Chinese Water Torture; NY Times

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 11 02:24:48 UTC 2000


     From the FINANCIAL TIMES, 8 December 2000, pg. 24, col. 1:

_Chinese water torture exposes company weaknesses_
Steady drip of technology profit warnings is not due solely to slowdown, says _Richard Waters_ (WATERS?--ed.)
   Like Chinese water torture, earnings warnings from technology companies have become a steady drip this autumn.

   The first citation I can find is Harry Houdini and his "Chinese Water Torture Cell."  However, this was NOT "the Chinese water torture."  Houdini was dropped into water and had to come out alive.  This "trick" dates from about 1903.
   There are several articles about Chinese torturers of soldiers during the Korean conflict, but I didn't see "Chinese water torture."
   OCLC WorldCat has "Chinese Water Torture" in THE RCA VICTOR JAZZ WORKSHOP (1956), a recording by Billy Byers.
   Next is CHILLING, THRILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1964), by the good folks at Disneyland(!).
   The book THE HISTORY OF TORTURE (1998) by Brian Innes lists "water torture" and also Chinese torturers, but not the "Chinese water torture."  Here are some parts:

Pg. 61--_Water torture_
Water is generally so readily available, and so easily handled, that torturers have used it in a wide variety of ways for many centuries.  The simplest of all is to force the victim to drink...

Pg. 63 (with engraving)--The water torture.  A piece of cloth was laid over the victim's mouth and nostrils.  A stream of water was poured on to it, forcing the cloth down into the prisoner's throat, so that he was unable to breathe.

Pg. 63--Hippolytus de Marsiliis, the sixteenth-century lawyer (see Chapter 3, pages 43-4)(LAWYER?--ed.), is credited with the invention of a particularly subtle form of water torture.  Having observed how drops of water falling one by one on a stone gradually wore away a hollow, he applied the method to the human body.
   Victims were strapped down so that they could not move, and cold water was then dripped slowly on to a small area of the body.  The forehead was found to be the most suitable point for this form of torture: prisoners could see each drop coming, and were gradually driven frantic.

Pg. 172--Although it was virtually discontinued in Algeria for some years, it is now common practice again.  A favoured method is _le chiffon_, very similar to the technique described by Eremundus Frisius (see Chapter 4, pages 62-63).  The victim is tied to a bench or suspended from a bar, a piece of cloth is packed into his mouth, and dirty water is poured on it.

(New topic.  No relation to torture should be implied--ed.)

   Wendalyn Nichols and Gareth Branwyn are both mentioned in an article titled "Technospeak," in the Week in Review section, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 10 December 2000, pg. 6.
   Also, in the Money & Business section, pg. 14, col. 3, "Taking a Baby to a Power Lunch," is:

   Thus was born the Baby Business Lunch--an opportunity for fathers to get together with their children during the workday, away from the scrutiny of mothers and baby sitters.

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