Back in the day, fraternal organizations like the Freemasons and Woodmen of the World would haze new members in bizarre rituals using electric carpets and exploding furniture. Fantagraphics' upcoming book, Burlesque Paraphernalia, reprints a catalog of these sadistic inventions.
In Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes, editors Charles Schneider and Gary Groth resurrect DeMoulin Bros.' Catalog No. 439, a mail-order tome of electrical cages, creepy costumes, and other casual torture devices. DeMoulin marketed these gadgets to men's social clubs, who were all too happy to subject new recruits to shocking see-saws and detonating flower pots.
Here are some of DeMoulin's casual torture devices (it was a less litigious time, you see). You can read a preview of the book at Fantagraphics' website. Catalog No. 439: Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes will be released August 10, 2010.