From the guarded vaults of the Oom Palace far below Auburn Georgia, another bit of lost history concerning pipes arises: Snakes and English Blend Tobaccos 

While snakes may not immediately come to mind when considering a great English blend tobacco, it should. The history intertwining snakes and this fine stuff is a rich one that wraps each subject together tighter than a constrictor's pre-meal exercise. Having snakes as household free-roaming pets was at one time, not only accepted over much of Africa and the Middle East and some points Far East, it was expected. The snakes would keep the rats and mice away, and rats and mice were the thieves of people food. Snakes became well suited guardians of many meals far and wide. 

Those households that held snakes as pets were more likely to have at least one pipe smoker in the family. There was a belief widely held by those who housed snakes that their reptilian friends enjoyed the smoke from pipes and even (not unlike myself) had a preference to English blends. A little digging will tell us that curing English blends years ago (and occasionally in present day) meant burning the dung of camels or horses. Where there is camel or horse dung, there will likely be a host of other fine foods for snakes to dine on including birds, dogs and even small horses or camels. 

Those curing English blends are known to have a higher number of snakes hanging about their locale than any adjacent establishment. Indeed English blend curing sites were oft called "Snake House." Those looking for a new snake for their home and even snake charmers would journey to English tobacco curing sites in search of their next slithering companion. Snake charmers are known to smoke English blends more than any other blend during their routines. From the snake's point of view, the aroma might be similar to an intoxicating dinner bell of sorts, causing one to sway this way and that way not unlike the swagger seen in humans (of the US) on their way to the Thanksgiving feast table. Many of the snake charmers that I have been fortunate enough to meet end their routine by placing the snake in a woven basket where a snake feast awaits, which usually consists of three large rats, five mice and either water or beer.

—Olie Sylvester 
Baron, International Oom Paul Society of Non-Typicals

AuthorOlie Sylvester