This book could not have been written without input from dozens of men
and women who invented and played their own original fantasy games in
isolation ... before discovering that other people were playing exactly
the same nameless games. Independently, each had found his/her way to
the same mysterious ball-park.
By sharing with me stories of instincts which enabled them to arrive
'Where they are at', many people I met along on the journey helped me
to appreciate who I am and how to communicate my enthusiasm for what
I like ... without guilt or embarrassment. Thank you all. Enjoy what
Stewart, Seattle, December '95.
GREAT HOUDINI MYSTERY
Mystery surrounds the death and exploits of "HOUDINI". More
mysterious still, nearly seventy years after he died, the reputation
of this illusionist/showman is alive and well. The name HARRY HOUDINI
is guaranteed to spark interest in people from many different walks
of life ... a lot of people! Why is that? Even in these more sophisticated
times, an Escape Artist can still drum up a crowd. So, is there something
about the idea of a man being bound, restrained or physically challenged
that strikes a mysterious chord in the human psyche? Who knows? Who
What I do know is
that, quite a lot of grown men have admitted to me their childhood fascination
with HOUDINI and his exploits. Now, although grown up, some impulse
towards his imagery is still alive and kicking in one form or another.
I know this is true, because the first time I wrote a magazine article
about my childhood interest in HOUDINI, the feedback was amazing. When
I first turned my private hobby into a small business selling Houdini
memorabilia including a limited range of handcuffs ... the demand soon
turned "Fetters" into an internationally known manufacturer
of reproduction restraint equipment, all of it in full working order.
So, why are there so many collectors and Houdini-enthusiasts around
the world? The answer is not simple. Every personal story I hear is
just slightly different. This variety of seemingly unrelated interests
is what interests me now. That is what made the appeal of HOUDINI so
universal when he was alive, and the same broad and complex appeal is
what keeps his reputation alive today.
For me the conscious
attraction was challenge. The physical and psychological skills which
allowed HOUDINI to beat so many challenges were fun for me to explore
as a young teenager. I could never resist a challenge. While learning
these skills and experimenting, I met dozens of people who enthusiastically
rose to my challenge; people within my limited local area. These would-be
challengers put a lot of time, energy and creative thinking into trying
to nail me. Natural human instinct? Nothing sinister as far as I was
ever aware, but an interesting mix of social/psychological responses.
years later I am convinced that, in a surprising number of people, there's
a general instinctive fascination in seeing someone tied and trying
to escape. A good indication of this is the number of times the situation
crops up in TV and film dramas ... because it wouldn't happen so often
if it was generally unattractive. So, where does the root of the mystery
lie? There are many variables. Does watching a person struggle to escape
or fail to escape really trigger something primitive in some of us?
When watching someone being physically challenged do we wonder what
it would feel like to be tied or be doing the tying? Does the loss of
power, or willing surrender of power appeal to people whose everyday
lives offer no challenge?
Whatever keeps this
legend alive, I believe the mystery of the perennial fascination will
remain unsolved until more people relax and confront the issue if it
interests them in any conscious way. Of the many different sides to
the question, I know which part of the answer is inside me. Is part
of the answer within you? Whether your reply is "Yes" or "No"
... feel free to enjoy what you enjoy. (Jim
Stewart June '95)
SO I LIKE TO
GET TIED UP - - SO WHAT?!!
A hobby with a difference.
Houdini was my hero
when I was a kid. Games of Cops & Robbers, Cowboys & Indians
and war games were incomplete without some tying up. Win or lose, the
chase, capture and shifts of power were the name of the game for me.
I didn't grow out of it.
When other young
teenagers were battling it out on sports fields I preferred practising
my skills as an amateur Escape Artist. The combination of challenge,
physical endurance and exhilaration when emerging triumphant was stimulating.
My frustration when failing soon turned to determination to crack the
problem next time around ... and was equally stimulating. All healthy
exercise for a growing boy.
In family life the
game of staying-on-top was more psychological than physical, but it
was still control and counter-control. Negotiations were more on an
emotional level, but internal power struggles still ruled the day between
three brothers and parents who didn't always see eye-to-eye.
In the grown-up
world of career and business, "Power" manoeuvring is the norm,
so we're told; control or be controlled. The point scoring can be obvious
or subtle. I chose a career which gave me automatic authority. That
wasn't a conscious choice but, in retrospect, I see what attracted me
to it. Perhaps I sometimes abused my position of authority. Occasionally,
to my embarrassment I'd realise after the event, that I had subconsciously
chosen to lose a battle. Confusing!
During this early
adulthood my active interest in Houdini-type exploits continued, although
I felt I should be growing out of it. Together with a group of like-mined
odd-ball friends, regular sessions of escaping and trying to prevent
escape by others were long and very competitive; more strenuous than
any gym work-out ... and much more fun. The sweat and struggle, the
win-some / lose-some interaction retained its appeal.
The word "Kinky"
began to crop up, and therefore more socially acceptable ways of getting
the same "Kicks" were explored. A couple of years in the Air
Force brought welcome opportunities. In training and in barrack-room
horseplay my practised skills were occasionally useful. To carry such
interests over into sexual experimentation was strictly taboo because
"kinky" was disastrous to any reputation (maybe not so much
so today?) In the Fifties the slightest hint of unconventional sex-play
would inevitably result in powder-room gossip among the girls, which
would then travel like a forest fire through the main community.
Becoming a publicly recognised expert on Houdini was a convenient let-out.
Getting a few magazine articles published excused my continuing active
"experiments" plus a growing collection of handcuffs and stuff.
Because my interests also spread to Police & Prison History this
opened up even more socially acceptable avenues. Practising unarmed
combat and joining in mountaineering activities (including becoming
a member of a Mountain Rescue Team for a while) provided stimulating
opportunities:- lashed to a metal stretcher being lowered down a mountain
side in the pouring rain on training exercises you get time to think
about what is "Kinky" and what is pure masochism ... and if
you enjoy it, you begin to wonder where it might lead! But such weekend
and vacation activities were fulfilling ... a welcome alternative to
my sedentary, decision-making everyday life. Therapy takes many forms!
In my late twenties
I felt the need to justify to myself these 'unusual' preferences ...
but quickly realised that too much self-analysis can destroy instinctive
enjoyment. However, I did feel that a wider general knowledge of the
territory would give me a better perspective; allow me to experiment
more safely. If I was going to take risks they may as well be calculated
This process of
finding out more about different aspects of the still unfocussed "buzz"
I got from physical challenge and counter-challenge ... was a challenge
in itself. Sometimes it was very much a matter of trial and error. Not
always trusting my instincts took me on some confusing detours. Occasionally
I deliberately suppressed my interest for a while, suspicious of where
it might lead.
This taught me two
things which are relevant here: Repressing natural instincts doesn't
get rid of them; it's healthier to learn to recognise them for what
they really are, allowing you to channel them safely so they don't complicate
the rest of your life. Secondly, only by finding out about all possible
alternatives can you successfully choose what you most enjoy. Gaining
this knowledge allows selection and rejection of opportunities. Finding
out about potentially dangerous territory is a good precaution ... but,
on the other hand, being too cautious may mean missing an experience
... even if you suspect it might be one you will choose not to repeat.
My natural attraction to challenge occasionally took me to the edge,
but that in turn helped me to recognise my personal limits.
Also, learning to
enjoy what I enjoy has allowed me to keep it in perspective. Unfulfilled
fantasies too easily turn into obsessions. As with any recreational
activity which demands time and energy, it can take over your life.
In perspective it can be given space as part of an otherwise balanced
day-to-day existence. As the wonderful SALLY BARRETT puts it in her
book WE LOVE S&M, "My husband and I have been doing it for
25 years without disturbing the neighbours or corrupting our kids."
(see page 82 for details)
So here I am nearly
fifty years later. I still like to get tied up and try to escape. I
like to challenge other people to do the same. As my skills developed,
the exhilaration of a successful escape was confused by a disappointment
that I had succeeded. Games of control and counter-control demand ingenuity
and skill and often a degree of physical energy when a battle of wills
takes a physical form. These are essentially games of common consent.
Without mutual consent such games move into a different area and are
not what I'm discussing. Without consent, any form of physical restraint
becomes a criminal act. For the complicated double think of consensual
non-consent (when the right to opt out or set limits is signed away)
see details of the "PHYSICAL RESTRAINT ENDURANCE PROJECT on page
That's enough autobiographical
stuff for now. What follows will probably reveal more detail about my
personal preferences. There is a danger that by stressing my particular
likes and dislikes a broader perspective may be lost. The general intention
of this book is to identify as many different concepts and points of
view as possible, leaving you to decide for yourself what (if anything)
pertains to you. Inevitably, because of the wide range of personal preferences
discussed, you may not relate to (or even approve of) whole chunks of
the action described. Extracts from correspondence Awith people who
have highly individual points of view presents conflicting opinions
which may sometimes confuse you. It's a confusing, many sided subject.
Creative recreational alternatives
This book (so far)
may suggest to you an author intensely, heavily, perpetually involved
in a very weird and socially highly suspect activity ... whatever it
may be called. Let's get that problem out of the way first.
We are talking about
games not lifestyle ... recreation not a career ... private and confidential
activities not embarrassing exhibitionism.
games" as an adult recreational pastime may seem to be a bizarre
concept. The fact that someone (like me) could imagine it as a category
in the Olympic Games may seem ridiculous: Pentathlon, Triathlon and
Restrictive Practices. My realistic objective here is to explore elements
which combine to appeal, often in an unfocused way, to "... the
kid alive and kicking inside many grown men." The fact that you
picked up a book with this title and have read thus far would indicate,
at least, a healthy curiosity.
The declared intention
of this book was, from the beginning, to deal exclusively with the impulses
behind (and opportunities to enjoy) man-to-man games of physical control
and counter-control on a NON-SEXUAL LEVEL. This may already have alienated
some readers ... especially those who already know their way around
the sub/dom/het/gay/B&D/S&M "Scenes" (if you'll excuse
the jargon). Obviously I am not denying that certain categories of these
"Nameless Games" can be rampantly sexual. Unfortunately the
vocabulary used to discuss the subject in general remains imprecise.
The word "Bondage" is, to most non-players, inevitably associated
with Sado-Masochism. "S-un-M-un-Bondage" lumped together too
often conjures up a threatening subculture. Demystified it becomes identifiably
different groups of people with slightly differing but related personal
preferences, trying to find opportunity to "Do their own thing"
... if society would only leave them alone and mind it's own business.
Mutual consent remains the key.
in all it's complexity, I have explored elsewhere in a set of notes
published as "Bondage - Twelve Talking Points". This is a
series of starting points for discussion on the broad subject of mutually
consensual sexual/sensual/physical power exchange games. (For details
of this and other relevant publications see "Further Reading"
on page 81). Here and now, that is not the name-of-the-game we're discussing.
A lot of women tie
knots very well but, to be realistic, most can not compete with men
in physical games where body weight and strength are prime factors.
However, there are many other games where physical restraint handicaps
are used to redress the physical imbalance between a man and a woman
in mutually agreeable sex-play ... but again these are not the subject
of this particular book (See page 82 for details of Sally and Malcolm
Barrett's book which is an intimate account of a lifelong SM/bondage
which include physical restraint, however seriously competitive, almost
inevitably suggest homo-eroticism to people on the sidelines in the
present climate. This myth needs to be exploded. The rough-and-tumble
can, at times, be extremely tactile, intimate and essentially trusting.
Many men, by instinct, might be more comfortable with the idea of playing
"Tying-up" games with women ... but this would, inevitably,
bring the activity into the previous category of "Eroticism".
That is a popular pastime once the players have accepted their mutual
taste for such games. Even then, several men have asked me to teach
their wives how to tie them up more efficiently.
For two men who enjoy matching skill, strength and body weight to a
point where one gains and retains total physical control over the other
... the inhibiting factor will often be their social conditioning. Even
men who have grown up playing body contact sports, if still attracted
towards competitive physical games, frequently suppress their interest
because they think they're supposed to have outgrown it.
Results of this
repression too often resurface in real physical violence in domestic
or social life. Quite unconsciously the urge to lash out is there, like
a steam under pressure. A good healthy opportunity to "let off
steam" is hard to find in everyday life. After college age legitimate
reasons to hit-and-risk-getting-hit are almost nil. Many men in frustrating
occupations, especially one's where politeness to bosses or customers
is demanded, are often driven to the edge of explosion. After-hours
racquet games are no substitute for some sort of competitive man-to-man
rough & tumble. "Crime for kicks" is another possible
result of a failure to recognise and channel pent-up energy. Paint Ball
games have tapped into this need to add a little extra challenge to
restraint scenarios, whether energetic and competitive or entered into
coolly for a protracted session of surrender of responsibility, could
easily be perceived as "S&M". Does that mean, therefore,
they must be the exclusive province of the men who feature regularly
in predominantly "gay" magazines such as DRUMMER, BOUND &
GAGGED and MANIFEST READER. Many essentially "Het" men think
so. Unfortunately, the above mentioned magazines and even the more technically
serious SM magazine CHECKMATE regularly imply that sex is the inevitable
prize or punishment in man-to-man "Bondage" games. This makes
it even more difficult for men who would enjoy competitive challenge,
capture, restraint, endurance, escape games without sex to find opportunity
to experiment tentatively. Although these publications repeatedly state
that you should feel free to "Do your own thing in your own way,
and you are free to exclude or include ..." they remain intentionally
gay and essentially sex-oriented magazines. That is their declared aim.
(Incidentally, more information about all publications and organisations
mentioned in this book can be found on page 80)
for bondage sake" games a surprising number of men prefer, once
the final strap is tightened or lock is closed, to be left alone; left
to struggle and cuss, escape or fail to escape depending on their skill,
energy, determination ... or due to the skill and ingenuity of their
opponent at what ever level of game they have mutually agreed to play.
