Snake Charmer

Contest Info

  • Started: 7/27/2010 11:10
  • Ended: 8/2/2010 17:00
  • Level: apprentice
  • Entries: 7
  • Jackpot:
  • FN Apprentice 1st Place $1.5
  • FN Apprentice 2nd Place $0.9
  • FN Apprentice 3rd Place $0.6
  • FN Apprentice 4th Place $0.3
Snake Charmer
Contest Directions: Photoshop this image of snake charmer (click to download) any way you wish. Some examples are: showing what other animals this snake charmer may tame, making the snake perform some stunts, putting the snake charmer into some new environment, using this snake charmer image in advertisements, movies, paintings, etc. These are just some ideas.
Many thanks to Guido Farina and Stock Exchange for providing the source photo.

Contest Info

    • Started: 7/27/2010 11:10
    • Ended: 8/2/2010 17:00
    • Level: apprentice
    • Entries: 7
    • Jackpot:
    • FN Apprentice 1st Place $1.5
    • FN Apprentice 2nd Place $0.9
    • FN Apprentice 3rd Place $0.6
    • FN Apprentice 4th Place $0.3
7 pictures
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    Stoned Snake Charmer
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    Aussie Snake Charmer on a Snake
  • Vuvuzela Snake Charmer

    Vuvuzela Snake Charmer
  • Multi-Talented Snake Charmer

    Multi-Talented Snake Charmer
  • Snake Eye

    Snake Eye
  • Barack Obama the Snake Charmer

    Barack Obama the Snake Charmer
  • Hindu Hot Stuff Snake Charmer

    Hindu Hot Stuff Snake Charmer
7 image entries
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This contest is fueled by the following news: The conference for representatives of one of the most amazing professions on Earth - snake charmers, takes place every year in the village Hadaitala, which is located 100 km away from Calcutta. Thousands of reptile charmers gather to pay tribute to Manasa Tutelary Goddess of snakes in the Hindu religion. Snake charmers demonstrate various tricks in front of the audience: snake charmers entwine poisonous reptiles around their bodies, squeeze venom drops from the snake fangs into their mouths and swallow them and entice the cobras to come out of the knitted basket by playing the flute and make them sway gently in rhythm to music. The fakir starts to play the flute, or rather, to let out a fine shrill sound and swinging his head up and down, the furious reptile, which comes out of the knitted basket, immediately calms down and starts swaying in rhythm to the music without tearing away its sight from the instrument. (Though snakes cannot hear very well, they react to the flute music with respect to its high tone. According to one of the theories, certain air vibrations strike on the skin scales or tips of the snakes ribs). Certainly this trick makes a big impression on the first timers. However the answer is quite simple. The fact of the matter is that, the flute the charmer uses is not a music instrument but a bludgeon with which he trains the poisonous "artist". One of the eyewitnesses describes the training procedure: "The cobra, which already went decently crazy from being locked up, opens its hood and flings itself towards the trainer with quite obvious intentions. The charmer counters it fully armed and the weapon, as it is easy to guess, is his flute. Over and over again, the cobra shows its spiteful disposition, but the "musical blows" eventually compel the cobra to take to flight. The cobra is not permitted to do this - the charmer knocks it with his flute till the poor fellow becomes completely exhausted and the knitted basket in which it has to live, looks like a tempting and desired refuge. After the first severe training session, the fakir-trainee is accepted and the entire thing is repeated..." During performances, the cobra does not sway in rhythm to the music but the fakir moves in the rhythmic movements of the snake; when the snake lifts its head, the fakir lifts the flute. The serpent remembers the cruel hits, which it experienced during the "training sessions" and hence, sluggishly sways trying to figure out whether it will be possible for it to run away or not. When the serpent gets tired, the melody stops and creates the impression that the music is making him sway. This is the entire trick. Besides, some charmers being afraid to be bitten take extreme measures like stitch the snake's mouth closed. To be fair, the tricks described above are used only by the simple street charmers, performing in front of credulous tourists for small payment. As E.P. Blavatskaya wrote, "The present snake charmers have a very well established reputation in the East and don't need to resort to such acts. There exists testimonial evidence from reliable travelers, including scientists, not to accuse all the charmers of charlatanism". In spite of the fact that India (presently around 7000 representatives of this profession) is famous for snake charmers, this art, according to researchers, originated in Egypt. Sheikh Mousse from Luxor is considered to be one of the most skillful snake charmers. However, even the fine knowledge of snake habits doesn't always save the charmers from casualties. Doctor Hamilton Fairley tracked the course of life of 25 snake charmers for 15 yrs. It appeared that 19 out of the 25 snake charmers died during this period due to snake venom. So this profession is not only mysterious but also very dangerous. In his book "Last African Mysteries", English writer Lawrence Green writes: "The charming of snakes is an amazing and dangerous profession. Almost all snake charmers whom I knew died of snake bites. These fearless people could not master the one secret - how to survive. It seems to me that, the art of snake charming originated in Egypt, which was the cradle for many arts. Snakes - scourge of the Egyptian village. Perhaps for this reason, most of the skillful snake hunters and charmers appeared there. On the banks of the Nile, I saw performances which are much more difficult than the performances in India. Cobras were the symbol of imperial greatness. Tiaras in the form of cobras crown heads of Egyptian statues. Cleopatra died of cobra bite. Magicians in the court of the Pharaohs could transform snakes into sticks, repeating the miracle that once done by the Prophet Moses. Probably, they squeezed the serpent's neck in such a way that the brain was paralyzed and the snake became hard as stick. The African sorcerers know well the habits of snakes. Quite often, Europeans in tropical Africa approach sorcerers for help if they suspect the presence of a snake in the house. And almost always the sorcerer did not find a snake and went off without compensation. Usually, the sorcerer brings a pipe with him and starts to play the melody in different areas of the premises expecting the mamba to slip out into the open. A flexible, graceful creation, but it has enough venom in its fangs to bite an elephant. The sorcerer waits for the moment, quickly traps the snake with the stick which is forked at one end, and throws it into a bag. These days, in most cases it is a fraud. The sorcerer usually throws a tame snake whose venomous fangs are removed into a house and with the force of "magic spells" brings it out of its shelter. His skills were unsurpassable. Before beginning the performance, he permitted them to check him thoroughly. The snakes that he charmed were not trained ones. Uttering spells and singing, Mousse enticed them from holes and called them to him. If the cobra tried to attack, Mousse accurately moved the snake with a stick and without stopping his singing, he slowly came nearer to the serpent, put his hand on the ground and the cobra lowered its head onto the palm of Mousse. Also, the charmer demonstrated one more unbelievable trick: he put the recently caught cobras in a circle drawn by his stick in the sand and the cobras remained in the circle till Mousse allowed them to leave the circle.