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View Full Version : Do (or Did) Some Fraternities Initiate Pledges by Paddling Them?


HeyHomie
03-21-2002, 08:53 AM
Watching National Lampoon's Animal House on DVD last night raises the question in the title.

I know that most forms of "hazing" are illegal these days. I also know that when I rushed Sigma Nu in college I saw a paddle hanging from the wall, but the senior brothers assured me that initiation merely consisted of a few embarassing tasks (such as serenading the tri-sigs) and involved no corporal punishment. However, the mere presence of the paddle signifies, at the very least, a tradition of paddling, or at least a tradition of the threat or rumor of a paddling.

So what's the scoop?

TIA

Gary T
03-21-2002, 09:24 AM
Yes, some organizations paddled pledges. To add insult to injury, pledges had to make the paddle themselves.

RealityChuck
03-21-2002, 09:30 AM
Fraternity hazing ranged from the trivial (counting the spikes on the fence the surrounded the campus; reciting the Greek alphabet before a lit match burnt your finger*) to useful (painting the fraternity house) to cruel (paddling) to psychotic. Most colleges still allow the trivial and useful forms of hazing but will kick a fraternity out if they do anything that might cause harm to the pledges.

*A friend of mine did pretty well until he looked at the match and said "pi rho," where he lost it.

zwaldd
03-21-2002, 10:58 AM
I pledged a frat in 1987, and on the final night of pledging, during "hell week", we each got one painful paddle swat. I'd be lying if I said that was the worst thing that happened that night, though. My frat (among others) has since been kicked off campus for various violations. If things are now the way they were then, then most hazing is done in secret, not talked about, and results in probation and charter removal when discovered. And if you ask the brothers about hazing during rush, they have no qualms about lying to you. Maybe this has changed. Any recent pledges out there know?

THespos
03-21-2002, 11:54 AM
I pledged a fraternity in 1990. There were always rumors about one fraternity or another paddling their pledges, but I never believed those rumors. Certainly, it never happened in my fraternity during my pledgeship, nor did it happen once I was an active brother.

Paddles were largely symbolic, and my sophomore year, we asked the incoming pledge class to make decorative paddles for their fraternity big brothers. My little brother botched the project, claiming he didn't know where he might acquire a paddle to decorate in the first place. Believe it or not, paddles were available for purchase at the University Bookstore.

My dad still has the paddle his pledge class made for him. It's hanging on the wall in my basement. It's a nice decorative wall trophy and I know a lot of people who have them. Sort of a reminder of how insane college fraternity life is.

I seriously doubt that paddling goes on much in this day and age. The Greek system has changed so much over the past couple decades - National organizations have brought in risk management experts to help them crack down on some of the riskier behaviors within fraternity chapters (hazing, drinking, drugs, etc.). In fact, during my senior year, another fraternity played a prank on us by calling our national organization and reporting a hazing incident. The National fraternity took it very seriously - we thought they were going to launch an investigation, but the prankster had given a false name for the supposedly-hazed pledge. Once we were able to demonstrate that not only did we not have a pledge by that name, but that the University didn't have a student by that name, the national fraternity dropped the matter.

These days, hazing is taken very seriously. Most national fraternities represent large organizations hundreds of chapters strong. With each active paying monthly dues and alumni pledging support to various academic and fraternity house-building funds managed by the national organization, you can imagine that there's a pretty substantial amount of cash for someone to go after with a lawsuit. All national fraternities have policies against hazing and even a minor incident can result in the national organization yanking a chapter's charter, which is like a death sentence for the chapter. (Once you're in a national Greek organization recognized by the International Interfraternity Council, you may not pledge or join another due to an IFC rule that prohibits Interfraternity member- or chapter-poaching. A national fraternity that loses its charter usually has two choices - "go local" or disband.)

Green Bean
03-21-2002, 01:29 PM
When I was in school (early 1990s), paddling was still going on in some frats. Yes I saw photo evidence. But I don't think the paddling was especially brutal--seemed more like a ritualistic/humiliation thing. AFAIK, each person's big brother gave him one thwack, with extra credit being given for thwacking style.

