Snake Charmer

Jenny Heishman
April 14, 2011

A profession that practices hypnotizing a snake by playing an instrument. Though serpents have featured prominently in humankind’s religions for centuries, the earliest evidence for snake charming comes from Ancient Egyptian sources. Charmers in Egypt mainly acted as magicians and healers. However, part of their repertoire included entertainment; they knew how to handle the animals and became skilled at sleight of hand techniques. Despite appearances, the cobra is actually deaf to ambient noises and does not respond to the music being played but rather to the shape and movement of the flute.