The inhabitants of Barbary all bury their money. The secret is confided to a single person, who often is taken ill, and dies before he can discover the hiding place to his surviving relatives. Millions of dollars are lost in this way. The people, conscious of their secret practice, are always on the scent for concealed treasures.
Whether it was true is anyone’s guess, but apparently all possible was done to encourage them to open up and share:
Mr. Hay gives an appalling account of private individuals arrested on suspicion of possessing great wealth — “The most horrible tortures are freely resorted to for forcing confessions of hidden wealth. The victim is put in a slow oven, or kept standing for weeks in a wooden dress; splinters are forced between the flesh and the nail of the fingers; two fierce cats are put alive into his wide trousers, and the breasts of his women are twisted with pincers. Young children have sometimes been squeezed to death under the arms of a powerful man, before the eyes of their parents.”
A wealthy merchant at Tangier, whose auri sacra fames had led him to resist for a long time the cruel tortures that had been, employed against him, yielded at length to the following trial. “He was placed in a corner of the room, wherein a hungry lion was chained in such a manner as to be able to reach him with his claws, unless he held himself in a most unnatural position.” This reads very much like a description of the torments of the Inquisition. The Moors may have imported this system of torture from Spain. Similar barbarities were said to have been inflicted by King Otho on prisoners in Greece, even on British Ionian subjects! I recollect particularly the sewing up of fierce cats in the petticoats of women. My experience in Morocco does not permit me to authenticate Mr. Hay’s horrible picture.
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Nick Lloyd writes that The legend of “El bruel“, which refers to a strange mournful bellow that echoed over the lakes, is
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From John Drummond Hay, Morocco and the Moors: Western Barbary, Its Wild Tribes and Savage Animals (1861): There are descendants of the
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One of the principal flaws in the Vatican’s claims that the Inquisition was not really all that bad is the supposition
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I had an interesting chat (ie I listened) with someone the other night about the social position of musicians in the
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Translations from Welsh and Yiddish revealing ornithomancy amongst the 19th century north Welsh and Jewish Lithuanians.