THespos is right on the money as far as national crackdowns on hazing and a real interest in risk management. In fact, my sorority so strictly forbade "hazing" that we were not even allowed to make the pledges answer the phone. :rolleyes:

THespos
03-21-2002, 04:56 PM
<hijack>

Some of the cooler hazing things that actives did to pledges during "Hell Week" on my campus... (Not necessarily my particular fraternity)


Pledges were forced to carry cardboard boxes with them all over campus. Whenever an active yelled "Air Raid," pledges had to unfold the boxes and dive under them. Bonus points were awarded for pledges who pulled "civilians" in with them.
During winter, pledges were forced to pull "sleds" (an active brother on a truck tire inner tube) around the snow-covered running track as fast as possible. The "<insert name of frat here> Pledge/Active Iditarod" was an annual event.
Pledges were forced to carry bricks for an entire week. If someone managed to steal a pledge's brick, it was replaced with something heavier. By the end of Hell Week, one pledge was seen carrying a very ancient and very heavy Smith-Corona manual typewriter everywhere he went.
"By the grace of God and the ingenuity of Alexander Graham Bell, you have reached the shelter of the <x> chapter of <insert frat name here>. This is pledge Smedley. How may I assist you this [morning/evening]?" - The script recited by the pledge closest to the phone, every time we called their frat house.
Some pledges on campus were spotted with beards only on the right side of their face. They were instructed to wash and shave only one side of their face during Hell Week.
"Pledge! Run to the convenience store and get me a gumball!" "Yes, sir!" (20 minutes later) "Pledge! Wrong color gumball! Go get me another!" "Yes, sir!" (20 minutes later) "Pledge, you forgot to get a gumball for Brother Jason. Move it." (Continue ad nauseum)


Personally, my hazing never got too out of hand. Some of my lazier brethren looked at pledges as "remote control everything" and had them running all over campus and town. If anyone could blame me for anything, I think the cruelest thing I could be accused of was making up silly names for people. One of my pledges, a guy named Brent, still has people calling him "Chumley" after the walrus from the Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons because I dropped that nickname on him during college. Poor guy.

</hijack>

WarmNPrickly
03-21-2002, 11:24 PM
I am not allowed to discuss what went on at my fraternity initiation, but I will say that you should read what Green Been has to say.:cool:
Is it hazing when the actives get whacked too? I mean, if we did that sort of thing, which youl never know, cuz I can't tell you.

richardb
03-22-2002, 04:40 AM
I went to a large state university with a large and strong Fraternity tradition, and in 1975-76 joined one of the three "jewish" fraternities on campus (not everyone in the frat was jewish, but many were). My impression was that on the hazing scale, we were probably on the wimpy side compared to all the other frats. I don't think that most people in our frat would have tolerated that sort of thing too much, but that's part of why I really liked the people in the frat (many were like me!). So my experiences were probablty not the norm for most frats (and I don't have any firsthand knowledge of any other frats).

Each pledge was assigned a Big Brother, and as part of the Initiation ceremony, the little brother would present his big brother with a personalized "paddle". Making the paddle for his big brother was one of the requirements for being initiated into the frat. Most pledges would make very fancy and decorative paddles highlighting some personal aspect of the big brother. I still have both the paddles from my two little brothers all these years later. The "tradition" was that as the paddle was presented, the Big Brother would give the little brother a "smack" on the rear with the paddle.

I do not consider this hazing, however. For one thing, this happened after the pledge had been initiated (although very shortly after, at the celebration dinner). Second, this was always optional, regardless of how it was presented. For the most part the big brother/little brother were good friends and in sync, so if this was something the little brother was not comfortable with, the big brother would give just a light tap, to satisfy the tradition. Others saw it as a display of their manhood, and would get the hardest blow the big brother could muster. In fact, they rarely used their actual paddle, for fear the work of art would break, and would use a plain standby paddle instead. But because I think no one ever really got hit that didn't "agree" to it, I don't think this would qualify as hazing.

We were never required to do any of that "stupid" stuff like answering phones with a silly speech (although the pledges did have to answer the house phone when it rang), or carry objects around campus or wear silly clothes around campus. The things we had to do were in the category that RealityChuck describes as "useful" or educational.

