Cannabis Time Capsule, 1913: Pulp fiction meets hash fables

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Ever wonder what fictional American millionaire playboys did for kicks 100 years ago (aside from Gatsby)? Us neither. But cannabis is a funny thing, and once again our digging has dusted off a gem of marijuana writing from Colorado's past about American millionaire Paul Lane and his romantic adventures from the Wet Mountain Tribune.

On tap for Halloween night, 1913? Another wild tale of Paul Lane, this time in far away Delhi for "The Misplaced Dream."

An excerpt reads: "Paul Lane stood on the heights above Delhi, looking down upon a city of tents. The ancient capital of the Moguls stretched away beneath him, mile after mile of mean and squalid buildings, relieved here and there by the splendid orb of temple or marble minaret."

Sounds awesome, right? Mysterious. Clearly this is the dude that men wanted to be and women wanted to be with (or easily the other way around; we aren't judgy here at Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule).

Only it's not.

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It may have been a good story at the time, but frankly, this piece of uber-pulpy pulp fiction has so many unanswered story lines and characters that we assume it only makes sense to regular readers of the column. But still, it contains this amazing passage whereby an Indian mystic tells Paul Lane about a plan to use hashish to murder the king and establish the Jam as the ruler of India:

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"Drugged!" exclaimed Paul Lane. "But ahow can a drugged man play so important a part?"

"You have heard of hashish?" asked Ramchundra Sing.

"Assuredly."

"It is a very mysterious drug, especially when blended with certain other narcotics, the knowledge of which is confined to some of the Indian practitioners. For half an hour after swallowing it, one feels no effects at all (Editor's note: like Dr. J's edibles?); after that, when given in certain quantities and combinations, it possesses the peculiar property of destroying the perception of time. For instance, to the man under hashish, a thousand years may pass or seem to pass in a moment, conversely also. This is by the way. The most important effect of the drugs which the astrologer is to administer is that one under their effects is able to go about his business apparently in full possession of his senses. Actually, his is an automation. He is like one hypnotized' he obeys all orders unquestioningly. For the inhibition of the process of ratiocination leaves the mind in a state to carry out the one idea which has been been placed in it. You understand me? Good! Well, then his highness the Jam when under the influence of this drug , will be told exactly what he is to do and will set about to do it. He will conquer an empire in a dream and awake to find himself an emperor."

The text was accompanied by this amazing drawing of a stoned-looking Paul Lane with a pot of hash-laced coffee and a hookah in front of him. That's really the best part of this piece, as the story itself seems to fall apart, with the reader finally learning that it was all a weird dream inside Paul Lane's hazy mind. Very Twilight Zone-esque, but nowhere near as creepy.

In all, the story doesn't treat cannabis as a scourge of the lower class like a lot of actual news stories from this era tend to do. But it does seem to play into the cannabis mystic and fear of the East, especially when it's being used to topple a democratic government.

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Side note: the author, H.M. Egbert is actually Victor Rousseau Emanuel, a small-time writer probably best known for pulp fiction and early science fiction writing before the latter was really a genre all its own.

Check out more Colorado cannabis history told through the pages of newspapers from around the state at our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule blog.

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15 comments
RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

That's "mystique", not "mystic".

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay @RobertChase  

pfft!

mystic |ˈmistik| nouna person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.adjectiveanother term for mystical.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

I'm not going to waste my time digging through your bullshit from the past, but be careful what you ask for.

You could start with failure to properly end a sentence in the post to which I'm responding, though.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  "By the way, Donk, I could troll every mistake you make (and don't think there haven't been many)"


Prove it.


[ cue crickets chirping ]

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase "my grammar, while not perfect, is better than most other writer's"


True that, thus proving that you are the anomalous outlier to the general reality that 


Stoners + Grammar = Epic Fail!

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@RobertChase @DonkeyHotay  That's just his fear and hatred talking. 

By the way, Donk, I could troll every mistake you make (and don't think there haven't been many) but my time is worth more than the satisfaction of insulting you. Since I don't lack self esteem, I don't need to raise myself up by perpetually trying to knock others down.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

Ah. The source of confusion was this:

"But still, it contains this amazing passage whereby an Indian mystic tells Paul Lane about a plan to use hashish to murder the king and establish the Jam as the ruler of India:"

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay You keep writing that, but I enjoy cannabis, and my grammar, while not perfect, is better than most other writer's, (irrespective of whether their preferences in euphoriants can be discerned).

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident"pfft!"?  Read your definition again; it makes no sense to write "... it does seem to play into the cannabis mystic [sic] and fear of the East ...".  The word William meant was "mystique".  Since you did not bother to look it up after it should have been clear that "mystic" made no sense in context and I supplied it, here is its definition:


mystique

noun

1  A fascinating aura of mystery, awe, and power surrounding someone or something: 'the West is lately rethinking its cowboy mystique', 'the tiger has a mystique that man has always respected and revered'

(Oxford Dictionaries Online)

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  


"But it does seem to play into the cannabis mystic [sic] and fear of the East, especially when it's being used to topple a democratic government."


Your cognitive abilities continue to diminish the more you bake your brain with pot.


hth.

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