Physical control games between regular players sometimes reach the complexity
of bridge or chess with an intensely physical element added. Again I'm
talking about a competitive sport ...and the equipment required is no
more bizarre than for hang-gliding, rock-climbing or motor cycling.
Sexuality is implicit in other body-contact sports ... in the ring or
on the field ... in the showers and in the drunken brawls which so often
follow games: "Machismo" and male bonding frequently come
embarrassingly close to something unspokenly sensual if not overtly
sexual. Buddy-ness in the American male is fine - but how often does
it border on dangerous territory? Awareness of temptation to cross this
taboo borderline frequently results in defensive resistance to any possibility.
Rejection of an instinctive attraction towards male/male horseplay (if
no socially acceptable "excuse" is found) can manifest itself
in dangerous forms. Especially in Red-neck-type culture, decidedly unhealthy
counter-activities emerge such as rampant chauvinism, sexual ill-treatment
of women and homophobic violence.
has no part in SM or bondage games, but the frustrations which result
from unfulfilled, unsatisfying lives can be defused if recognised. The
world promises too much and delivers too little to too many people.
The media sets unachievable goals in terms of material and sexual expectations.
Dreams of achieving what the TV ads insist are our rights, leave most
women and men subconsciously resentful, or desperate not to admit their
failure to achieve this mythical norm. Alcohol or recreational drugs
can unleash this anger, then viciousness may rise to the surface. That
is one reason why in all responsible SM related activities, alcohol
and drugs are actively discouraged. However, our recurring fantasies
and day-dreams often have an intangible influence on our everyday behaviour,
so learning to recognise these natural instincts for what they are,
is a health exercise.
Men who are uncomfortably
aware of unfocused impulses which nudge them towards situations and
imagery outside the 'norm', lack opportunity to discuss let alone explore
these instinctive urges. This leaves them frustrated, confused and often
defensive. Society in general does not know how to respond to men who
admit they like to get subjugated, let alone tied up. Any man who likes
to surrender power to either woman or man is open to suspicion in American
society, but any man who can't resist a challenge can't be all bad in
most men's minds.
It's a complicated
situation, because a hell of a lot of grownup "wanna-be Good ol',
Bad ol' Boys" would enjoy an opportunity to hit and get hit, catch-as-catch-can
and generally accept any challenge that comes their way. In particular,
men whose everyday lives lack the zest it had before wives and family
responsibilities limited the opportunities previously open to them.
There are too few outlets. Society is not ready for bondage work-out
rooms at the local gym or bowling alley. Male Bonding need not necessarily
be bar-room baseball and back-room poker sessions ... or beating drums
and howling at the moon on trendy woodland weekend seminars.
There are no easy
answers to the problem for a man who, by nature, would like to experiment
tentatively in activities this book set out to explore. Personally,
even after almost half a century of having fun getting tied up and tying
up other people who like to get tied up, I have very few practical,
entry-level solutions to offer. The diversity of elements which attract
us mean that a different chemistry works for each of us. Compatibility
is a matter of luck and learned judgement. I have no clear-cut route
to suggest for you to follow, but can only identify the different paths
and encourage you to trust your instincts. It is never easy to find
a suitable play partner, even for people experienced and tuned into
the grapevine. Making exploratory contacts with like-minded souls is,
inevitably, a risky business ... but not impossible. But, for any wise
Hunter, knowing the territory and knowing the nature of the beast (or
various types of beast) is essential to the game.
This book can serve
as a guide to the territory by describing what other men have achieved
or created for themselves. I have included extracts from letters which
describe games played at many different skill levels and intensities
... with a range of different visual/dramatic themes. "To each
his own". The name of the game is to be able to focus on and admit
to yourself your preferences ... and then, at an appropriate time, to
be able to explain them to someone else. A useful ace-in-the-hole is
a willingness to help someone else achieve their personal fantasy by
supplying their need, even if it does not particularly do much for you.
Various "Bondage Buddy" games range from being there to tighten
the final strap and tactfully retire to watch TV ... or to remain and
provoke. Just "Being there" can allow somebody to indulge
in self-applied bondage games which would be dangerous without having
a helping hand available in an emergency. (Self-applied bondage is discussed
starting page 18). From the lightest self-indulgent 'Pink Cloud' comfort
to the most rugged endurance challenges, they all benefit from outside
help being available. Contributing to someone else's fantasy can often
result in the favour being returned.
The choice is yours.
Although many different 'Scenarios' are described in the following chapters,
this is not an encyclopaedia of physical restraint games. My advice
is to make note of any hint and tip or casual reference which "Pushes
any button in your brain". Decide on your own objectives ... then,
by using your own initiative, learn to communicate. Be reasonably specific
but be open to new alternatives during negotiations. Be able to say
"Thanks but no thanks" ... but don't slam too many doors before
you know for sure what's on the other side. In this ball-park successful
game-players need to bring to it their own creative intelligence plus
organisational skills, a desire to take risks and guts. There are many
men around the country who find ways to play the sort of games I like
to play ... the sort of not necessarily sexual, slightly dangerous,
heavily exhausting but ultimately exhilarating games ... the games I'm
talking about do not have names.
A TOUR OF THE
Strangers' guide to an Adventure Playground
The number of alternative
routes which lead to this particular Adventure Playground never ceases
to amaze me. That's what this book is really about; to touch lightly
on a variety of alternative attractions. It's a play-park in which anyone
drawn to it can choose a direction and time-scale for themselves. So,
once there, they can adventure where they find something to interest
them and avoid areas which either don't appeal or seem threatening.
As an observer from
a safe distance, magazines and catalogues can offer orientation to available
alternatives ... even to the armchair traveller who never intends to
travel. In the FETTERS/MISTER S. catalogue of restraint equipment and
'Fetish' gear (San Francisco circa. 1991) different areas of attraction
were neatly defined in slightly odd-ball, pseudo-poetical section headings,
each of which outlines the appeal (to some people) of a specific area
of power exchange game-playing.
I think they still
retain a certain eccentric charm ... but then, I wrote them!
(Police equipment and uniforms)
Handcuffs, a symbol of law enforcement and control, loom large in a
lot of fantasies. Arrest and detention in real life has little to recommend
it, but every child knows the thrill of Cops and Robber games. Voluntary
surrender of control is sometimes made easier by cold steel clicking
into place. Displayed as a signal, a pair of handcuffs is worth a thousand
words. Around the world and through the ages handcuffs of different
designs have captivated and challenged. Collectors lust and lock pickers
puzzle but, locked on to a pair of willing wrists with the key under
somebody else's control, the ball (it might be said) is firmly in somebody
COLD STEEL (Prison
Unyielding irons enforce without allowing any flexibility. The hard
grip of steel on flesh will leave its mark if you're fool enough to
fight it. Unbendable rules insist that you comply when you'd like to
try to resist. There's little room for poetry when you're chained to
somebody else's wall of implacable, unyielding steel-eyed control. Not
a comfortable fantasy when keys are out of reach; there's nothing to
do but live with the solid reality ... which can be a pleasure in itself
... if your mind runs along metal lines.
SOFT OPTIONS (Bodybags
and "Soft Spaces")
Bags and sacks have mystery, and promise a special excitement for a
certain kind of person. Willingly entering a warm dark soft space is
the adult version of a child pulling the blankets over its head in bed.
The back-to-the-womb instinct is active in many a subconscious mind.
When surrender is difficult, once inside the soft calming inside of
a SLEEPSACK you have no further choices to make. Nothing to do but wait
for whatever is going to happen. You're comfortable if the pliable space
is being sympathetically managed ... or you may be uncomfortable; frustratingly,
infuriatingly powerless; progressively more desperate, angry or resigned
to accept what you perhaps couldn't have accepted an hour ago. Nothing
to do but wait and deal with it.
The Controller of your situation can also afford to wait. Be patient,
giving the sack time to work its magic on your mind. With laces and
straps to loosen and tighten he/she can play you like a sensitive musical
instrument. For long term sessions with changing levels of tensions;
comfort or numbing tightness, the very special bags and sacks Fetters
dreams up are the fulfilment of a lot of fantasies. Ask anyone who's
spent some time in one.
CRAZY GAMES (Strait-jackets)
Violence plays no real part in so-called 'bondage' games but to thrash
around, to work and sweat off a lot of excess energy can be very exhilarating
... therapeutic. To be wrapped and strapped in such a way that there's
no way out, can drive you crazy with frustration or (surprisingly) produce
a wonderful calm. As you wait, not knowing for how long or what will
happen next ... you may decide, after resting a while, to make another
effort, have another struggle and this time perhaps find a loop-hole
that will lead to freedom ... if you put enough energy into it ... or
really want to struggle free.
Lack of physical freedom under the authority of an implacable stranger
is epitomised for many in a medical scenario. There's more than one
way of playing Doctors and Nurses. For the availability of the bindings
and strappings, splints and stretchers, plaster casts and painful intrusions
... a hospital theatre of operations (especially when no serious illness
or injury is involved) can provide the dedicated SM/Bondage game-player
with a host of alternatives. Sick? ... not if it's how you get your
kicks. As the Wise Man said "You don't have to be crazy to be into
The Paramedic scenario is another popular fantasy: a physically competent
team rampaging around the town with the equipment and know-how to scoop-up
and if necessary subdue. These are some people's Flying Angels. To wake
up in the cool, clean, clinical, impersonal world of silent efficient
controllers of your comfort or pain is an interesting alternative to
MIND SPACE (Hoods
The paradox of an enclosed head freeing the mind can only be experienced,
not imagined. Each essentially personal response to encasing the head
(the centre of our senses) can never be predicted. The variety of alternative
head-spaces sometimes takes courage to explore; bagged or boxed in form-fitting
leather, head-hugging latex, pressure-inducing straps, or reverberating
metal. The smell, touch, sound, and restricted vision can all be the
basis of different power games.
More intense games of consent and willing surrender of freedom involving
the head can isolate your mind from the rest of your being; out-of-body
experience induced by total sensory control. Mouth-invading rubber or
leather or liquid can challenge or stimulate. A muzzle can silence a
lion as well as cage a lamb. Nostrils quiver to sense alterations in
atmosphere. Mind-fucks start with power over the head. Control the mind
and the body will follow but, as Sondheim might say in his poetical
way, TRUST IS A MUST.
LATEX IN MIND (Rubber
and other fetish fabrics)
It's dangerous to analyse sensual pleasures. Instinct plays mysterious
games with our rational minds. Latex and rubber attract and repel, and
the appeal to something in our subconscious can be exciting to explore.
Body heat and sweat may reduce or heighten the restraint experience.
The clinging cold soon becomes a pliant warmth. Whether a luxuriously
lightweight or more heavily industrial quality appeals to your tastes,
feel free to feel good.
A MATTER OF TASTE
More so than most other types of restraint, mouth stuffers and covers
are mainly a matter of personal capacity ... and dare one say ... taste!
Whatever the name of your particular game, both physically and psychologically
any stuffer, mouth-cover or head harness can create effects which may
be either exhilarating or devastating. To surrender control of verbal
communication is a supreme act of submission. The physical intrusion
of something in the mouth can be a traumatic experience ... but it can
also be a "release agent" because this allows the gagged person
to respond vocally in a more extravagant way than usual without disturbing
the 'controller' or distressing the neighbours. An efficient gag offers
the luxury of a good healthy shout and scream, which can be very liberating.
Another attraction is the physical pleasure or relief of biting into
Enforced fidelity between sex partners features in a lot of fantasy
literature. The hard reality in contrast to a comfortable fantasy needs
to be explored from every angle before surrendering control. Being denied
access to one's own body is an intense and wildly variable game. Self
imposed restraint whether physical or mental can be experimented with
in secret, but to share such games usually opens up new territory in
any relationship. Whether played in the safety of home or carried out
into public places; if the game involves times when the players are
separated; many technical factors need to be carefully explored in advance
of more serious challenges.
Being section headings
in a commercial equipment catalogue the above paragraphs act only as
general pointers to the map of the territory. A later "European"
catalogue of "Restrictive Practices" offers a more comprehensive
review of psychological and political aspects of the broader subject.
In addition to sixty pages of illustrations of every type of bondage
equipment, twenty pages of solid text includes a series of notes entitled
"BONDAGE - TWELVE TALKING POINTS" plus a detailed review of
safety procedures in bondage games, ("PLAYING SAFE" by David
Stein), and three informative magazine articles on related topics. This
thought provoking text is now also available, separate from the commercial
catalogue combined with "WE LOVE S&M" Sally and Malcolm
Barratt's light-hearted account of kinkery in a London suburb (See "FURTHER
READING" starting on page 81 for details).
An art, science and dangerous game.
self-applied restraint as a topic deserves a whole book to itself! All
it will get from me here is a nod plus a couple of nudges in the direction
of other sources of information.
It's where most
people start - at least those who trust their instincts. Practical solo
experiment in some form or other is a common story when there has been
an early, unfocussed urge and no one to share it with. Conscious motives
are often confused or nonexistent at the time. In most recollections
about pre-pubescent self-applied lacing up, wrapping round, tying down,
wriggling into self-applied restraint, the motive only became clear
at a later date. Stories of early efforts exchanged in Bondage Group
discussions usually fall into predictable categories. Here I'm not going
to analyse, format-ise or speculate on WHY the need strikes the young
and innocent. Even the juvenile HOW is irrelevant here; adult techniques
and safeguards are under review. Recalling juvenile technical achievements
is only important now if an experiment went disastrously wrong and left
an emotional scar. Having one's guilty secret game-playing discovered
can leave it's mark on future behaviour. In hindsight one can only ask
if it was really so terrible as it seemed at the time ... or does fear
of discovery remain part of the 'buzz'?
The need to feel
confined/restrained can stem from various emotional promptings. The
urge to have a good struggle or relax in comfortably snug body hugging
tightness is usually part of a complex mental chemistry. Nothing particularly
unusual, just part of the personality. If warm dark isolation is attractive,
it is no more than the adult equivalent of a child pulling the blankets
over the head: Perhaps demonstrating the need for a private un-distracting
space where thinking time can be enjoyed with reinforced concentration;
alternatively, where an exhilarating thrash around might defuse a build-up
of frustrations. The motives behind the need are for the individual
to consciously deal with ... or not deal with, as they choose.