The closest thing to hazing (that some other frats would accuse us of) were really more peer pressure than forced upon the pledges. In this way I think the frat was very clever (perhaps as a result of the many pre-law and law students and lawyer alumni) in that the things that could maybe be considered hazing were never forced upon the pledges as a condition of membership, but rather were "suggested" in such a way that the unity of the pledge class was questioned in certain situations and there was always some hotshot macho pledge who could be counted on to show off, as it were, and the rest of the pledge class would "voluntarily" follow in the effort to show the pledge class was unified. I am being a little oblique in an effort not to reveal any "frat secrets," but what happened to me and my pledge class that at the time I totally thought was unforced and spontanious I saw repeated year after year to the other pledge classes, and I see a clever psychological manipulation to get the pledge class to "haze themselves" as it were. Still, no one was forced to do anything; and the incident I'm purposely not describing I still would think was tame compared to most other frats.

Of course, this was 25 years ago, before the flood of lawsuits and campus intolerance has changed the face of student life at all universities, but there's my experiences for you.

11811
03-22-2002, 07:51 AM
Originally posted by THespos

"By the grace of God and the ingenuity of Alexander Graham Bell, you have reached the shelter of the <x> chapter of <insert frat name here>. This is pledge Smedley. How may I assist you this [morning/evening]?" - The script recited by the pledge closest to the phone, every time we called their frat house.



Our version was
"By the grace of God and the ingenuity of Alexander Graham Bell, you have reached the <x> chapter of <insert frat name here>. Which highly exalter brother or lowly pledge would you like to speak to?

We got paddled. How many swats you took was at the discretion of your pledge father and whoever else took swats. Rumor was that one of the actives injured a pledge the year before my hell night.

I deactivated my sophomore year. I got shunned. This was a small college, so it actually meant something. I took great joy in showing the secret handshake to anyone who wanted to know.

China Guy
03-22-2002, 09:14 AM
How about some straight dope and ignorance fighting instead of I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

Cliffy
03-22-2002, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by China Guy
How about some straight dope and ignorance fighting instead of I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

The truth? I've given an oath of secrecy and I will not break it. If I told you, I would have to kill you. So I won't tell you.

--Cliffy

KarlGrenze
03-22-2002, 10:07 AM
My father was paddled. It was decades ago(1960s), it was the end of the initiation, and the fraternity style was different (it was not a fraternity for college students, but one for adults...like a club). He still has his paddle, and his comments are that it did not hurt, and almost no one hitted hard. Those who did were criticized by the other members. I do not know if they continue to paddle pledges.

corbel
04-16-2014, 02:45 PM
When I was in a fraternity in the 1980s paddling pledges as part of an initiation was strictly prohibited, but (whether technically allowed or not) mutual-consent paddling was very common, and I myself took part frequently. Some of it had to do with betting...sporting events on T.V., higher grade on an exam, et al., winner swatted loser. Some guys liked trading swats, and even for those who did not tend to initiate that, if one was challenged to trade swats, it was considered wimpy to refuse. A group of us also regularly played what we called "paddleball," volleyball with the losers of each match paddled, and it had very specific rules: for each round teams were chosen randomly using colored marbles with a special color for each team captain and one for "odd man out" if there was an odd number playing. Before the round even began the "odd man out" got a non-participation penalty swat from each team captain. Then at the end of the round the winning team captain gave each losing-team member one swat and the losing captain two swats. I'm fairly certain that there was not a week that went by as a frat. active that I didn't both paddle someone and bend over to take one or more swats on my own butt. It was a lot of fun at the time, and I have to admit to not infrequently being the initiator of a swat trade with another active.

Green Bean
04-16-2014, 04:47 PM
Holy homoerotic post, Batman!

Always fun to see something you had written in a zombie thread that you had forgotten about completely. If you had asked me today if paddling went on in my college's fraternities, I would have said "I have no idea."

slowlearner
04-16-2014, 08:02 PM
My Dad went to the old College of Mines in El Paso after WW2. The final hazing was down in a mine shaft, he said they wanted the pledges to crawl on hands and knees between the legs of the Frat members who each wielded a paddle. He said the hell with it and left. I like the hazing in Tales of The Adelphian Lodge when the bros put a frozen hotdog up a guys keister until it thaws, which Pinto thinks is pretty funny until they tell him his part of the initiation is he has to eat it...

drewtwo99
04-16-2014, 08:51 PM
One of my best friends was paddled during his pledge hazing event, and showed me the pictures. He was very badly bruised. This was just a year or two ago.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-17-2014, 12:37 AM
I understand derogatory names for pledges are pretty common. During my dad's time pledging Beta Theta Pi in the early 1940s it was "worm", as in "Get up, you worm!" Of course we were little kids when he told us this, so it's possible he embellished it for humorous effect.

