Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/791
HALLOWEEN entertainments where young people of both sexes participate are usually characterized by merrymaking in which witches of a more or less friendly type are the principal feature; but where none but brave scouts of the genus homo are present, as at a club or a boys' school, the horrors may be as real as they can be made. The "Chamber of Horrors" described here was fitted up by boy students last October 31, and the thrills and shivers which the participants in the fun received are not yet forgotten. The materials used were borrowed from the school laboratory or from the students' homes. The experiences began at the very entrance doorway.
Beside the arch outside the entrance, which was draped with black crepe and surmounted by a sign reading, "The Cave of Death; All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here," stood a witch in skeleton mask and long black robes, who barred the way with a long dry bone, questioned each applicant as to his strength of nerve, and in serious tones made each assert that he entered the cave at his own risk and peril. Two raps from within the closed door signified that the victim had permission to enter. In the arch under which the victim passed hung a human skull and cross-bones, suspended by fine wires. Those who were curious to touch or handle them, received a moderately severe shock.
As the victim placed his hand on the knob to open the door, he received another shock and was commanded in hoarse whispers to close the door behind him. The room which he now entered
��was absolutely dark, except for phos- phorescent hands here and there, and a phosphorescent skull near him. Before he had time to see them distinctly, some- thing cold and flabby struck him in the face. A pair of the gleaming hands picked up the phosphorescent skull, and a voice whispered, "Take this baby's skull in your hands. Press it to your lips. There are maggots crawling on it — a-a-a-a-h." After actually experiencing the revolt- ing sensation of maggots crawling over his lips the victim was allowed to proceed. He was struck again in the face by something cold and flabby. A blinding light flashed in his eyes with a report like that of a pistol. "Look!" said a hoarse voice. Before him he saw an irregular-shaped greenish light, shin- ing down upon some white object stretched upon a table. "A corpse," said the voice. One of the phosphorescent hands took his own and placed it on that of the corpse, which was cold and clammy, and also on the foot, which gave the same chilly thrill. From the dead man's side, a jack-in-the-box jumped in the victim's face. The flickering light died and the whispered voice commanded; "Proceed!" He passed between two phosphorescent snakes, crawling on tables. A door- knob glowed nearby with a phosphor- escent light. I<"rom just above the knob, with a loud and continuous crackle, a 6-in. spark commenced leaping to a point by the side of the door. As soon as he started toward the door, this spark, which would really have been dangerous to receive, ceased, and when he went out of the door, he received the same comparatively mild shock he had