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Thieves In India

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His Remarkable Method of Detecting the Guilty Person-It is a Mystery for Scientists to Puzzle Over and has Never Been Explained 

The following extraordinary narration of facts as they occurred, and which, we are Informed, were witnessed and can be testified to by the members of three households occupying a large house In Bentinck street, Calcutta, is so remarkable that it is worth the while of any scientist to test them personally, as this can be easily done on the occasion of any theft by domestics in a house. It may be added that every servant in Calcutta Is a lively believer in its efficacy, and, if a thief, at once confesses. A Brahmin is the worker of these marvels. He is well known in Calcutta, and does not profess to work out his method of theft detection for money, but leaves it to those who employ him to reward him if they think fit. It is and that this is readily done, and that he makes a good thing out of It.

A cook in the service of a family in the locality alluded to intrusted his nephew with a large sum of money to keep in deposit. The nephew alleged that he placed the money in an earthen pot, which he buried. The location of the exact spot was confided to a friend. Shortly after this the cook was informed by his nephew that the pot and money had disappeared. With the nephew's consent the Brahmin was summoned to discover the thief, and the following is a bare narration of the extraordinary procedure he adopted, and usually adopts, in all such cases, Accompanied by an aid, he comes to the house, provided with two bamboo rods about sixteen feet long and an inch and a half in diameter. He also has with him a number of fresh peepul leaves, a cocoanut, some rice, and some vermillion and cowries. A fresh earthen dish has to be provided by the person who summons him, as well as a stool.

All the servants in the house are summoned. They are made to stand in a half-circle, and their names are written on each leaf, and these leaves, with one painted with the vermilion, are placed in the dish, which in its turn is placed on the stool. Two utter strangers are then made to hold the bamboo rods, one in each hand, opposite each other, with their elbows far behind their hips, so that they can have little or no influence in turning or bending the rods. Now comes the strange part of the proceedings. At the Brahmin's call of each name, the bamboo rods in the first instance rise together and form a semi-circle above. They then bend, and, forming a semicircle below, gradually come together, pick up the leaf containing the name called out and throw it out of the dish. This strange process is repeated till the name of the thief, as alleged, is called, when they both seize the leaf, lift it up, and only disengage at the call of the Brahmin, who entreats the rods to let the leaf go. To all appearances, the two men who hold the rods make no effort whatever.

The thing is done in such an extraordinary fashion as to exceed belief. In fact, a reasonable human being cannot believe it till he has witnessed it, and when he has done so his amazement is all the greater. Here is, indeed, a marvel for the scientist to puzzle over. The two rods bend, come together and seize upon the right names as they are called out, and then throw them aside except in the case of the thief. In this instance, the nephew confessed to the theft, and a number of his relatives who had come from up-country to witness the ordeal made restitution.