In my own fraternity pledges were "crones", and I have no idea where that came from. The fact is, however, that the use of that term or any other allusion to the pledge-active relationship was never done maliciously; it was more in a spirit of joshing the newcomers, and we did likewise with the next pledge class.

PAmarine
03-22-2017, 11:23 PM
I joined a wild jock fraternity in 1965 at a famous state university in PA. Paddling was very much a part of initiation ordeals (9 weeks). The Brothers would strip us naked before paddling to see if our asses were red. If a pledge didn't have a red ass, he was sure to get a hard paddling. There was a competition among the pledges to see who could keep silent the longest, although we had to call out the Count in 'a loud and clear' voice. When I became a Brother, you can be sure that I kept those pledge asses really red! Paddling still exists in some fraternities, but it's done very secretly.

GiantRat
03-22-2017, 11:35 PM
I'm so glad to just be a Freemason - we're actually nice to each other.

skdo23
03-22-2017, 11:44 PM
My parents both belonged to houses in the mid 1960s and you can't walk more than a few feet in their attic without tripping over a paddle with Greek letters on it. My understanding is that their assigned pledges made the paddles.

skdo23
03-22-2017, 11:51 PM
I'm so glad to just be a Freemason - we're actually nice to each other.

Agreed.

Evan Drake
03-23-2017, 07:10 AM
Only now they've stopped cutting one's throat cut across, tearing out the tongue, and burying the body in the sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours.

CalMeacham
03-23-2017, 07:40 AM
If fraternities didn't paddle their pledges, then all those Fraternity paddles are pretty pointless.

https://bing.com/images/search?q=fraternity+paddles&FORM=HDRSC2
http://ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-25836694157624/sigma-phi-epsilon-custom-fraternity-paddle-2.gif
http://greeku.com/media/catalog/product/cache/4/image/500x667/05389aa0de0bdc8f57b3f8f06dd961b3/c/1/c100-paddle.jpg



Nobody ever claimed that they had any other purpose, like for playing fraternity intramural cricket or swatting big fraternity horseflies.

Gyrate
03-23-2017, 08:49 AM
I went to "a famous state university in PA" in the 1980s, and we did indeed have to make paddles which were signed on the back by the entire fraternity.

During the pledge period there was an event at the end of which pledges each got a token tap on the backside with their paddle. Each had to go into a separate room to receive their "paddling" - what actually happened (and I no longer give a crap about the secrecy of the matter) was that they were quietly told to scream loudly when they got tapped for the "benefit" of the pledges still waiting to go in, and a slapstick (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clapper_(musical_instrument)#Whip.2FSlapstick)was then used for full audio effect. Actually smacking someone hard enough to cause pain was considered massively dickish and antithetical to the whole concept of "brotherhood" we were trying to inculcate.

ETA: I was aware that other fraternities did really paddle their pledges, some quite hard, and there were rumors of far worse practices including branding (http://thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/22/beatings-branding-and-butter-torture-frat-hazing-sent-kid-to-the-i-c-u.html). But that was not what my fraternity did - hell, we didn't even blindfold the pledges during initiation. We just made "we trust you to keep your eyes closed and you trust us to guide you" a point of honor.

BwanaBob
03-23-2017, 08:49 AM
My older brother went through this circa 1972. He had to make a paddle for his big brother and got whacked with it. Also, they had a ritual where you were going to be "abducted" and dumped some place on a predetermined Friday night. You were to be penniless and have no ID. The clothes you were to wear had to be presented to the frat, who poured over them to make sure you had no money hidden anywhere within. My brother hid some money in his coat lining (which was found and kept by the frat). But he had emptied a cigarette, rolled up a $20 bill, put it in the hollowed cigarette, stuffed some tobacco into it, and put it back in the cigarette pack and resealed the cellophane wrap with glue to make it look unopened. It went unchallenged, so he had the $20 in reserve. But it turned out to be unnecessary as he and his fellow pledge were dumped in a town in upstate New York. Coincidentally the other pledge's grandparents lived in that town, so they got to sleep in a warm bed and have hot food. A loan for train fare got them home.

