The Assassins’ Remarkable Recruitment Methods
The Assassins adopted one of the most innovative recruitment strategies known to history, by convincing recruits that their leader, the Sheik known as The Old Man of the Mountain, held the keys to paradise. Potential recruits would be summoned to an Assassin fortress, and there they would be housed in bare cells, and attend daily religious lectures and education, during which it would gradually be hinted that Sheik Hassan al Sabah or his successors held the keys to paradise. Then, one day the more promising of the young men would be drugged and plied with hashish, earning the group the Arabic name “Hashashin“ – a word that was rendered into “Assassins” by various Europeans.
When the recruit came to, high on hashish, he awoke to find himself amidst carefully landscaped orchard gardens through which clear streams meandered between rows of vines heavy with grapes, and trees ripe with fruit. Cute animals such as lambs and tame deer frolicked about; peacocks wandered around, ruffling and spreading their gorgeous tails; while brightly colored birds flitted through the branches above, trilling and filling the air with their song. And amid the breathtaking surroundings were breathtakingly beautiful women to seduce the recruit, cater to his physical desires, and satisfy his sexual whims.
Plying the youth with wine, keeping him high on hash, and feeding him mouth-watering delicacies that most recruits never knew existed let alone tasted, the temptresses would convince the besotted young man that he was in paradise and that his seductresses were the houris promised those who made it into heaven. Then, after days of wallowing in delights and indulging in heavenly pleasures, the young man would be drugged senseless once more, and removed from the gardens.
He would wake to find himself back in his bare cell and austere surroundings, and informed that he had been in paradise, sent there by the grace of the Old Man of the Mountain, who held the keys to heaven. The recruit would then be told that he could return to paradise, provided he died while killing the Sheik’s enemies. It proved highly effective: suicide squads of horny young fanatics, high on hash and desperate to die while killing the cult’s enemies, descended from the Assassins’ mountain holdfasts to terrorize the Middle East.