The 'How' rather
than 'Why' of self-applied bondage alone would take more space to explore
than is available here. Elaborate processes are complicated to document.
Meticulous preparations and strenuous gyrations are often employed to
achieve what is only an illusion of inescapable bondage. Expending all
this energy knowing that a way out must always be available strikes
a lot of people as being a pointless exercise. For those who need to
feel the feelings, the ingenuity is often part of the 'buzz'. Sometimes,
consciousness of the risk involved is also part of the game; a dangerous
part. Living on the edge is all very well, BUT ... !
Repeated experiment enables some people to achieve a degree of restraint
that demands the added spur of desperation to escape successfully. Risk
factors are carefully identified in David Stein's two-part article in
BOUND & GAGGED issues 47 and 48 (see note at end of chapter, page
28). Here the main point I'm making is that such activities are common
practice; a natural gymnasium for many people who have found no opportunity
for shared experiences (so far) or who deliberately choose the solo
Playing solo by
choice rather than through lack of playmates has advantages. It avoids
the need to compromise on personal preferences. This may sound selfish
but here we're talking about a special kind of self-indulgence. Accommodating
other peoples tastes, pace or level of intensity takes the exercise
into a different realm. Shared experiences can be great, but private
indulgence allows us to explore ourselves. It may leave us aware of
what was missing. It may encourage a sharper focus on the direction
of our needs. Time spent alone is valuable to the creative process;
any writer or artist will confirm this. The effort to assemble the means
of self-applied restraint, then set aside the time to embark on a sensual,
technical process, working towards a predetermined goal is an exercise
in self-discipline. To achieve a sense of helplessness or immobilisation
but still remain in control is, unquestionably, a FANTASY situation.
In theatre the "Willing suspension of disbelief" is necessary
to acceptance of the illusion before us. In our "Theatre of the
Mind's Eye" (which is how I often describe the process of generating
a jerk-off fantasy) creating the effect rather than the reality can
be extremely potent. The presence of other characters whose input may
be out of tune or timing with the illusion we are trying to create,
can be a distraction. However, there is a middle ground.
presence of another person during such activities can allow exciting
extensions of the self-induced experience. Having someone within calling
distance in case of emergency; having someone to tighten a final strap
and then withdraw for a pre-agreed time while still monitoring your
well-being; both situations are a healthy extension of an essentially
self-determined bondage experience. From a safety angle even when elaborate
self-release mechanisms are part of the intellectual exercise, someone
unobtrusively in attendance allows greater freedom to explore practicalities
and impracticalities of self-applied restraint and self-release. Certainly
it makes first experiments with time-locks or more rudimentary devices
such as candles and ice more safe.
Trusting to technology
in self-applied bondage situations is strongly advised against by most
practiced enthusiasts. Electrical timers, set to open at the required
time certainly also need to open if the power goes off, rather than
stay closed. Rigging keys to drop when the hands of a clock reach a
certain point depend on the clock not losing power or the clockwork
running down. Ice as a release mechanism can be unpredictable as far
as thaw time is concerned. Even a combination padlock closed in the
dark leaving someone chained until it becomes light enough to read the
numbers depends on remembering to open the curtains so it DOES eventually
get light ... and having your glasses handy if you need them to see
of Self-applied Restraint are many and varied. Awareness of the potential
dangers, limitations and consequences especially in terms of circulation
and ability to breathe need to be learned. Obviously, early experiences
should be as risk-free as possible, preferably with someone on hand
to deal with emergencies. However, you may decide that, although such
help is at hand, it need not necessarily be given. An available get-out
option can inhibit the learning process. Experience of panic situations
and unplanned-for problems provide valuable lessons. Learning to deal
with the unexpected is part of this particular game. When a planned
escape suddenly turns out to be impossible ... it's amazing what additional
resources a person can summon up as the situation becomes intolerable.
However, all such experiences are best learned when help is on hand
... even if it is deliberately being withheld. Being allowed to discover
the additional personal resources desperation can bring is a valuable
experience. Sometimes, knowing help is on hand can be counter productive.
The balance of risk-taking and practical precautions is a matter for
both parties in such a scenario to explore together ... but self-determination
is very much the name of the game under discussion.
self-applied restraint is a fantasy objective sought by many. This can,
in fact, be achieved but brings with it a dangerous element of risk.
For someone completely alone to lock on restraints which allow for no
change of mind and no possible let-out ... having previously arranged
for outside help to arrive and release at a specific time is a game
of serious intensity. This affords experience of anxious time spent
alone and unmonitored in totally escape-proof restraint for a maybe
unpredictable period ... with absolutely no opportunity for backing
out. Knowing that some reliable person is due to arrive and end the
session at an agreed time (ALL BEING WELL!) is a Head-trip in itself.
If the agreed time is slightly flexible, clock-watching or blind time
guessing is immaterial. Dealing with the inescapable situation becomes
the name of the game. Obviously the restraint needs to be generally
safe as well as escape-proof. Time spent in such serious alone-ness
can be unexpectedly traumatic for the trapped person. The risk of fire,
flood or earthquake is a real factor which some self-applied bondage
game-players are willing to accept ... at least until they've had to
deal with the serious possibility. Wondering whether the person due
to arrive may forget, lose the key to your door or be hit by a truck
does certainly add another dimension to scenarios I am describing.
Many knowledgeable people will be incensed by my suggestion here and
vehemently say "do not in any circumstances!". I say "Never
say never ... but be aware of all the risks". Then if risk taking
is part of the 'buzz' and you're an intelligent responsible adult, you
should be free to choose, just as when you choose to go hang-gliding,
bungee jumping or to get married. All are calculated risks ... you take
all possible precautions ... then enjoy the gamble.
miscalculations feature regularly in the tabloid press with predictably
contemptuous comments. Death by misadventure features with depressing
regularity in Police records. "Auto-erotic Fatalities", a
book compiled from F.B.I. records contains bizarre accounts of fail-safe
escape routes that failed. As in planning a crime, the unexpected must
always be expected. Available safety advice should be taken very seriously.
Even the most simple omission in planning can result in embarrassing
revelations when you're forced to phone a friend or knock on a neighbour's
door semi-trussed-up. In such circumstances better a red face than a
dead bondage bunny.
is a publisher if detailed suggestions (even in the form of fiction)
result in someone following a described path and coming to a sticky
end? This is something I have often discussed with magazine editors.
The argument that publishing information can tempt people to play in
dangerous waters is easily countered by the fact that many people will
play intuitively but often are totally unaware of the necessary precautions.
Availability of information can be extremely valuable to them. Objective
advice based upon experience is certainly safer than a conspiracy of
of self-applied restraint processes have always fascinated me. I have
compiled a dossier of described self-applied restraints but it is not
comprehensive. On paper detailed description can be as complicated as
choreographic dance notation. Home videos of people resolutely putting
themselves into, rolling around in and (hopefully) getting out of tight
corners are instructive and occasionally hilarious. The extraordinary
range of ways different people invent to achieve a sense of restraint
is worth exploring. David Stein, in his detailed article gives a thorough
over-view of the subject, including descriptions of techniques and a
comprehensive list of safety precautions. There is not space to reprint
the two-part article here, but back issues 47 and 48 of BOUND AND GAGGED
magazine are currently available from OUTBOUND PRESS see page 80 for
address. In addition, David's excellent survey of general bondage safety
measures "PLAYING SAFE" is available from Fetters (see page
86 for details).
IN ANSWER TO
YOUR QUESTION ...
Getting your own thoughts into some sort of order isn't easy without
input from other sources. Contact ads are a safe forum for like-minded
people ... that is if you have a P.O.box (and don't live in a police
state). E-Mail promises to become an even more immediate arena for shared
interests and exchange of ideas (again, if you don't live under a power-crazed
Since 1965 I've
been in correspondence with people who admitted some sort of instinctive
attraction towards "tying-up games". Often I was the first
person they had ever told about their "guilty secret" ...
whatever form it took. Although coming from a range of different backgrounds,
isolated individuals wrote to tell remarkably similar stories.What particular
imagery comple-mented the situation for them, whether sexual or non-sexual,
whatever style of dramatic scenario, props and costumes decked out their
fantasy events ... their personal domestic / employment circumstances
did not permit them to even discuss these disturbing, recurring impulses.
Uncomfortably evasive letters hinted at interests which just would not
My growing awareness
of not only the isolation but the amazing diversity of related subject
matter encouraged me to place the following ad. in the magazines MAN'S
WORLD, GUNS & AMMO & POLICE REVIEW in 1978:
Rope, strait-jackets, handcuffs, Houdini.
Did I get your attention? - or am I alone in the world.
Correspondence invited. BOX???
A trickle of very
cautious responses asking what the hell I was talking about soon, by
a process of elimination, developed into a regular interchange of confidences.
The first reassurance I was able to offer was, not to be overly concerned
as to the WHY. It has always seemed to me more practical to concentrate
on the HOW to get into perspective some of the spooky things something
inside someone is telling them they might enjoy!
The range of urgent
questions that came at me promised to turn my PO Box into a vale of
tears ... and I was more interested in exploring possibilities for people
to turn their anxieties into 'safe and sane' fun and games, rather than
soul-searching. Some of my answers were a bit brutal; I'm not cut out
to be an Agony Aunt.
Because the focus
of this particular volume is physical restraint willingly walked into
and occasionally fought to stay out of (or fight somebody else into)
... the rest of this section of the book is composed entirely of short
extracts from letters, grouped under three headings:-
FOR ALL OCCASIONS
I hope at least
some of the topics discussed push at least some of your buttons. Skip
over any section which holds no interest for you. The subject of each
paragraph is printed in bold type.
STRAIT-JACKETS FOR ALL OCCASIONS
Extracts from "The Fetters Files"
Thanks for your letter. So, Jack ///// in San Diego suggested you should
write me. Haven't heard from him for several years. Is he still working
as an Escape Artist? Last time he contacted me it was to ask how to
make a jacket ESCAPE-PROOF! Did he follow my instructions - and is he
still stuck in it? No, he was wrong when he told you that I "...
know all there is to know about strait-jackets". I'm still learning,
and enjoying the process. You ask if I am "Seriously into strait-jackets".
Now what does that mean? I guess the answer is "Yes, I definitely
am seriously into strait-jackets ... the more seriously, efficiently
applied the better, and as often as possible."
Your very general questions might have opened a Pandora's Box because
you failed to specify exactly where your interest lies ... are you a
budding Escapologist or does the idea/image of being strapped into,
strapping someone into or just watching it happen rings bells in your
brain ... Because Yes, I'm "turned on to it", as you put it
... but it's not nearly as simple as that. Are we talking sexual, sensual,
erotic? Maybe so, maybe no. There are all sorts of boosts and blasts
and tingles which happen spontaneously outside our conscious control.
So, to give you a better perspective on the subject and at the risk
of freaking you out, here is a random collection of extracts (Thank
God for Word Processors) from the FETTERS File on Strait Jackets. Make
of them what you will!"
What a lot of questions. Hope I can supply at least a few answers. First
you should read the FETTERS Information Sheet "Notes on Strait-jackets".
This was first written fifteen years ago to save me having to answer
the same questions over and over. However, the sheet is drastically
in need of revision and expansion. My Strait-jacket information file
has got so fat I could write a book ... but don't hold your breath.
So, for what they're worth here are the original brief "Notes"
... followed by other info which may be relevant to your particular
interests ... maybe not, so just concentrate on aspects of the subject
that do appeal to your tastes ... or lack of taste! As reassurance,
you ain't the only one in the world to be "Turned on by ..."
NOTES ON STRAIT-JACKETS
(First published I982)
image of a "strait-jacket".
In the real world there's a general consciousness that such things exist
although most people have never seen one except briefly in a movie or
used by a street performer Escapologist. Most Escape Artists consider
a strait-jacket to be a sure-fire crowd puller. Since HARRY HOUDINI
first introduced the stunt (or at least so he claimed) it has proved
to be popular with a lot of people in a lot of places ... I think, for
a lot of different psychological reasons. It certainly seems to be more
than morbid fascination.
or Officially Approved strait-jacket :
The very existence of such a barbaric device should, surely, make most
people cringe. Suggestion that such a piece of equipment might have
been used in real-life situations should make the whole idea repugnant?
So why do crowds regularly gather to see someone strapped into such
a threatening and challenging situation? I won't attempt to analyse
the reasons - the fact is indisputable: vast numbers of people enjoy
seeing such a happening. Just what percentage of the crowd speculates
on what it might be like to have it done to them / do it to somebody
else / have a shot at escaping .... who knows? The fact remains that
being 'interested' in strait-jackets isn't all that unusual.
What is a strait-jacket?:
Traditionally it is a reasonably tough fabric garment designed to prevent
violent mentally disturbed patients and prisoners from causing harm
to themselves and other people (before the days of sedatives). Strait-jackets
or strait waist-coats can be anything from a simple smock with closed
sleeve ends and tie tapes, to deliberately intimidating constructions
of sail-cloth, leather straps and metal hardware. The term "Regulation"
usually suggests that it is an approved pattern, as used in a particular
Institution or by a particular prison authority. In hospitals where
a patient may continually remove all his/her clothes the garment was
often little more than a night-gown which the wearer could not remove.
In Britain "The Home Office", the authority which has responsibility
for most Police and Prison furnishing, has at various times in the past
approved specifications for pieces of restraining clothing (although
all information on the garments is "strictly classified").
