how to earn a pearl necklace

Sadhu Haridas was a 19th century yogi who claimed to be able to put himself into a state of suspended animation for up to four months. This assertion was tested in front of a skeptical Maharaja, several English doctors and French and English military personnel. 


According to a lengthy account in the Calcutta Medical Times in 1835, Haridas cut away the the muscles under his tongue so that it could be doubled back to seal off the nasal passages at the back of the throat. For several days before his internment he consumed only milk and yoghurt then fasted completely. He closed his nose and ears with wax, rolled his tongue back, settled into a cross-legged position and stopped his pulse.


leg positions by Eric Stanton

He was then wrapped in linen, placed in a padlocked chest and buried. Barley was sown in the earth above his tomb and a wall was built around it and guarded around the clock. Forty days later…..

“On the fortieth day, when the chest containing the Fakir was dug up and opened, the man was found cold and stark in precisely the same condition as that in which he had been left. With much trouble he was restored to life by means of heat applied to the head, afflation in the ears and mouth, rubbing the body, etc.”


In 1837 the experiment was repeated at the court of Runjeet Singh. One of the many witnesses was Sir Claude Wade who wrote this account of how the body was brought back to a state of animation.

“The servant commenced bathing him with hot water, and gradually relaxing his arms and legs from the rigid state in which they were contracted and placed a hot wheaten cake, about an inch thick, on the top of the head. 

He pulled out of his nostrils and ears the wax and cotton with which they had been stopped, and after great exertion opened [Haridas’] mouth by inserting the point of a knife between his teeth, and while holding his jaw open with his left hand drew the tongue forward with his right, in the course of which the tongue flow back several times to its curved position upward, in which it had originally been, so as to close the gullet.

The servant then put some ghee on his tongue and made him swallow it. A few minutes afterward the eyeballs became dilated, and recovered their natural color, when the Fakir recognized Runjeet Singh sitting close to him, and articulated in a low sepulchral tone, “Do you believe me now?” Runjeet Singh replied in the affirmative, and invested the Fakir with a pearl necklace and a superb pair of gold bracelets.”


image found here

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 8:02 am  Comments (28)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

28 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I totally expected them to have dug him up to find a rancid corpse then just laughed at him… such a disappointment. There are far easier ways of getting a pearl necklace I must say.

  2. Some people are madder than meataxes really! I can only ask why? No pearl necklace is worth that.

  3. The hot cake on the head was a nice theatrical touch. He must have looked like a proper fakir.

  4. It’s a bit like people zoning in on the interweave for days on end ….. or the first days of true love [arrrr – what a romantic thought]

  5. He could put himself in a state of suspended animation for four months? I once worked in an office where a colleague had been doing that for years!

    send him over to the gimcrack. I’ll put him on shower duties – that’ll wake him up

  6. Call me an old cynic from New York but I don’t believe this story for a moment.

  7. So do Yogi’s wear pearl necklaces?

  8. Forget the fakirs, that balloon sculpture is REAL entertainment. The chap on the right wants to be careful he doesn’t pop himself…

  9. i guess everyone has to have something they are good at.
    but still, it’s pretty creepy.

  10. That Stanton drawing is REALLY creepy.

  11. I put myself into a state of suspended animation when I watched the movie “9 to 5”.

  12. There must be easier ways to get a necklace 😐

  13. Okay, I give up. What’s a “gold bracelet”?


  14. Nice theatrics here, although I could see this popping up in the news after a few unfortunate frat party stunts land some would-be demonstrators in a permanent state of rest 😉

  15. typically, i’ve found that being animated is much more likely to result in the delivery of a pearl necklace…

    *double wink*

  16. Those balloon figures sure bring back memories.
    I got one just like it at my 7th birthday party. Didn’t understand it then.

    But now that I think about it, the clown making them was really creepy.

  17. Hmmm…. I’m not sure that ALL (no, I’m not looking at anyone in particular) of my readers understand the “pearl necklace” reference, even with the help of balloons…..

    do I need to add a wikipedia link?

  18. That is true balloon art!

  19. Oh, I indeed understand the “pearl necklace” perfectly. But then again, you probably knew that already.

    Corset Fridays are always good for reanimating the flesh.

  20. Have to admire the dedication of a man willing to severe his tongue muscles in order to pull off a really good parlour trick. Shows spunk!

  21. The fakirs used trickery to achieve these feats, of course (and you knew I would know that). Harry Houdini was fascinated by the tricks of the Indian ‘holy men’ and you can read all about it in The Secrets of Houdini by John Clucas Cannell. Although I have the hardcover, I note that the entire text is available online!

    Houdini could of course duplicate the stunts, and I’m sure that he could have also have produced some golden handcuffs and a pearl necklace to boot. He was a very fit man.

    It’s not the entire text – just enough to whet the appetite, explaining how fakirs supposedly “slow their pulse”

  22. What a dirty fakir.

    I like his style.

  23. Maybe I should try this to escape the bill collectors. Seems a bit painful however.

  24. This reminds me of a section of a book called the Serpent and the rainbow (the book only-avoid the film!).

    It explores how in Victorian times people were terrified of mistakenly being buried alive. Apparently it was common for people to request that major arteries were cut before being buried to ensure that this wouldn’t happen.

    Cheers for the tip off on this nurse, I’m gonna go read some more on this 🙂

  25. @Green of Eye: You may know that there were even Victorian inventions designed to thwart the possibility of being buried alive, such as a bell at the grave-side that was operated by the erroneously interred ‘corpse’ when they woke up. Personally, I can’t think of many things more terrible than waking up in a coffin in the pitch blackness under six feet of packed earth. I’d probably immediately die of terror, before I could operate the bell.

  26. Green of Eye, have you read this?

    Anaglyph, do you know about this perfume?

  27. I wouldn’t do it for pearls. Diamonds, maybe.

  28. Do you know if David Blaine (the real Gitwizard), has heard about this ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: