses to the old, unseen world which surrounded him. The study takes the author to various fields allied to superstition: to occult practices and black magic, to poisons which have always has something supernatural about them and to poisoners, to withcraft and voodoo rites. It recounts in vivid detail the queer trail of death, devastation and tragedy that followed in the wake of the opening of the tomb of Tutenkhamen. The excavation of the tomb claimed the life of dozens of Egyptologists associated with the venture. When, thousands of years ago, the great Pharaoh?s body was borne to its final resting place the priests had pronounced the curse that ?death shall come on swift wings to him that toucheth the tomb of the Pharaoh?. Two chapters cover the dark world of crimes and criminals. The chapter on detectives and their methods is spiced with a large number of interesting ancedotes. A separate chapter discusses the use of torture down through the centuries in establishing guilt and describes the famous trial of Class in France which failed despite the most barbarous torture to extract a confession from the innocent victim. The death of Class set of one of the most violent storms of protest in history when Voltaire and the French encyclopaedists roused the conscience of Europe against the inhumanity of what they caled the ?judicial killing?. The book is a veritable storehouse of much curious and interesting information unavailable elsewhere, and throws light on some of the least known aspects of man?s endeavour to understand and master the mysteries of existence.
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