Now when my brother was the big brother, I helped him examine his pledge's clothes for hidden money. I found a dime (presumably for a phone call) hidden in his belt under the buckle. We replaced it with a penny and an IOU for 9c. His pledge (and another guy) were dumped at the lighthouse at Montauk Point (extreme eastern end of Long Island). It took them a while to make their way back.

Evan Drake
03-23-2017, 09:00 AM
If fraternities didn't paddle their pledges, then all those Fraternity paddles are pretty pointless.

https://bing.com/images/search?q=fraternity+paddles&FORM=HDRSC2
http://ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-25836694157624/sigma-phi-epsilon-custom-fraternity-paddle-2.gif
http://greeku.com/media/catalog/product/cache/4/image/500x667/05389aa0de0bdc8f57b3f8f06dd961b3/c/1/c100-paddle.jpg



Nobody ever claimed that they had any other purpose, like for playing fraternity intramural cricket or swatting big fraternity horseflies.


Makes one think of those old B/W films probably from the late '40s when some old rich guy lies on his deathbed, prolly a judge or business magnate, and relives the happiest moments of his long and storied life.

MrAtoz
03-23-2017, 09:10 AM
Nobody ever claimed that they had any other purpose, like for playing fraternity intramural cricket or swatting big fraternity horseflies.

Their purpose, in my time (I was in college in the late 1980s), was as a token of membership. Your pledge father gave you one (engraved with his name and yours, as shown in the pictures) during your pledgeship. We were never actually paddled with it, not even a light symbolic tap, nor did we have to make them ourselves. I don't deny that pledges were actually paddled at one time, or that some fraternities may still be doing it even today. But we never were, nor was there even an implicit threat that we might be. I still have mine.

Our hazing, such as it was, consisted mostly of cleaning the house, running errands for active members, answering the phone, etc. I remember that we always had to have change for a dollar on us, and any active member could ask us for change at any time. If we didn't have it, we could be "punished" (which just meant extra chores).

During "Help Week" (which is what we called it, rather than "Hell Week"), the pledge class did larger-scale maintenance work around the house, like repainting various rooms, shampooing the carpets, waxing the floors, and other big projects like that.

Really Not All That Bright
03-23-2017, 10:04 AM
If fraternities didn't paddle their pledges, then all those Fraternity paddles are pretty pointless.

https://bing.com/images/search?q=fraternity+paddles&FORM=HDRSC2
http://ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-25836694157624/sigma-phi-epsilon-custom-fraternity-paddle-2.gif
http://greeku.com/media/catalog/product/cache/4/image/500x667/05389aa0de0bdc8f57b3f8f06dd961b3/c/1/c100-paddle.jpg

Nobody ever claimed that they had any other purpose, like for playing fraternity intramural cricket or swatting big fraternity horseflies.
Did you ask anybody? They're basically display pieces. I never paddled anyone, or received a paddling, nor did I ever actually think it was a thing. The closest we got was jokes from the active members before initiation. The tradition at our fraternity was that on initiation day (the end of the pledge period) each "big brother" (sponsors/mentors responsible for getting their little brothers through the pledge period) would give their little brothers their first fraternity jersey (https://google.com/search?q=fraternity+jersey&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlmOi84uzSAhXD6YMKHc_KCI4Q_AUICSgC&biw=1600&bih=775), and the little brothers would present their big brothers with a paddle.

I have four paddles sitting in the garage somewhere. They're not functional; most are made from pre-cut boards with beveled edges that make them uncomfortable to hold, and pre-cut letters and images are glued on. Hell, one of mine has a shotglass holder on it, and another is four feet long and would need two hands to "operate it."

The professionally etched and printed ones like the one in your third link are a relatively new thing. They weren't available when I was pledging/active in the 90s/2000s.

CalMeacham
03-23-2017, 10:27 AM
Did you ask anybody? They're basically display pieces. I never paddled anyone, or received a paddling, nor did I ever actually think it was a thing. The closest we got was jokes from the active members before initiation. The tradition at our fraternity was that on initiation day (the end of the pledge period) each "big brother" (sponsors/mentors responsible for getting their little brothers through the pledge period) would give their little brothers their first fraternity jersey (https://google.com/search?q=fraternity+jersey&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlmOi84uzSAhXD6YMKHc_KCI4Q_AUICSgC&biw=1600&bih=775), and the little brothers would present their big brothers with a paddle.

