Psychological Torture for Fun & Profit!

Posted: 1st November 2011 by affehaus in book, cultural, things I need

The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions is a bit of a misleading title; the subject matter of this historical (hysterical?) reference concerns itself with the pranks that fraternal lodges would perpetrate upon prospective members (but the implements and paraphernalia used are, to be sure, peculiar).

“At the beginning of the twentieth century, 40 percent of American men belonged to a lodge, and they were hazing their newbies with cigar- smoking camels, spankers, and even fake guillotines. Nearly all their prank devices came from the same place: catalogs published by the DeMoulin Brothers Company from 1896 to 1930.
Julia Suits discovered one of these all-but-forgotten catalogs at a flea market. Its pages were full of bizarre hazing props: old-fashioned telephones that squirted water, bucking goats attached to tricycles, Victorian- looking furniture that sent electric shocks. These prank machines are the relics of mischief and daredevilry, produced for the country’s original fraternity- hazing culture, and created by America’s original high-tech geeks of the electric age.”

It’s amazing (alarming) the sorts of things people chose to amuse themselves with before ‘teh interwebs’.

via Boing Boing

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