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Strange Powder of the Jou Jou Priests, Aztec Mummy
by [?]

Dr. Watson carefully opened the little antique silver box, which was about the size and shape of an ordinary watch, and showed that it contained a gray powder and a little gold measure resembling a miniature thimble. It was evidently very old, the cover being worn smooth in many places, nearly effacing the peculiar hieroglyphics with which it had once been engraved.

“I consider this,” he said, “my chef-d’oeuvre, my ‘star exhibit,’ as it were. The powder possesses such wonderful properties, and is so unlike any known drug, that I hesitate to describe its effects. That it is a powerful poison there can be no doubt, but when taken in small doses it is apparently harmless enough.”

“What is its history?” asked Dr. Farrington.

“I picked it up in London. Got it from Burridge, the explorer, who had just returned from a year’s trip in the interior of West Africa. He went into Benin City with the English when they cleaned out the town. Burridge says he took it from a dead Jou Jou priest, and he made me pay a pretty stiff price for it. It is a wonderful drug, entirely unknown outside of Africa. Burridge thinks it is made from the leaves of some plant; but its preparation is a secret of the priests of Jou Jou.

“Now, I propose that we each take a small quantity of the powder to-night, and then dine together to-morrow evening and compare notes. I may as well tell you now, it produces strange hallucinations. I tried it once myself, and my experience on that occasion was, to say the least, peculiar; therefore I am more than anxious to try it again, and compare notes with you afterwards, and I think I can promise you a new and novel experience.”

Farrington and Forster were perfectly willing to try the experiment which Watson hinted promised such interesting results, and it was agreed that each should take a dose of the powder before retiring, and meet together the next evening.

Promptly at the time appointed, the three men met in Watson’s study, and after cigars had been lighted Watson asked Farrington to be the first to relate his experience, whereupon the Doctor drew from his pocket several pages of closely written manuscript, and began as follows:



I was standing in a museum looking at a case of mummies. One of them was marked “Mummy of an Aztec, found in a Cliff Dwelling,” and it interested me very much. In size it was that of a small man, and was in a fine state of preservation, with the exception that the bones of the legs were exposed, and more or less disintegrated, in some places. The hands, even to the finger nails, were perfect, however, and there was a silver ring on the index finger. One hand grasped a large stone axe–the handle being modern. The right hand rested across the chest, clasping a necklace of silver wire.

“Interesting specimen, is it not?” said a voice at my side.

“Quite so,” I replied. “But I doubt if it is really an Aztec mummy.”

“What makes you think that?” asked the voice sharply.

“Because I don’t believe the Aztecs buried their dead in Cliff Dwellings. However, it is an interesting mummy, and in a wonderful state of preservation.”

I was so interested in examining the mummy that I had spoken without turning my head. Now, however, I looked up and saw a tall, gaunt figure of a man dressed in a suit of corduroy, and wearing a broad-brimmed hat, or sombrero, such as is generally worn on the Western plains.

“Well,” he remarked, “in my opinion, it is a pretty good mummy. I made it myself, and ought to know.”

“Excuse me, what did you say?” I asked, thinking I had not understood him aright.

“I said that was one of my mummies.”