Inevitably, the existence of such equipment has led to it being used
as punishment as well as a last resort. In places where such an item
would find very little actual use, to have some form of restrainer hanging
around serves as a useful threat, to keep would-be troublesome patients
Official records are almost non-existent. Restraint devices and early
prison equipment were usually made locally to specifications of people
responsible for running the establishment. Hence personal preferences
dictated the design and frequency of use of such equipment. There is
evidence that many jackets in hospitals and prisons were purposely designed
to look threatening; extra bands of canvas and leather to suggest additional
strength and durability. In reality such thick and bulky strait-jackets
may not have been as efficient as a well constructed garment made from
lighter pliable rip-proof canvas. Not only more comfortable, light-weight
jackets can be infinitely more confining if correctly cut and sewn -
and efficiently applied.
Seeing someone restrained by, strapping someone into, or being strapped
into ... is what we are dealing with in these notes. Whether as a challenge
or punishment, here is a situation in which energy and aggression can
be worked off harmlessly. Although strait-jackets are now seldom used
"officially" in most European medical/detention institutions
- it is still recognised in some circles that the hugging tightness
of a well-applied strait-jacket has a calming effect on some patients
once they have exhausted all attempts to free themselves. In less threatening
situations, to escape from a strait-jacket can be an exhilarating experience
for an escaper and anyone watching. Many spectators when watching an
Escape Artist probably feel the urge to help strap the would-be escaper.
What number of them would, secretly, like to "have a go" at
In the short space available only the basics can be indicated. JOHN
NOVAK wrote a small book for Escape Artists which covered alternatives.
Called "STRAIT-JACKET ESCAPES" it is still in print. Techniques
for escaping from a strait-jacket must necessarily vary with the design
and manner in which it is applied. This is the main consideration. HOUDINI
never allowed anyone a second chance to apply a jacket.
To escape successfully, the main aim must be to gain 'slack' surreptitiously
while the garment is being strapped on. Every inch counts, particularly
in the tightness of the arm straps.
Factors affecting escape:
(A) Whether straps or tie tapes are used.
(B) If canvas is supple enough to use fingers through it.
(C) If it is possible to work the arms upwards or downwards.
(D) If arm-holes are wide enough to work arms out of sleeve by twisting
jacket around the body
1. Slack is gained mainly by expanding chest and faking tightness by
bracing elbows against sides as jacket is strapped on. Extra space can
also be stolen by gripping a handful of fabric under the arms out of
2. When ready to escape relax all muscles, hunch shoulders forward to
bring all available slack to back, pushing arms deeper into sleeves.
This leaves all available slack in-back allowing buckle of arm-strap
to be worked systematically upwards until arms can be pulled free over
head - or downwards to bring arms under seat. This, of course, can only
be achieved in jackets which have no side loops through which arms have
been passed. It will be noticed that virtually no Escape Artist uses
an S/J with side loops. On TV if the Hero escapes from a jacket, arms
are not through the loops.
3. To complete an escape once arms have been un-crossed, fingers through
canvas can usually work at straps or ties, or by shifting the jacket
around the body, teeth can often reach buckles
4. HOUDINI often made his jacket escapes out of view, inside a "cabinet".
Who knows what clips, hooks, razor blade and other useful gimmicks were
concealed within what was, essentially, a conjuror's magic cabinet.
Escape from any
jacket is very much a matter of practice. To improve chances of escape
by methods 1/2/3, when jacket is applied the right arm should be crossed
over the left (unless you're left-handed), placing right hand on left
bicep (that is, if you are allowed to 'get away with it') otherwise
under left elbow. It is best to avoid allowing arms to be 'folded'.
When trying to work both arms upwards and over the head, brace the elbow
against a wall or door-handle. Or kneel down on one knee, using the
other as a Pushing Post. The same effect can be accomplished by lying
face down on the floor and rolling alternately from one elbow to the
other, forcing the elbows closer together to increase slack in mitt
straps. The easiest way to escape from a strait-jacket is to be sure
that it is only ever strapped on by someone who has never done it before.
To prevent escape:
Having studied and experimented with ways to escape from a strait-jacket
it becomes more easy to devise ways to make escape more difficult.
Jackets used by Escape Artists usually have longish wide sleeves, loose
neck-bands and no strap between the legs. (Crotch strap) and certainly
no side loops.
A jacket with short, tight sleeves, snug under the arm-pits presents
a much more exacting challenge. A close high collar also adds to the
general "cling", and straps connecting sleeves should be short
with holes right up to the end .... and be very strong. The strain in
all directions on a well applied jacket can be intense, seams should
be double sewn.
A crotch strap to prevent the body of the jacket being dragged over
the head. In addition to side loops, arm straps anchored through one
of the back straps to stop arm strap buckle moving either up or downwards.
Sleeve-ends around hands being made of heavy material or leather to
prevent tampering with buckles through sleeves will defeat many would-be
A small strap added around each wrist before the arms are crossed makes
'slipping' the jacket virtually impossible.
Extra reinforcement of seams, elbows and neck will stop any attempts
to wear a way out of an otherwise escape-proof jacket - but most important
of all is to eliminate 'slack'.
Getting the jacket
on in a challenge situation:
Even with a willing victim, applying a jacket single-handed needs practice.
A particular awareness of the various tricks for gaining slack is essential.
One way to eliminate stolen slack is, after threading the arm-strap
as far as possible, then to stand to one side and brace your body against
that of the victim, use the free hand to clamp prisoner's elbows together.
The back-strap can then be wrenched tighter at the same moment elbows
are pulled closer together.
Two people applying
Slack can be eliminated much more easily with additional vigilance.
Also as one pulls the arm-strap tight behind, the other can press the
victims elbows together at the front. It is amazing how much further
arms will reach across the chest with a little persuasion. Two people
can also manage to 'fold' a victims arms even against quite violent
being forced into a strait-jacket:
This is a complicated and potentially dangerous undertaking. As a test
of ingenuity and stamina it can be fun. In a one-to-one situation it
is virtually impossible unless the pair are very unequally matched.
With two against one, if a 'routine' has been worked out in advance,
it is possible to subdue a victim even if he is prepared to put up a
healthy struggle. In any event it's certainly fun to try.
defences against a would-be Escapee:
Escape from any form of body restrainer is seriously hampered if feet
are strapped together.
A strong leather strap or Pinion Strap Set threaded between elbows at
the back defeats most would-be Escape Aritists.
Lacing the hapless (helpless) bundle to a bed or short ladder (which
must be safely anchored or laid on floor). Imagination, ingenuity and
the element of surprise count for much in the field of escapes and the
sort of challenges we have been discussing.
"Notes on Strait-jackets".
FROM STRAIT-JACKET USERS!
Good to hear from you ... No, the Information Sheets still haven't been
expanded. Certainly they don't cover the complicated games you and Don
play together. Glad the Posey jacket arrived safely and has already
been "broken in". So, to your specific questions:-
1) Posey jacket
arms too short for Don. The one I sent should fit both of you easily
(Measurements are on file in the workshop). Maybe you're buckling
it too tight in back before arms are crossed. That has the effect
of shortening the sleeves. Don't worry, slack at the back gets taken
up when mitt strap is tightened, so it won't effect the security if
it's looser. Anyway, jackets needn't be tight to be efficient. Personally
I think they're more fun when you can wrestle around inside but still
get nowhere. I assume you're using a long single strap between the
elbows in back. That also needn't be too tight - just frustrating
- but it can make any SJ virtually escape-proof. Even better, get
yourself a Pinion Strap Set because they don't tighten around each
elbow and risk cutting off circulation. They're a good investment
- especially against a determined "Houdini" like Don ...
which brings me to your next point ...
2) He's able to
get buckles undone using door post and trapping buckles in drawers.
That's your fault! What the hell is he doing wandering around? Fix
the bugger to one spot on the floor or that wonderful metal bed-frame
you sent photos of. Incidentally, did the Builders Supply yard ask
what you were making with all those cut lengths of pipe and angle
strait-jackets? Yes, the USA navy used one made by "Melrose Inc."
who are, I think, now out of business ... but I've made several. There
is a danger that busy fingers can undo front buckles through sleeves:
Gloves or mitts inside jacket sleeves are advisable when you've got
a determined Escape Artist on your hands. The big advantage of Front
Opening is you're not lying on lumpy buckles!
4) Technique for
"fighting' someone into a strait jacket? The subject deserves
a lot of space to discuss. The collected notes on the subject are
herewith (see previous page).
In the meantime - have fun - and stay in touch ...
S/J DESIGN PATENTS
AND HISTORIC RECORDS
Many thanks for photos of strange strait-jacket in the Belgian museum.
Not sure exactly how it's supposed to work with those long, long sleeves.
I guess I shall just have to make one up from the pictures you sent
and give it a thorough Field Test. Lucky me!
Fascinating business but takes a lot of time. We did extensive historic
research re Chastity Belts. In these days of computer access to university
and medical data bases I assume, if you know which buttons to press,
it could be simple to call up Restrainer Device patents. For such matters,
like Blanche DuBois "I rely on the kindness of strangers"
or, in the words of the Beatles "With a little help from my friends."
If Arizona in-State patents lists are accessible as you suggest - I
would very much appreciate copies of anything in the way of unusual
restraint device designs. If you do have access, let me know the key
words under which you find them filed. Get busy. I'll happily make up
usable garments/devices from any pictures or descriptions so I and other
people can give them a try.
about your general activities, please and specific details about the
set-up you and Terry have there. It's good to know where people are
"at" and exactly what they get up to. Sorry my forthcoming
trip won't permit me to travel to your neck of the woods (do they have
woods in Arizona?). Thanks for photos of the canvas and leather Armsdown
jacket being strapped on. It's time there was a video!
... Standard leather Biker jacket used as strait-jacket. Yes, delighted
to do the modifications you suggest. Not sure your suggestion for zip-on,
zip-off leather mitts will be strong enough if strap between arms in
back is attached to mitt finger ends in traditional strait-jacket style.
But if the link is between wrists there should be no problem.
Interestingly, even without modification, a heavy leather Bike jacket
worn back-to-front and zipped up the back is already very very restrictive
and the wearer can't easily get out of it. The collar is also very high
when worn backwards which increases the sense of restriction. With added
mitts or even padded biker gauntlets you're halfway there.
... Biker jacket
made lockable: Mini "D" rings and strap-loops added at wrist,
waist and top of front zipper makes jacket impossible to remove when
padlocks are in place. Modification I would recommend would also have
sturdy "D" ring attachment points at sides and back of jacket.
These would be sewn and riveted to a strong internal harness - so the
jacket could not rip apart if they were used as attachment points for
wrists, elbows or ankle chain, etc. A previous customer on your wavelength
asked for the jacket internal harness to also extend inside pants and
under crotch with "Chastity Jock" under it (Extreme but imaginative!).
Main advantage of
this jacket was that it still looked like a standard bike jacket except
to the discerning eye. Visible extra 'D' rings on a regular-looking
jacket (with or without the occasional dangling padlock) can be quite
a conversation opener in everyday use. Also, when jacket is locked on
with padded gauntlets under the locked cuffs, even the crash helmet
can't be removed without outside help. As pillion passenger it's even
possible to use a gag and blindfold under crash helmet when out for
a ride. Sound heavy? Not as heavy as adding a butt plug and taking the
wearer for a ride on bumpy dirt track roads. Everything's a matter of
degree. Have you read John Strickland's story "LOCKED INTO LEATHER"?
It is not all fiction. Also, his sequel to "WEEKEND IN THE LIFE
OF A MOTOR-CYCLE MESSENGER" has someone staked out in the pouring
rain wearing heavy waterproof bike suit over full leathers. Very much
to your kinky taste! (For details of both stories see page 85)
Send the jacket to London - we'll talk before I work some magic on it.
Other ideas involving lockable clothes always welcome - I'm compiling
LATEX AND MORE:
... Yes, we can line a strait-jacket with latex - or oilskin or waxed
cotton - whatever you decide. They all have terrific intensity. However,
because they're very heavy and hot (in all senses of the word) we do
advise caution. Firstly (and I'm a glutton for heavy and sweaty restraint
situations) dehydration and overheating are serious risks. Also, lining
a garment with latex reduces the length of time for which it can be
used safely. As an alternative I often suggest using a separate latex
or other tactile fabric garment INSIDE a strait-jacket. Then the jacket,
whether canvas or leather, can give a variety of alternative "experiences".
... A full latex
body-suit is easily available in both Gay and Het mail-order catalogues
if the tactile feeling of latex against skin is what you're after. Wearing
one inside an S/J also stops the main jacket getting sweatted up.
... All latex strait-jacket
- yes, another hot alternative. Very different from canvas or leather
when being struggled in because of the elasticity. Not as secure, of
course, and naturally the latex is not as tough - but for someone who
is content to have a frustrating and weight-reducing roll around, they're
Here's a tip: Try
a latex strait-jacket with a heavier garment over it (leather jacket,
army Parka, rain-suit - S/J arms threaded through jacket sleeves before
being crossed, is recommended). This "bundling up" can not
only work up a swamp of sweat but keep the water inside. I can tell
you from experience - it can be tough ...
MIS-USE OF "OFFICIAL"
POLICE / PRISON RESTRAINTS:
Your comments on strait-jackets used for either punishment or torture
were interesting. If you have heard anything from 'Someone in the know'
I'd be very happy to receive details. In my many tactful enquiries around
the world I have found a few instances of pieces of 'official' equipment
being used in UNOFFICIAL ways. Perhaps it's human nature that someone
in a position of power is tempted to use every means at his/her disposal
to demonstrate that power - especially if professionally responsible
for staying in control. After a couple of opportunities to use available
equipment in the approved, straightforward manner - if the personal
tastes of the person in authority lean in that direction - developments
are likely to take place.
A strait-jacket is sometimes there only as a deterrent to keep detainees
in line. The point at which it gets used may be deliberately provoked
by the would-be user - but, from stories I've heard, it's also not unusual
for a detainee to "push his luck", whether consciously or
unconsciously, until a restraint that he knows is there, gets used on
him. May sound far-fetched and I'm sure the Civil Liberties people would
not accept the possibility - but "provocation" in detention
situations that leads to retaliation is surprisingly common.