I have four paddles sitting in the garage somewhere. They're not functional; most are made from pre-cut boards with beveled edges that make them uncomfortable to hold, and pre-cut letters and images are glued on. Hell, one of mine has a shotglass holder on it, and another is four feet long and would need two hands to "operate it."

The professionally etched and printed ones like the one in your third link are a relatively new thing. They weren't available when I was pledging/active in the 90s/2000s.

Whether or not they were used in the recent past, their very existence strongly implies that they were used at one point. again, if they hadn't been, what would be the point?

That later generations didn't use them, and kept them around as mascots and totems (as is your experience) is understandable, but only if they were once seriously considered as practical items.

Really Not All That Bright
03-23-2017, 10:32 AM
That later generations didn't use them, and kept them around as mascots and totems (as is your experience) is understandable, but only if they were once seriously considered as practical items.
Perhaps. But there are plenty of symbolic objects that have always been symbolic. The Black Rod's mace has never been functional. It's just a token of office.

CalMeacham
03-23-2017, 10:40 AM
Perhaps. But there are plenty of symbolic objects that have always been symbolic. The Black Rod's mace has never been functional. It's just a token of office.

So you're sure that no keeper of order in a governing body has ever had to use an actual weapon to enforce order? I'm not.

skdo23
03-23-2017, 11:42 AM
Only now they've stopped cutting one's throat cut across, tearing out the tongue, and burying the body in the sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours.

To be fair, that wasn't part of the initiation process.:)

Pantastic
03-23-2017, 12:33 PM
Holy homoerotic post, Batman!

It always amazed me that frat boys are supposed to be the straightest of the straight guys but traditional frat initiations are blatantly homoerotic S&M ceremonies.

Evan Drake
03-23-2017, 12:56 PM
Meh, it's just traditional Americana --- I doubt if they paddled each other in 17th century Salamanca * or 19th century Oxford or even in 20th century Mexican unis ---- and America has always had a massive homosexual component in it's culture and thinking, far more sympatico and understanding than the rest of the world. Something I attribute to America's insanely masculinist nature.




* Except for religious reasons, to please God.


( It, the university, was founded in the 12th century. It had much to do with the New World. )

md2000
03-23-2017, 01:12 PM
Meh, it's just traditional Americana --- I doubt if they paddled each other in 17th century Salamanca * or 19th century Oxford or even in 20th century Mexican unis ---- and America has always had a massive homosexual component in it's culture and thinking, far more sympatico and understanding than the rest of the world. Something I attribute to America's insanely masculinist nature.

* Except for religious reasons, to please God.

( It, the university, was founded in the 12th century. It had much to do with the New World. )

Well, how about North American football, originally a traditional university sport. Any other sports require one player to jam his hands in the other player's buttocks?

alphaboi867
03-23-2017, 08:52 PM
I think wrestling wins hands down as the most homoerotic sport in existence. Especially the really old school Greco-Roman style. ;)

kunilou
03-23-2017, 09:07 PM
If you want a real (although maybe slightly overstated) look at fraternity hazing, get a copy of Chris Miller's book The Real Animal House (https://books.google.com/books?id=3UYWoBGn2aAC&pg=PT130&lpg=PT130&dq=night+of+the+seven+fires&source=bl&ots=hwtijfFUCU&sig=WdKE_1nZq2N-U7WjekORLL-WL7Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjU5tK8-O3SAhUC94MKHdqQAMwQ6AEIXjAO#v=onepage&q=night%20of%20the%20seven%20fires&f=false), which includes the stories that were the basis of the movie.

Daylate
03-23-2017, 09:55 PM
I pledged a fraternity (at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy) way back in 1948.

About two thirds of the pledge class were WWII veterans. No paddling at that frat, no sirree!

nearwildheaven
03-23-2017, 10:50 PM
I heard stories about frat brothers having to swallow live goldfish as part of the initiation ritual. Any truth to that? This would have been in the 1950s.

