Human Centipede


The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions” by Julia Suits

“It was actually listed as ‘The Human Centipede or Night Mare’ in the DeMoulin Bros 1928 catalog. This is amazing footage of early 20th century fraternal lodge initiation electric shock device used for hazing rituals, which were mild by today’s standards. This beastly device was probably constructed of canvas, filled with excelsior, and wired for mild electric shock. It was fitted with harnesses for four men to ride. The beast was controlled by the man in front. Whenever he wanted to turn on the ‘juice’ he did so, to the surprise and displeasure of the the riders. The members of the lodge who were looking on knew all too well what kind pain they were feeling and where they were feeling it!”


“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.

The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions offers a peek into twentieth-century American culture that most people have never seen. At its core are hundreds of the most inventive DeMoulin prank machines, complete with their original, quirky descriptions and eccentric line art. Alongside the catalog pages are newspaper clippings, lodge trivia, quotes, and stories.”