Certainly, to make
a prisoner more co-operative, the degree to which an S/J can be tightened
is a factor. It certainly can be used as an instrument of torture. A
more subtle trick is to leave a "jacketed" detainee helpless
in a cell and deliberately not respond when he calls that he must use
a toilet. I know for a fact this is a favourite with the French/Spanish/Greek
police who all use jackets as a matter of course on drunken prisoners.
When they eventually return to the cell they humiliate their victims
further by making them clean up their own vomit or other excretions
which they may have been forced to lie in ... maybe for several hours.
I'm told on good authority the French also have a habit of baiting a
strait-jacketed prisoner to anger and then drenching him with water
"to cool him off" - a legacy from the old Hydrotherapy once
deemed effective with hysterical mental patients.
In real life not
a fun situation - except, perhaps, for the likes of your good-self!
You know how I feel about MUTUAL CONSENT so if everybody involved has
agreed to a NO HOLDS BARRED contest ... that means Mutual Consent in
on your theme of unofficial use or mis-use of official equipment ...
let me know if you hear of (or dream up) unusual strait-jacket games.
Certainly, with your recently acquired American hospital S/J, the degree
to which it can be varied from a comfortable restrainer into an instrument
of torture is now something you and your two cohorts in the Department
can spend time exploring. Only your combined imaginations and individual
endurance will limit the experiments. What a way to spend your off-duty
hours! Wonderful!! Progress reports and photos will be welcomed ...
a JACK LONDON story called "The Jacket". It's not in most
editions of his collected works and so far I've not managed to track
down a copy. Would you keep your eyes open on my behalf? Thanks. Keep
in touch ...
N.B. Eventually, the story I'd heard about called "The Jacket"
was discovered to be the name under which London's story "STAR
ROVER" was published in Britain. Contains a few passages of interest
to dedicated S/J enthusiasts.
... ex-army punishment suit or S/J for sale in a Surplus Store? No,
I've never been lucky enough to come across one for sale. I have found
the British Prison strait jacket (or rather cape) - but not authentic
official ex-War Department S/J - but FETTERS can make a reasonable copy.
I took a pattern from one I'd "borrowed".
... British Army Detention Centre "Punishment Suit". Thanks
for your vivid description of it's design and having to wear it in real
life. Many years ago there was a "Shock Horror" story in one
of the British newspapers about treatment of servicemen in Colchester
Military Detention Centre. I've been fortunate enough to meet up with
more than one ex-serviceman who's had hands-on experience of being put
into and putting others into. I even have a stock of the big brass screw-lock
clasps which were used (Very uncomfortable to lie on when the wearer
was locked into the suit for unspecified periods). Locks were made by
... Yes, I agree,
Surplus stores are wonderful hunting grounds for the creatively kinky.
I like the sound of your padded Tank Suit with added lockable straps
at wrists, ankles, neck and waist. I've seen (and experienced) some
mean tricks played with army kit (See details of "INITIATIVE TEST"
on page 61). Seems like you're a person after my own heart. I look forward
to meeting you ...
... So, you like
webbing, canvas, army and camping gear - join the club. The first strait-jacket
I ever made for myself was a heavy naval wind and waterproof anorak
modified. I have fond memories of an Army "Anti Gas" suit
and gas mask which I nicked from the Air Force training Unit. While
other guys were bitching about having to wear them I was happy as a
pig in shit ... we all have our funny little ways, as my old Granny
used to say.
... I still use
a tough army Combat Jacket modified as a restraint. Wrists can be locked
inside front pockets into handcuffs (For technical details of this jacket
modification see "OUTDOOR GAMES" on page 54)
FIGHTING AN UNWILLING
PERSON INTO S/J
(For convenience I'll refer to "Doer" and Done-to")
For many people the image of a violent patent being struggled into a
strait-jacket is intriguing ... but ... it doesn't happen often ...
or easily. The image of beefy white coated attendants in a hospital
setting, expertly subduing even the most determinedly violent person
(either male or female) is mainly from the realms of fantasy. In real
life it can be a degrading and damaging business. These days sedatives
make it much less dangerous; quick jab with a hypodermic needle and
then do whatever is necessary. Hospitals and prisons do use strait-jackets
today (whatever you may hear to the contrary) but wrestling somebody
into a jacket exists mainly in the realms of games played by people
turned-on by physical control and counter-control. In the harsh real
world, there are easier ways like a quick punch in the gut or kick in
the groin. Both are dangerous - but I'm not saying they don't happen,
particularly in the more traditionally violent climate of prisons.
into a traditonal strait jacket on a one-to-one basis:- In my experience
this is impossible without dirty tricks or very unequal physical balance.
More than two people
trying to "jacket" a struggling potential victim, even in
a physically tough play situation, can result in bloody noses, bruised
shins and wrecked furniture. People just get in one another's way. With
forward planning and a degree of practice the process becomes easier
- specially if the target person has not been present at the planning
and practice sessions (Practice sessions can be fun!).
Two efficient and
experienced 'handlers' can fight even the most determined-not-to-get-jacketed
person into a jacket and then into any advanced state of restraint.
In the USA most city paramedics are warned against trying to physically
subdue because accusations of brutality and injury are inevitable. But
some paramedics welcome the opportunity to exercise their more physical
skills ... even if they have to do it off-duty (Believe me I know from
An efficiently strait-jacketed
person can still be dangerous if there is fight in him. An amazing event
took place at an "INFERNO" (Annual Boys Camp for men into
all aspects of S&M, bondage and man-to-man games). One year a tough
young Navy Lieutenant strapped into a very heavy leather strait-jacket
was matched against a lighter weight but fit unrestrained opponent,
and they wrestled for a "fall" for a count of ten. Using only
body-weight and legs the "jacketed" guy fought for more than
an hour before eventually being successfully "pinned" for
ten seconds. There were at least a hundred enthusiastic spectators.
Handling a potentially
violent "jacketed" prisoner still needs care. Ankles should
always be hobbled or otherwise controllable. Care should also be taken
to avoid head butting or banging. Back straps on the jacket make useful
handles for man-handling, but even moving a jacketed person on or off
a stretcher/gurney needs vigilance. While bending to buckle stretcher
straps, butting and spitting may happen. Steps to discourage such practices
may include well judged menace or threats of "Another time and
another place" variety. This can sometimes calm the situation but
on many occasions the so-called victim just seems to be "Asking
for more trouble".
Two people experienced
in "jacketing" a third know that surprise is the most valuable
asset. Also, having the right space, free from furniture to wreck and
(ideally) nothing for the struggling victim to hold onto. Whatever approach
is made, the first objective should be to get the victim's hands singly,
deep into the sleeves. One way to achieve this is to have sleeves partially
inside-out with the hand of the putter-on INSIDE the sleeve. By grabbing
the wrist of the victim the jacket can be turned right-side out up the
victim's arm. Of course, even when both arms are into the sleeves, the
danger is not over - but at least the fabric of the sleeves is easier
to grab than flesh. Once the jacket is closed inback (at least one buckle),
the "subject" becomes more manageable: Can be flipped over
on the floor, and waving arms be pinned and controlled with more ease.
It's generally a matter of practice, and just as in the routine for
escaping from a strait jacket (described in Information Sheet "NOTES
ON STRAIT JACKETS") the routine for "jacketing" someone
who enjoys putting up a fight is something a group of men (and women)
can work out for themselves. The rolling and giggling can provide hours
of stimulating horseplay.
JACKETING A NON-COOPERATIVE
"VICTIM" (in a play situation)
Step-by-step technical descriptions are usually tedious to read if you
don't actually intend to try it yourself ... but ... for the record
I did once try to document a few possible alternatives:-
1) If one Doer arm-locks
the throat of the Done-to from behind and retreats into a corner sitting
on the ground legs wide, he can trap the Done-to's legs leaving the
second Doer to control the flailing hands. Still not easy to get both
hands singly into sleeves. Grabbing both wrists from INSIDE the sleeves
leaves first Doer from behind (while retaining elbow-around-throat hold)
to grab jacket collar with free hand, and pull it backwards to throat
and then, releasing the Done-to's throat, can quickly grab both ends
of collar strap at the back.
Then, in a carefully
pre-planned move, if each Doer grabs one of the Done-to's hands and
pulls sideways (Back of collar still grasped tightly), Done-to can be
face down on floor with arms spread before he knows what's happening.
In this quick flip it is essential for his feet to be kept wide apart.
One Doer kneeling
in front can then trap Done-to's head between thighs, while other kneels
between legs ... or lifts Done-to's ankles, crosses them and holds them
crossed with body weight. Jacket collar buckle plus one back strap at
shoulder-blade level can then be secured before remainder of jacket
can be positioned and final back buckles closed.
arms is achieved by Doer in front reaching for BOTH jacket mitts. Doer
behind can unexpectedly hoist back of collar upwards which allows arms
to be crossed, then head is quickly returned to be clamped between knees
of Doer in front and Doer behind threads sleeves through side loops
(most important) and cinches mitt buckle. Crotch strap becomes no problem
when ankles have been hobbled.
2) If initial wrestling hits the floor before either Doer gets a firm
hold, PART TWO of the previous sequence (Done-to face down, thighs trapping
his head, ankles lifted and crossed. Weight of Doers chest against crossed
ankles) is still practical. This position leaves both Doers with hands
free and Done-to's hands face down against the floor, head locked solid,
body not able to move forward or back, not able to raise butt. That's
the theory. In practice anything can happen.
3) Obviously, any Doer with wrestling skills has an advantage. An arm
lock against the joint and pressure applied can speed up the process
of submission. Even non-approved holds and squeezing to gain co-operation
is considered acceptable in some peoples rough-and-tumble fun book.
4) Perhaps the best advantage the Doers can have is for the Done-to
not to be able to see what is coming or where it's coming from. From
behind, dropping a canvas bag over the Done-to's head and closing at
neck leaves him totally disadvantaged. Still watch out for lucky kicks
and head butts - but generally speaking this Blind Man's Buff achieves
5) A very very effective "surprise attack" I've watched recently
was when from behind a Done-to suddenly found a sheet of plastic film
(serran-wrap or opened up plastic sack) thrown over his face from behind
and pulled backwards. Immediate reaction brings hands upwards to tear
at the plastic. Attention is away from what else is happening because
air supply is temporarily all he can think about. Whether he's kept
upright (he may still kick out) or turned face down on floor, the ends
of plastic sheet make good handles. Whatever Doers have planned next
(and it must be pre-planned and practised) needs to be done quickly
because a minute is about the most it should take before air supply
is restored. A traumatic experience if not expected.
Other methods of
wrestling someone into a jacket against their will are always of interest
to me. Your suggestions /descriptions will be welcomed - or videos!
Video games ...
Incidentally, if you plan to video any catch-as-catch-can action a very
useful tip is to work through the proposed action step-by-step in advance,
considering all possible alternatives, using a willingly involved stand-in
Done-to. During the practice sessions he should put up only a token
struggle, but indicate if the Doers are leaving openings that a determined
Done-to would grab.
When the routine
and objectives have been practised a few times with a camera handler
memorising the hoped-for routine and choosing where he should be to
best catch the next step of the hoped-for action but remaining out of
the way ... then is the time to bring in the Done-to who will be filmed.
This leaves the Doers and the camera with a pre-planned sequence and
the Done-to not knowing what will happen next. Such action is still
likely to shift in unexpected directions but, generally speaking, if
the routine is well rehearsed and opportunities for the Done-to to pull
surprises carefully avoided - some hot "spontaneous" action
can be captured on tape for future enjoyment. SEND ME A COPY!
Whatever turns you
on - play safe and have fun.
ARMY GAMES &
Real men don't do that sez who?!
ARMY GAMES INQUIRIES
(Excerpts from various letters)
... Get real! you think you're the only person in the world who has
"kinky" fantasies that involve Army games. Why do you think
Paint Ball games are currently so popular? All that dressing up in cammo
gear and running around the woods Bang Bang, you're dead! Muddy, bloody,
wet and wild, hung up or pinned down, tracking, smacking, hiding, getting
captured. Why do you think "SOLDER OF FORTUNE" magazine and
stories of mercenaries risking their necks are so popular? The Army
supply mail order catalogues are doing a roaring trade ...
... Yes, indeed,
pretend Army games suffer if the players aren't in shape - or have never
had the training. That doesn't mean guys who have, can't have fun training
guys who haven't. I agree that for people who've never experienced it
for real, it's usually very unreal. But, even ex service men who still
hanker after a bit of man to man stuff, pick and choose on which level
they play. All the tedious times and unpleasant (to their particular
taste) aspects of real Army scenarios get edited out. You are not alone,
believe me! Guys find ways to do it ... and I think a lot more would
like to join in if they could get their minds around it and justify
it to themselves (and their girl friends, wives, parents) ...
... Yes, the yen
to play Army games may seem "stupid to other people" but how
much more stupid than Rock Climbing or Cave Exploring. If you're "Turned
on by it" as you say you are, only you can say if the turn-on should
be kept to yourself or shared. Depending on the group, exercises can
be strictly non sexual or rampantly homo erotic ... the games you describe
are not uncommon, believe me (as some following clips will illustrate)
... Thanks for
the report on
field testing the water resistant "SLEEP SACK" . Glad it passed
the wind, water and temperature tests. Glad my "INITIATIVE TEST"
story inspired. Keep me posted about further adventures of your "team"
... Can I put you
in touch with other men who play Army games? well, friend, not until
you've put a few more cards on the table. There seems to be a sub text
to your letter and don't expect me to decode it. You're going to have
to give me a few more clues even if you're not exactly sure "where
you're at". Make three brief lists: (A) Things you know you're
looking for, or at least willing to try; (B) Things you know for definite
you would NOT like to happen ... but be careful, don't slam too many
doors too soon; under heading (C) list any things that you imagine you
would not like to happen ... but if you were in no position to prevent
them, you would deal with for the sake of experience. Maybe you would
end switching them to your (A) list! Feel free to speculate. Also, be
strictly honest about your age and state of fitness. In the meantime
here are "THREE SCENARIOS" (contents described on page 83)
. Get back to me saying what you found in them that pressed a few buttons
and also what was a definite turn off. That'll give us a better basis
for discussion. A lot of people are attracted to "Bondage"
because it allows them to surrender responsibility for what happens
next but, in advance, a few parameters can be set. Think about it talk
to me ... and cut down on the evasiveness!