When I was a Target cashier in the early 1980s, we got a phone call from a sorority at a local college (OK, I'll say which college - Drake University in Des Moines) asking if we still sold belted maxipads. We did, and they came and bought all of ours, and told us what they were going to do with them. They were going to tie them together, wrap the girls up in them like a mummy, and then burn them in a big bonfire after they walked up and down the street in this getup. :o

A decade before that, when we were young children, we happened to drive through Greek Row and my brother, who was just learning to read, asked if we were in the Spanish part of town. :p

Really Not All That Bright
03-24-2017, 09:19 AM
I heard stories about frat brothers having to swallow live goldfish as part of the initiation ritual. Any truth to that? This would have been in the 1950s.
It's unlikely that it was part of an initiation ritual. Most initiation rituals are essentially Christian rites, though often with elements of Greek philosophy thrown in. Of course, it may have been part of a hazing ritual. Goldfish swallowing became something of a fad (http://mortaljourney.com/2011/01/1940-trends/goldfish-swallowing) on college campuses in the 1930s after a stunt at Harvard (though initially unrelated to any fraternity).

Really Not All That Bright
03-24-2017, 09:29 AM
Meh, it's just traditional Americana --- I doubt if they paddled each other in 17th century Salamanca * or 19th century Oxford or even in 20th century Mexican unis...
Can't speak for the others, but 19th century Oxford students were almost exclusively drawn from the same public schools where fagging (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagging) was de rigeur.

Cornelius Tuggerson
03-24-2017, 10:48 AM
How do you think I got the "Charter Member" label under my username? :)
I was never a pledge or a brother, but I have it on good authority that one of the hell week rites at my school was onion on a string. A pledge would have to wear a string with a really large onion on it around his neck. He could stop as soon as he ate the entire onion. Since supposedly pledges were not allowed to shower during hell week, it was important that they ate their onion quickly.

gigi
03-24-2017, 10:56 AM
They were going to tie them together, wrap the girls up in them like a mummy, and then burn them in a big bonfire

And I thought branding was bad. :eek:

PAmarine
03-28-2017, 01:10 PM
Gyrate in his submission mentions branding. We never did anything like that in our House, but there were rumors that the three black fraternities branded their pledges as a matter of course. In 1965, we were more imaginative than that. Our Pledgemaster returned from visiting a buddy in a Texas chapter really enthusiastic about cattle prods, which were in standard use at that time in many Texas fraternity initiation rituals. (they may still be today) Since our university was an agricultural institution, cattle prods were easily available. Believe me, there is nothing like zapping the most sensitive part of a pledge's anatomy to force him to do unspeakable things. But cattle prods are expensive; you have to keep getting new batteries to keep the power strong. I suppose they are illegal now, too.

Evan Drake
03-28-2017, 04:52 PM
Can't speak for the others, but 19th century Oxford students were almost exclusively drawn from the same public schools where fagging (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagging) was de rigeur.


Meh, there was a homoerotic aspect in some schools ( and curiously not in others --- seemed to depend on the personality of the headmaster, although one would think shoving a group of pubescent kids together without seeing the opposite sex would be buying trouble ) but fagging wasn't part of that. Mainly making toast ( more difficult back then, how many children today have used a metal toasting fork in front of a blazing grate ? ).


The most famous fag-master was Harry Flashman from Tom Brown's Schooldays and the eponymous books by George MacDonald Fraser, and he preferred holding a small fag in front of a blazing grate to loving him tender.

Gyrate
03-29-2017, 08:58 AM
Meh, there was a homoerotic aspect in some schools ( and curiously not in others --- seemed to depend on the personality of the headmaster, although one would think shoving a group of pubescent kids together without seeing the opposite sex would be buying trouble ) but fagging wasn't part of that. Mainly making toast ( more difficult back then, how many children today have used a metal toasting fork in front of a blazing grate ? ).


The most famous fag-master was Harry Flashman from Tom Brown's Schooldays and the eponymous books by George MacDonald Fraser, and he preferred holding a small fag in front of a blazing grate to loving him tender.

Don't forget that caning was a standard element of student discipline in British schools until not all that long ago, relatively speaking . Paddling would have been jolly japes by comparison.

Shagnasty
03-29-2017, 09:23 AM
Paddling still exists in some U.S. public schools although it generally isn't as bad as it sounds. My public schools had it in the 80's - early 90's. People gasp when I say that but you had an option - three licks (paddlings), three days suspension or three days of weekend or after school detention. Only an idiot would choose anything other than the paddling. It didn't hurt much and it was over almost as soon as it began. I would love to have the paddling option as an adult rather than listen to a boss, romantic partner or police officer drone on about something I couldn't care less about. Just smack me on the ass and shut up. It doesn't cause any damage. It is the easiest way out of any wrong-doing that I know of.

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