This past weekend has seen the celebration of the Lunar New Year* and the beginning of the Year of the Snake and I thought I would look for a suitably snaky article to share with you.
I found any amount of snake charmers meeting their untimely end shortly after a performance went wrong (“Everything’s fine, no need to worry…. thud….”) but when I came across this great photo I had to share it.
I had to shrink it down to get the photo in one piece, and, so you won’t have to get a magnifying glass, the article reads:
DEATH FROM SNAKEBITE.
DEMONSTRATION ENDS FATALLY.
CALCUTTA, 28th February.
Dr. Frederick Fox, an Australian, while giving a demonstration at the Zoo with a snakebite cure, was accidentally bitten, and died. Dr. Fox had just finished treating a snakebitten goat and had saved its life. He was leaning on a box containing a number of snakes when a krait (an extremely venomous snake of the cobra type) escaped and inflicted five punctures in his wrist.
Dr. Fox, who had often submitted to snakebites to demonstrate the efficacy of his cure, smilingly incised four punctures.
The fifth escaped his notice. He had lunch and transacted various matters of business. Later in the day symptoms developed and a tiny puncture was discovered, but it was too late, as the antidote was only operative when applied immediately. Dr. Fox died at 8 o’clock in the evening. He had a considerable reputation in India. His experiments at Calcutta Zoo were eminently successful.
I was very surprised when I found this photo. The article was from 1914 and I have found that newspaper photos from that era are generally of men posing stiffly for the photographer. Rarely (apart from wartime photos) are they posed naturally or pictured without a hat and jacket. This picture is so natural, with his tousled blonde hair and pushed-up sleeves he could step out of that photo and walk down the street today and nobody would give him a second glance would they?
*I was interested to hear reported on the news that the largest Chinese New Year celebration in the world outside of China is in Sydney, Australia.