... So, yes, I do know several groups of people who are actively into
Army games. Yes, some of them are Gay but there's more risk of you getting
raped or brutalised if you hung out with a bunch of "Straight but
raunchy" guys once the booze starts running. More about such groups
... don't be embarrassed
because you modify Government surplus rather than buy from FETTERS.
I still use (at every opportunity I get) a tough British army Combat
Jacket (Field jacket, to you) which I modified so wrists can be locked
inside front pockets into handcuffs attached to a padlocked waistchain
inside. Cuffs aren't visible if wearer keeps hands deep in pockets.
I still use it for taking someone totally helpless out in public with
all the risk and tension that involves ...
... So, yes, I do know several other people ... including an ex Royal
Marine who bought a World War Two underground army bunker on the edge
of a forest in a remote area of England. He and groups of like minded
ex army nuts spend wild weekends there away from wives and kids, playing
some really tough "training, discipline and punishment" games.
They also have a nice line in practising "Interrogation" techniques.
I leave it to your imagination ...
... Well, Mister
So, your previous letter was full of lies! and now we're on real name
terms. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Your army experience and current
employment as a State Trooper don't exclude you from the human race
and you're not the only one of your kind (profession or sexual complexity)
to read both PLAYBOY and BOUND AND GAGGED. I would firmly recommend
that you switch away from PLAYBOY to VARIATIONS and add CHECKMATE to
your list. Because military interrogation scenarios are high on the
turn on list you sent me the Editor of CHECKMATE (which now also incorporates
DUNGEONMASTER) knows such games from every angle and will, if encouraged,
offer you appropriate professional advice on military matters (see page
80 for magagine info.).
Thanks for returning
the three stories and your list of "Yes, no and maybes" regarding
content. As far as your Gay, Straight or Bi questions sorry, I'm not
a psychiatrist (although on these matters I could probably give you
better advice than a Shrink). My best advice to you at this time is
to forget about the Shrink and spend the money on buying magazines and
postage stamps. Then write to and talk to any advertiser you can contact
who sounds as if he may be on a wavelength even remotely similar to
yours (as you currently perceive it)! Then explore the territory from
all angles, even ads. which at first sight might seem threatening. There
are all shades of grey when it comes to the "... erotic attraction
whether overt or covert" (to use your phrase - I like it!) of the
games you described.
Only you can decide
how far in which direction when you're ready to move at what speed.
What you definitely do need to know is what alternatives are available
and how not to get in deeper than you can handle at any given point
... that is unless you enjoy the challenge of getting into something
that you can't get out of without having to deal with it first. It still
makes sense to define the general limits of play hence the list I asked
you for which I may show to a couple of people who may or may not contact
So, in your next
letter be more specific about your personal preference and "Druthers"
as Li'l Abner" would say (now he was a mixed up Bunny!). I know
in your case any form of overt sexual stuff is excluded which is no
problem to most of the army game players I know, even to those who enjoy
hot and heavy Mansex. They're not into rape. "MUTUAL CONSENT"
is the key phrase and "CONSENSUAL NON CONSENT" means that
strictly no go areas have been agreed in principle. Also, be careful
not to emphatically exclude things which ... later, in the right circumstances
... when you've gained a little more trust, you may like to be "persuaded"
to try. Believe me, as long as the game plan is established in advance,
these guys will respect your limits perhaps more so than a group of
so called "Straight" men when the action hots up. Repressed
sex is a dangerous thing ...
how much do you know about The Training Centre in Georgia? It offers
prison / capture and interrogation / mental hospital scenario weekends
for people who can afford it. They manage to secure the services of
real life cops, paramedics, army training personnel and local Heavies
to run the sessions!: (Men who pretend they only do it only for the
money! Oh, yeah?!). I'll send you details. They also make videos which
may be to your taste! Certainly no "Suck and fuck" as you
so graphically put it. (See also, 'BONDAGE ENDURANCE PROJECT' on page
A WORD OF WARNING:
Replying to Contact ads is something of an art - and can be a risky
business. Many raunchy ads are pure fiction, and the writers happy to
keep it that way. Often feedback is disappointing. I recommend always
telling the truth, particularly about age, experience, physical condition
For safety's sake it's wise to exchange a few letters and phone calls
before arranging to meet. Asking for a phone number that works can put
some people off, but until a certain trust has been built up, a face-to-face
meeting seems unlikely. Even then, meeting on neutral territory such
as a bar or diner is often best. Getting handcuffed and blindfolded
by a stranger and being loaded into a car and taken to an unknown destination
is a hot fantasy - but fraught with danger. Leaving at home evidence
of your previous contacts where it will be found in the event of unforeseen
circumstances is a wise precaution. Letting a Stranger know you've left
behind an information trail should only upset him if he has evil intentions.
Before this booklet is published I hope to have persuaded someone to
write a good article on answering magazine ads. Write me (enclosing
a S.A.S.E.) if you feel you need to find out more - and write me if
you have suggestions on the subject!
... Your letter about Lockable Clothes and carrying control and counter
control games out into public places encouraged me to dip back into
my files. I already sent you the lockable biker jacket descriptions
and details of the army jacket with hands handcuffed inside pockets
which can have many variations in sun and snow (if you happen to fall
over in public wearing it, it's virtually impossible to stand up again
without help!). I know a Swedish guy who often gets taken out for a
walk in snow covered woods trussed up under thick cold weather clothes.
It's amazing how often he happens to fall over. Sometimes he gets left
while his wife goes off for a walk on her own or maybe he gets turned
out of the car and told to make his own way home ...
... The story "Top Ridge Farm" ... not everybody's cup-of-tea.
Sorry the sexual side of it seemed a bit brutal to you. Takes all sorts
... as they say. Somebody I know even got Politically Correct about
suck and fuck sex between brothers (Is that natural experiment or incest?)
In fact, the story is based on real life and the brothers both survived
(still survive). Glad you liked (and would like to try) the idea of
spending all night lashed to the five barred gate in the middle of a
field ... suitably clothed, of course ...
... Thanks for photo of you in Foul Weather gear. Yes, games in the
rain turn me on too as you will gather from the farm story herewith
enclosed. Also "FURTHER ADVENTURES OF A MOTORCYCLE MESSENGER"
which I think John Strickland wrote with me in mind. Staked out in the
rain in full biker rain gear or diver's Dry Suit ... we all have our
funny little ways. Keep the suggestions, questions (and photos) flowing
... Great situation, the padded fishing suit made lockable with added
wrist, ankle, collar and waist belt. I guess, even when hands are free,
it's impossible to remove: Canal walking and fishing trips take on a
new dimension. Your suggestion for the athletic crotch protector with
urinal bag strapped to a thigh inside a locked suit is very practical;
you're not the first with that one! Let me know how the electronic remote
control "Zap" jock progresses. I've used one on someone in
the USA. There's a lot of potential if you get it right
idea, the Arm splints inside sleeves of street clothes. These alone
make removing any jacket impossible if it's zipped/buttoned in front.
Unfortunately, in a bike jacket, it also makes it impossible for the
wearer to ride solo, and dangerous even as a passenger. However, in
many situations soft splints can totally prevent elbows from bending.
If carried down into gloves or mitts they're even more effective and
undetectable for outdoor activities.
... Glad to hear
you made your own modified Combat Jacket with chain handcuff belt inside.
The idea is catching on. Recently a like minded friend in New York met
me for lunch with a buddy in tow, suitably locked into a similar jacket.
Very pink around the ears, we took him around Woolworth's and the Bank
before going into a Coffee Shop (wonder if the Bank security TV monitors
kept an eye on him. He was certainly looking very furtive). He was new
to our little games and probably expected to sit through the meal only
as a spectator. Relieved when the key was slid across the table to him
... he then realised what picking it up would entail. Taking a deep
breath he cautiously eased one manacled hand into view to pick up the
key and take it into his pocket and was philosophical when ordered to
open only one cuff. Trying to achieve this while sitting at a table
in a crowded restaurant made him look as if he was tossing himself off.
He achieved his task and dutifully returned the key to the table. The
rest of the meal was fun for two and severe test of nerves for one.
Eating bacon and runny eggs with only one hand free is complicated and
quite entertaining to watch if you're that sort of person (and who do
we know who isn't?)! My kind of mind game bondage and control in the
great outdoors of mid-town Manhattan.
The guy who instigated the scene also runs a mountain "Establishment"
where anything can happen. You should meet him you have a lot in common
mainly a strong streak of gleeful sadism! Write again soon. Regards
to the Gang ...
... PS I promised you a copy of the long letter about heavy layers of
motorcycle gear and outdoor games. Hope it doesn't sound too extreme
but, if you're into motorcycle gear it should get the juices flowing.
HEAVY DUTY, HIGH
INTENSITY OUTDOOR GAME
The following scenario is a favourite of mine. I wrote it out in detail
several years back - and have played a part in it several times since
doing it to others and having it done unto me the rules changing slightly
each time - adding surprise elements, intensifying it and encouraging
other people to build on the basic idea. If you enjoy "mind games"
there's a lot of possible variations on this theme. That's what makes
life fun if you're creative. Anyway, hope the scenario's not too hot
and heavy for your delicate tastes. It's certainly very much an outdoor
AS RESTRAINT EQUIPMENT:
British motorcycle clothing, due to our climate, is thick and tough
and naturally quite restrictive. Even people who don't have my highly
developed "kink" for layer upon layer get a kick out of stomping
around in it. In London there's a whole subculture of Motorcycle Couriers
who must be masochists to spend their days weaving through the fumes
and filth thrown up by heavy traffic especially in wet weather. For
people who are turned on to the imagery and restrictive potential of
heavy bike clothing, a world of possibilities is opened up by the fact
that this is easily available and is a familiar sight in the streets
and countryside. So games where a willing victim can actually be taken
outdoors efficiently restrained and trapped inside an innocent looking
biker's outfit are easily possible.
The layer upon bulky-layer
effect is there already, especially in cold weather when thick insulated
underwear covered by leathers, covered by rainproof suit are all necessary.
In a "Control" situation additions to this can soon reduce
mobility dramatically. Instead of thermal underwear, imagine wearing
a tight skin-diver's neoprene wet suit under thick motorcycle leather
jacket and pants ... then with fisherman's rubber hip boots pulled over
leather pants legs covered by a biker's solidly practical wet weather
over suit so everything underneath is hidden from view. Because these
everyday looking one piece suit are such a common sight, it never gets
a second look. Even just walking the streets, passers-by assume you're
just walking to or from a parked bike.
So, if padded leather
biker's gloves are added (they usually have wrist straps) under leather
jacket cuffs, plus waterproof over mitts undetectably taped in place
with black duct tap it becomes impossible for the wearer to remove the
layers without outside help. So, there you have a restrainee, mobile
but only just, ready to be "taken for a ride" ... or even
forced to walk the streets and subjected to various sorts of challenges
or tests. If accompanied by someone also dressed in bike clothes, this
incapacitated totally encased "victim" can be left standing
sweating on a street corner helpless until collected or left to walk
home alone! With a closed faced crash helmet, it is even possible in
extreme circumstances to tape the mouth under the helmet ... and unsuspecting
Joe Public is none the wiser (unless somebody asks our hero/victim for
street directions! !)
If this scenario
sounds unpleasantly extreme, please be reassured that it's not my intention
to shock or spook you. You asked about different types of games. Main
thing to remember ... not everybody's into everything! But knowing where
other people are 'at' helps you to know exactly where you are ... and
where you're not. Doubly reassuring to know you're not as weird as some
... which maybe give you courage to experiment with ideas of your own
you've perhaps been resisting because you think they're too extreme.
You picked up on the surgical splints worn in public as restraints idea.
The real hospital equipment is very expensive, but occasionally is available
second-hand; body braces, splints, callipers and crutches seriously
slow someone down in public, especially if they're accompanied by a
firm but supportive attendant. Here's a note from the files about medical
... If the more authentic mental hospital-type restraint scenarios interest
you: I've always been fascinated by the possibilities of finding myself
in a hospital or detention situation which is completely outside my
control. Then my instinct would be to fight and thrash around as much
as energy or opportunity would permit. The ideal restraint equipment
scenario again includes canvas (usually with leather straps) strait-jacket
or "Punishment suit", plus bed straps and the possibility
of other forms of securing violent and uncooperative people being used
in a variety of ways.
Enough about me tell me about you ...
... In New York
I used to hang out with a couple of roustabout guys who work as Paramedics.
Their work often involved dealing with drunks and drug crazed people.
Together we experimented and perfected efficient (without being unnecessarily
brutal) techniques for subduing and immobilising even the most violent
and determined "subjects". In experimental sessions with these
two idiots I did at the time enjoy acting as either the controller or
victim. What happened after the practice session "victim"
was suitably restrained was a matter of personal preference of whoever
ended up on top and the mood of the moment or the provocation given
by the subdued victim.
philosophy" is basically if you allow yourself to get into a tight
corner you have surrendered responsibility or invited whatever might
happen next depending on who you allow yourself to be subdued by. There
are risks involved and always unknown factors to gamble on. Sometimes
the game becomes one of surviving the moment you're not actually enjoying.
I can usually get through such a moment by planning suitable revenge
for some time in the future because I usually only like to get involved
in play with people who are prepared to take as good as they can give
(or vice versa).
... In the meantime,
I'll try and dig out some notes on hitchhike and abduction scenarios
which you might enjoy (if the stuff you sent me is any indication).
