Quote Originally Posted by HappyThoth View Post
The existence of the DeMoulin Bros. highlights a very interesting period of history with regard to American fraternal organizations and interesting parallels with the later development of college Fraternal Societies in America. I have a friend who is a current member of the Odd Fellows and he has told me about their various contraptions that are still around, such as many produced by DeMoulin Bros. I was always intrigued about how he told me that in the Odd Fellows there is often a component of "trickery" or playing pranks on new members. They have contraptions (link to their 1930 catalog) like a bucking goat and other things, such as devices that were meant to trick a person by shocking them with electricity. It is quite interesting then to consider the pranks and hazing that often occurs in modern Frat houses.

The Odd Fellows are definitely a Masonic-type of organization (even though the claim that there have been historically independent from different origins, there are many features that are common or easily equatable), and it has been often stated that Freemasonry influenced the Fraternal Societies at colleges, particularly in the late 1800s.

I think the idea behind these machines and contraptions that were meant to scare or shock the candidate were somehow, in my friends words, related to teaching moral lessons about the state of mortality. It is like trying to "shock" out the master such as in the "raising of the master" ceremony.