But I'm cautious about kidnap fantasies. They make me nervous because
of the current dangers in the USA, with so many remote areas and deserted
highways. The following notes explore it from various angles:
NOTES ON KIDNAP
... First, let me say, your "Kidnap" fantasies aren't so weird
as you think and certainly not uncommon ... mainly as a preliminary
to some-thing else. However, they are mainly fantasies and, for most
people, should remain fantasy. The real thing must be excessively traumatic;
on a sliding scale with mugging or attempted rape. Fantasy versions
of real life dramas are, however, very much part of both straight and
gay turn ons ... for those who enjoy physical control game playing.
In the eyes of the law, the abduction and kidnap possibilities described
below could be prosecuted as if they had been actual crimes. Any "Snatch"
without the prior consent of the victim, even if you think it's something
he will appreciate in retrospect, is sailing very close to the wind
legally speaking ... particularly if something goes sour. Next, denial
by a previously "willing" victim that he ever gave consent
could also turn a fantasy game into a nightmare for the perpetrators.
However, from the other angle, a fantasy game "Kidnapping"
is ruined by explicit prior consent by the "victim to be".
An interesting conundrum to which I do not know the answer. I only know
that the situation's a recurring theme in many people's dream book.
This keeps cropping up in these essays. Active, practical "Control
and counter control" demands previous consultation and must inevitably
remain within the area of play known to appeal to (or at least be acceptable
to) the "subject". Prior negotiation or planning need not
always take place between the prospective Doers and the Done to: Intermediaries
can act as communicators. Correspondence is another alternative, useful
because it provides written record of the potential victim's agreement
to or request for the experience. However, if something goes wrong,
the Doers are the ones in trouble with the law. When it comes to advance
negotiation, every would be player of SM, bondage or physical control
games should have their personal orientation list in focus, on file
AND in their pocket. When it comes to defining the parameters of interest
and exclusion before a Scene of any kind, such a list serves to establish
no go areas either physically or psychological. With kidnap, such pre
planning can totally undermine a surprise "Snatch" ... but,
to be realistic, a pre agreed written list avoids denial that certain
limits were set, and makes sure that even the willing "victim"
doesn't forget to mention contact lenses, diabetes or the wooden leg.
(Continues on next page)
PLANNING A KIDNAP
Staging a simulated "Snatch" in the real world.
If it is to take place in public it's a complicated business. If the
intended victim is likely to put up a struggle, public places are full
The slightest hint to passers by may result in police being called or
else the would be kidnappers could get beaten up or shot (in the USA).
Smoothly picking up somebody and taking him or her somewhere they would
prefer not to be needs very careful pre planning, and surprise factors
usually crop up to complicate the plan. If the "victim" is
determined to kick up as much fuss as possible, extreme physical efficiency
is demanded from the Hijackers. People trained in unarmed combat are
taught just how damaging some of their skills can be. Medical and legal
implications make this a high risk fantasy if put into practice.
It all looks
so easy in the Movies.
We grow up thinking how simple it is to render someone unconscious or
to disable them. Pressure points, karate chops or a quick bop on the
head are all seriously dangerous in real life. Waking up after being
knocked unconscious is not a happy experience. Chloroform, ether or
'something in a drink' usually result in the victim waking up feeling
terrible for quite a long period. Medically, a full anaesthetic needs
to be recovered from slowly so it's no way to start a fun Scene.
But it can be
A swift and silent move on someone who is not expecting it is possible
if carefully planned and CAREFULLY carried through. Jumping them inside
a private space whether their own home or some neutral space is obviously
preferable to a public place. Once the victim is off balance there is
a variety of ways of reducing their ability to fight back or attract
attention too many to list here. Enough to say the game must be within
the capacity of the "victim" to survive unharmed and not result
in injury or (hopefully) loss of friendships.
If the "Snatch" is to happen close to where the next part
of the scenario is to take place, this is a considerable plus factor
unless part of the fun is the transportation of a potentially unco-operative
"victim". Availability of suitable vehicle plus means of loading
and unloading what may be an embarrassingly squirming or noisy cargo
is a major factor. A scuffle and a van screeching away leaving a single
shoe in the gutter will not go unnoticed as it so often does in the
movies. Even silent scuffles in Shopping Mall car parks are likely to
attract spectators but, again, it can be done. It just needs pre planning
and a lot of good luck. The essential thing is we're assuming a fun
exercise among imaginative kink heads, however rough the action may
get. In public places a couple of clipboards and a camera tripod are
very reassuring to passers by. But even that has risks. In many areas
you need a permit to film in public. Another defence is, perhaps, a
detailed written game-plan left somewhere the police can go and find
it if you've been arrested on suspicion of trying to pull a real kidnap.
This can be as much fun as the actual event (if it ever takes place).
A build-up to a purely hypothetical kidnap may provide many hours of
stimulating discussion and knockabout 'dry run' action although the
actual event naturally brings with it a greater adrenalin rush. For
the "victim" anyway the actual "Snatch" is something
he/her will never forget ... that I can tell you from experience (see
"INITIATIVE TEST" on next page). Knowing your objectives once
the snatch has been made is also essential. The excitement of the opening
moment can be followed by disappointing anti climax. The action may
quickly become an embarrassing non event unless the dramatic line has
been thought through to a conclusion satisfying to everybody concerned.
NB: As when
attempting to wrestle an unwilling victim into a strait-jacket take
precautions; wear shin guards and a protective crotch cover take it
from one who knows!
A story of that title appears in a small volume discussed later in this
book. This story may read like fiction, but it actually happened almost
as written. It describes a military Initiative Exercise in which an
unwilling victim is transported from point A to point B without being
able to resist, escape or attract attention. It happened almost forty
years ago and the forcibly abducted victim was me. Not exactly a kidnap
because I knew who my abductors were and their objectives. I knew they
were determined to succeed and willing to sacrifice my comfort to achieve
their objective. OK aged twenty-one I already had ten years of energetic
"Houdini" games behind me but, in fact, it was my first ever
experience of being physically restrained against my will and, at the
time, I wanted OUT! Of the many occasions before or since, that one
remains totally clear in my mind. Which perhaps indicates that being
so unexpected and NON CONSENSUAL is what made it such a vivid experience.
Forty years on I can tell the story and enjoy it in graphic detail but
at the time it was not fun. But as I've said before, that's true of
a lot of rough, tough and uncomfortable "Scenes"; they may
become enjoyable only in retrospect. Anyway, if you're that way inclined
"INITIATIVE TEST is a very potent story (see STORYLINES).
Proposal for a Project
London 15th April
Great to receive your letter. Yes, if you think I could contribute something
to your seminar on "LONG TERM CONFINEMENT SCENES" it will
certainly brighten up my trip to the USA in June. Not sure exactly what
I can contribute, though. You have done similar workshops without outside
help, and your article from way-back on the "Psychology of Captivity"
(See footnote) covers the subject pretty thoroughly. You know what I
feel about "pretend" imprisonment situations - that was well
covered in my "Boredom in bondage" ... and that little essay
didn't go down well with people who like playing jail cell games. For
the record let me re-state the core of that argument:-
1) Straight forward
in-jail scenes, to be realistic involve long periods of tedium. I
know you have many tricks for keeping a Military Brig scenario bubbling
along but this demands constant input from the "keepers"
... and is consequently, unrealistic.
2) However long the sustained scene is planned to go on, it must have
been agreed to some extent with the prisoner to take time off from
the real world. So he's mentally secure in the knowledge that it will
end within a predictable timescale. So the experience is less stressful
than in a real hostage or kidnap situation.
3) Whatever prior agreements were reached, if the detainee changes
his mind part-way through and demands release, to keep him against
his will becomes a crime irrespective of any prior agreement ... unless
a legal contract can not only be devised BUT DEFENDED IN COURT if
My general input
to your Workshop:
You and your henchmen are already adept at the Interrogation/Resistance
to Torture type tests. (Incidentally, I was very intrigued by your recent
weekend Training Course on Interrogation Techniques. Would like to have
been an observer at the practical sessions. Is there video or a written
In June I'd prefer you to decide which if any area my contribution might
cover. One aspect we might discuss is how general jail cell situations
are seriously intensified when restraints are added. Not just manacles
and chains, but when strait-jackets, head-bags, bodybags and sacks and
strap-down stretchers are unexpectedly introduced; these produce much
quicker effect of helplessness on non-bondage oriented "detainees".
It's something we could discuss. Give me a call. However, if you would
like to get away slightly from the pretend capture/willing imprisonment
scenario I'm working on something that might throw a lot of different
This is a Project I've been working towards for quite a while. I already
mentioned to you about wanting to get some video footage of LONG TERM
PHYSICAL RESTRAINT sessions. This may be outside the scope of your presentation
for June - but I know it's something we'd both enjoy working on ...
and you certainly know several people who'd be eager to participate
if the sessions were set up efficiently.
Basic premise is that most "Bondage" photos or commercial
video footage are of people only recently tied, wrapped or strapped.
I'm interested in the subtle variations of body language and the progression
of psychological/physical changes which happen when the human body has
been restrained for different lengths of time. My plan is to establish
a standardised static camera set-up and session format in which suitable
volunteers would be roped, strapped or taped and just left to deal with
the situation. Once the subject stops being aware of the camera and
putting on any sort of performance it could be very interesting raw
footage. Not most people's idea of exciting videos but I'm also interested
in developing some new video editing techniques.
Certainly the sessions wouldn't be uneventful. As you know, even relatively
short periods of immobilisation can have unexpected effects. Very unpredictable.
The most determined-to-stay-cool-and-survive tough customers suddenly
get violent panic attacks. Alternatively a transformation from initially
feisty into docile acceptance is more usual. "The bondage Glow"
as Richard Hunter calls that smile you often see when you unwrap somebody
after a long session in immobilising sensory deprivation. Again, the
problem of initially willing victims who Then change their minds comes
up. Maybe I've solved this.
For "UNDER WRAPS" I've devised an advertisement and am in
the process of drafting a Briefing Document and Agreement Form. In addition
to this I enclose here details of an INDUCTION INTERVIEW which in itself
might produce a lot of interesting video footage. During this on-camera
question and answer sequence every prospective candidate for a long-term
restraint session will sit facing the camera and not only verbally agree
to a range of possibilities (which he has previously agreed to on paper),
but be asked to re-state on camera that he is prepared to accept a point
at which any future change of heart on his part will be denied by force
This interview will, if nothing else, produce some very tense and dramatic
video footage; very similar to the sequence in "SCENARIO FOR A
LEATHER FANTASY" when the guy who wants to experience bondage for
the first time is made to ask for, in detail, everything that is going
to happen ... right up to the moment when he is made to ask for the
hood and gag which will prevent him from any further ability to say
"No". Very tense and very hot to watch! I guess the tape would
also be sufficient legal evidence that the experiment was entered into
willingly, including the "surrender of consent" clause.
Even if what I'm planning is not appropriate for your June event, I
think I shall be ready to launch a few experimental sessions around
that time. Please read the attached and give me a call.
With all good wishes - Jim
CHALLENGE, ENDURANCE, SURVIVAL
Serious experiments into the effects of physical restraint for extended
periods will take place in New York in May/June this year. Experienced
military training personnel will supervise. All candidates must be willing
to be tested for physical fitness, general intelligence and ability
to deal with rigorous endurance tests which last anything from 2 to
All sessions will be video taped and results may be published.
No pay but an opportunity to explore your real potential.
No sexual activity. Sexual orientation immaterial.
If you are in good health, physically fit, between 21 and 40 years old
and would be available to participate, for further information send
self-addressed stamped envelope to ... ?
INITIAL REPLY =
Letter thanking applicant.
Give details of organisers qualifications.
Outline objectives and structure of tests.
Detail examples of different types of restraint situations and tests.
Stipulate that legally binding contract/agreement must be signed.
Induction interview to be videoed.
Permission to allow still picture and videoed results to be
Fully explain surrender of right to opt out after mutually agreed
limits have been set and accepted.
Part One =
Detailed questioning of:-
Current health status and physical fitness.
Education and previous work experience.
Hobbies / sports
Explore subject's general attitude to proposed tests, SM, machismo.
Part Two =
If seemingly appropriate as volunteer:-
Make list which covers all possible psychological or physical no-go
areas including allergies, inability to accept upside-down suspension
(for example). Also list possible acceptable exclusions including no
sexual, genital or anal interference. Include other possible questionable
topics such as do they wear glasses, smoke, drink, use recreational
NB: This should be the most comprehensive review of their background
and mental/physical potential. Your suggestions would be welcomed.
HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN INTERVIEWED, BRIEFED ON PROPOSED EXPERIMENT AND
HAS COMPLETED AND SIGNED AN EXTENSIVE QUESTIONNAIRE/AGREEMENT TO PARTICIPATE;
HAS ALSO AGREED TO REPEAT HIS AGREEMENT ON VIDEO.
CAMERA ON TRIPOD
IS PLACED BEFORE A METAL CHAIR WHICH IS AGAINST BLANK WALL.
INTO SHOT BEHIND CHAIR. HE MAY BE WEARING KHAKI COVERALLS, ARMY FATIGUES
OR HIS OWN CLOTHES?
HE CARRIES IDENTIFICATION BOARD.
VOICE FROM OUT
OF SHOT BEHIND CAMERA SPEAKS.
Face Front. Hold
identification board across your chest.
HE DOES SO. IT
READS "LONG-TERM PHYSICAL RESTRAINT EXPERIMENT" AND A THREE-FIGURE
A CAMERA FLASH IS SEEN.
HE DOES SO. ANOTHER
Sit in the chair.
BOARD TO SOMEONE OFF-CAMERA AND SITS.
CAMERA SHOT NARROWS TO FRAME HIM CROTCH TO TOP OF HEAD AND REMAINS
STATIC FOR THE WHOLE INTERVIEW.
During this interview
each question requires from you a definite response. This response must
be verbal - not nods. You will answer each question with "Yes"
or "Affirmative" if this is your wish. If you disagree or
wish to qualify your reply you are free to do so. Do you confirm that
this is so?
THAT A RESPONSE IS REQUIRED FROM THE VOLUNTEER AT THIS POINT.
SEQUENCE OF QUESTIONS PROCEEDS AS WRITTEN UNLESS ANY RESPONSE IS NEGATIVE
OR TOO HESITANT.
State your name
You have signed a written agreement to willingly undergo a long-term
physical restraint and endurance test?
You have been given assurances that your physical and mental health
will be safeguarded - but the tests will be intense, uncomfortable and
You are at liberty to back out at any point up until the end of this
video interview. Correct?
You agree that after a given point, having confirmed that you agree
to the parameters of the proposed test, you will relinquish all rights
to opt out.
Your participation will continue by force if necessary, once you have
agreed to the general parameters of the physical restraint endurance
test and confirmed your willingness to enter into this agreement. Confirm.
If the specifics of your written and videoed agreements are adhered
to by me and my assistants you confirm that you are willing to accept
and endure all and any physical restraint, immobilization, incarceration
however uncomfortable, stressful, intense this may become?
You accept that these experiments may last anything from two to twenty-four
You accept that you may physically be prevented from resisting, questioning,
or at times even communicating with the coordinators of the experiment
once it has commenced?
You confirm that you have stated and signed that you are in good health?
You have, as far as you are aware, no respiratory, heart or circulatory
You agree that, subject to specified exclusions you will accept and
endure all and every physical restraint position and situation which
we deem necessary to this experiment?
This is your final opportunity to specify and confirm any limitations
or exclusions. Feel free at this point to stipulate any prohibition
or exclusions. You are also at liberty to ask any questions at this
DURING THE NEXT
SEQUENCE THE VOLUNTEER IS ENCOURAGED TO LIST VERBALLY ANY PREVIOUSLY
HE IS ALSO PROMPTED
TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS OR CLARIFY POINTS PREVIOUSLY AGREED.
INTERVIEWER MUST AT THIS POINT INTRODUCE ANY PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN EXCLUSIONS
NOT VERBALLY RESTATED BY THE SUBJECT.
In your written
agreement you have confirmed that beating, striking, physical and verbal
abuse will not be included in the experiment: not because you stipulated
it, but because the objective is survival of the effects of restraint,
immobilization and isolation. Correct?
You also agreed that it shall be our objective to test your limits by
bringing you to a point when you would, if permitted, terminate the
You have agreed that if such point is reached you wish NOT to be allowed
to terminate the experiment. Yes?
This agreement to allow us to explore your limits and continue with
the experiment by force if necessary is willingly accepted?
Final clarifications. (DEPENDING ON SPECIFIED EXCLUSIONS) You agree
to be restrained by any means, with any materials in any position we
deem appropriate and not injurious to your health?
You agree that we and only we shall decide if any situation or position
for whatever duration is too demanding for you to endure?
You agree specifically to being gagged if and when necessary?
You agree to be blindfolded, hooded or otherwise isolated as we see
You accept that air supply may occasionally be limited but not beyond
a safe and professionally controlled level?
You will cooperate in the initial stages in terms of entering the experiment
clothed or unclothed?
There will be NO specifically sexual activity but genital restraint
or encasement may be part of the total physical control situation?
(UNLESS OTHERWISE PREVIOUSLY SPECIFIED!!) You specifically accept that
there may also be non-sexual anal or oral plugging as part of the total
physical control. This has not been excluded?
(UNLESS OTHERWISE PREVIOUSLY SPECIFIED!!) There may be liquid input
orally or anally. You agree that this has not been excluded?
Finally you confirm here that your written agreement and this video
were undertaken willingly and without duress?
You are now ready to begin a period of confinement, physical restraint
for an undetermined period lasting from two to twenty-four hours as
I and other investigators decide?
Once more you confirm that, from this point on, you agree to surrender
your right to terminate the experiment, and you agree that we shall
be free to continue as we deem fit, if necessary by force.
Apply initial restraints.
CAMERA STAYS STEADY
ON WAIST-TO-TOP OF HEAD SHOT AS HIS HANDS ARE STRAPPED BEHIND BY AN
UNIDENTIFIED FIGURE BEHIND THE CHAIR. THIS ASSISTANT WEARS ARMY FATIGUES
OR SIMILAR; HIS FACE REMAINS OUT OF SHOT.
THE VICTIM STEADILY AS HIS LEGS ARE STRAPPED TO THE CHAIR (OUT OF
NEXT A SOLID LEATHER
STRAP FIXES HIS CHEST AND ARMS TO THE CHAIR.
THE FIGURE BEHIND
THE CHAIR PRODUCES A ROLL OF DUCT TAPE AND UNWINDS A STRIP NOISILY,
READY FOR THE NEXT MOVE.
Confirm that you
willingly surrender your right to opt out from this point on or communicate
further. Last chance?
TAPE IS PLACED
ACROSS THE OPEN MOUTH AND THEN WOUND TO COVER WHOLE
OF LOWER FACE.
You are still free
to change your mind if you wish. No worse will be thought of you as
a man. If you wish to be released blink once. If you wish the experiment
to continue blink twice.
IF TWO BLINKS.
IF TWO BLINKS.
We have affirmation. Proceed with experiment.
Proposal for a book - 1977
Early this century
HARRY HOUDINI, illusionist and Escape Artist, spent over 20 years challenging
"anybody and everybody" to devise any restraint situation
from which he could not escape. Police, fire fighters, sailors, lumberjacks,
box makers, boiler makers, Boy Scouts, Insane Asylum attendants and
Suffragettes came forward with plans based on their personal skills.
Every challenge he accepted he beat ... according to the records. If
he ever failed to meet a challenge, evidence is hard to find. Were people
more gullible then? Were they less imaginative or technically competent
than now? Was HOUDINI more of a conjurer and illusionist than an "Escapologist"?
will ask the question ... Could he get away with it today? It will review
the techniques with which HOUDINI managed to side-step difficult challenges
but, more importantly, will ask what challenges a "HOUDINI"
might expect to meet today. With modern materials and equipment and,
perhaps, less gullibility ... who might come forward with public challenges
and risk failing as ALL those who challenged HOUDINI seem to have failed.
COULD YOU DEVISE
A SERIOUS CHALLENGE for a present-day "HOUDINI"? Using
your special knowledge of a process or material, your access to equipment
or techniques, how might you challenge a determined "Escapologist"?
This question will be asked of many people in different walks of life
and, I intend to seriously review any suggestions. The aim will be to
evaluate each offered challenge and, if possible, explore it's efficiency.
If enough challenges are received, they will dictate the final form
and content of the proposed book "HOUDINI TODAY".
Please contact me
Delighted and surprised to get a letter from you after all these years.
Yes, the "FETTERS" you remember from 1978 has not only kept
going but shifted it's territory drastically. My original enthusiasm
for HOUDINI struck chords in so many other people ... both it and I
took off in unexpected directions. My attraction to "Escapology"
and the Houdini legend gradually refocused ... and maybe is still changing
... but it has not taken over my life!
No, sadly, the HOUDINI TODAY book never got into print ... but researching
the challenges which came in from the magazine article gave me a lot
of fun opportunities during 1977/8. Perhaps that was my true motive
behind the Project in those days. I kept detailed notes of the various
challenges and experiments for several years, thinking that one day
I might pick up on the idea. Memory jogged by your letter, I will settle
down later today and write a brief review of a few of the challenges
I received and explored physically/technically. Main problem at the
time was that it was a hobby and my theatre career kept me extremely
busy. Also, the process of actually trying out the challenges meant
that a photographer should have been standing by to capture the details.
That never seemed practical so we lost some good opportunities ... and,
anyway, I was too busy enjoying accepting and evaluating each "Challenge"
which, let's face it, is what I've always enjoyed.
back into the cellar for the relevant note books the following memories
will be off the top of my head ... but I will enjoy rethinking the Project
... and it might be a basis for further discussion.
Apart from that,
I'm delighted to have heard from you ... etc. etc.
NOTES ON THE
"HOUDINI TODAY" PROJECT
From late 1977 to mid 78 I guess I had about 20 tentative enquiries
or "offers" as the result of circulating a leaflet outlining
the Project (see previous page) which I also mentioned in an article
in Man's World magazine and a now defunct popular magazine in Britain.
In addition I actively solicited suggestions from friends and friends
of friends with skills or who worked with potential challenge materials
It's easy to see how Houdini was able to embarrass people who challenged
him into doing a less than efficient job. Many of my willing challengers
were easily thrown by the physical intimacy of the tie or restraint
they'd worked out in their minds. I usually invited the challenger to
bring a pal or mate and this usually added to the embarrassment unless
they were very determined or truculent. It was then interesting to find
out if they'd modify their intentions if I made it look as if they were
hurting or it was uncomfortable.
I really wanted
challenges that did work, rather than to beat the challenge, because
that was the point I wanted to make in the book ... that one of HOUDINI's
main skills was manipulating the Challengers. So, I soon developed a
technique for after having demonstrated why their original idea for
the challenge might fail ... helping them make it more effective and
be able to apply it more efficiently without being put off by any Escape
Artist's tricks. Also, this way I had more fun by getting the best of
both worlds ... escaping and failing to escape!!
THE BEST OF THESE
Wire ladder tie.
A pair of lively lads who ran the local metalworking and welding yard
took up the challenge. Their original idea involved a couple of complicated
braces and bars and closing them with hot bolts ... but they settled
for a more manageable challenge using wire and a metal ladder.
Once they'd gotten used to me being uncooperative and "sneaky"
as they put it ... they learned that they had to be very determined
and very organised. After a little private practice they settled for
a Ladder Tie, using soft wire and pliers. To avoid complaints of cutting
skin or circulation I allowed them a couple of practice runs (I'm no
fool!). Eventually the "Challenge" they settled for involved:-
feet on the first rung, ankles wired to sides of ladder, then below
and above knees and at top of thighs ... all separately wired and made-off.
The waist and chest, then arms above head at elbows and wrists. Having
started from ankles and getting used to the process, they could take
one side each and keep pace with one another. Also, they discovered
that the soft wire needn't be tight so no excuses for having to let
me loose. Each individual wrapping point was: - round the ladder and
limb twice and then between ladder and limb in a wire Square knot configuration.
After a couple of practice runs their third try went like clockwork
and was totally escape proof.
with me they conned a young apprentice who worked in the yard to try
this "challenge" they had devised (He wasn't in on any of
the trial-and-error sessions). Having wired him to the ladder they loaded
him and the ladder onto a truck and drove him around the neighbourhood
for an afternoon. The intellectual and physical process of working out
the challenge was enjoyed by the two guys and they were elated by their
success. I wish I had photos (or better still, video) of it.
A telephone installer
also thought it would be easy to use wire for an ordinary rope tie.
Naturally it was a very un giving material but he did leave lose ends
which, when I was left alone, could be reached first with teeth and
then fingers. Having demonstrated that escape was relatively easy, together
we devised a tie that wouldn't allow the same opportunities for escape
but it wasn't exactly a spectacular challenge. I asked him to try with
some industrial adhesive tape he also used in his work. That, as I already
knew from experience, could be very effective but he wasn't a very inspired
A guy who did
rock climbing and camping first tried his abseiling harness and
rope as a basis for restraint. I'd already explored all of this, but
hoped for imaginative input from him. As an alternative he tried his
steel framed back pack with arms lashed down either side and tied off
around body. This had been used in the "Initiative Test" situation
and is simple but effective as a joke played on a happy rambler. However,
in a serious challenge situation, left alone I demonstrated that escape
was possible. He got more into the swing of things with other mountaineer
gear, and the session was fun, but nothing I hadn't already tried before
came out of it.
A lorry driver
with access to mechanically tightened straps and tarps was persuaded
to try his skills in lashing down loads. Several attempts at rolling
in tarpaulin were very hit and miss. Although full body tarp wraps can
be hard work to wriggle out of, I still haven't devised a totally escape-proof
system. It should be possible! Too unpredictable for a serious public
challenge ...but fun to work on!
A Packing Department
employee thought wide packing tape would be easy, but failed four
times before he devised a routine and configuration which really held.
I demonstrated this by keeping my body rigid during wrapping - then,
as soon as I started the escape, by bending the body - all weak points
in the wrapping immediately became obvious.
Several people who
approached me really just wanted me to tie them up and didn't have any
clear idea for a "challenge" as such ... and I was interested
in learning rather than teaching.
I APPROACHED WERE QUITE INTERESTING:
An Army guy, active in the Territorials (National Reserve) had
access to his unit equipment and premises which were mainly used in
the evenings and weekends. As an Instructor he was familiar with webbing
strappery and assault course equipment . Obviously he was an old hand
at horsesing around on army exercises with groups of younger lads, and
had several well tried ways of tying somebody to a tree, to a climbing
net and over a low "Balancing Bar" (like a tree trunk lying
a foot above the ground supported at both ends). He was well practised
and could have offered several serious challenges but we never got round
to documenting them. The potential was there.
The local Fire
Station responded well to the leaflet. They have a range of efficient
equipment for hoisting and lowering, strapping and wrapping including
an efficient carrying/lowering stretcher similar to Mountain Rescue.
A couple of the men described different initiation tricks they like
to play on new recruits at different Fire Houses. Usual stuff, including
strapping them into a lowering harness for tower exercise, rendering
them helpless and hanging, usually hosing them down before leaving them.
An alternative was in physical exercise sessions, to show them a first
aid splinting technique with adhesive tape. Often they'd just grab the
"Initiate" after his first call out, strap his hands to his
knees with various hose straps (short webbing straps) and leave him
to struggle while everybody else goes off to the canteen. If they're
really being vindictive they grab one of their number in the showers,
tie them naked to a canteen table and leave them until just before the
kitchen women are due to arrive. All the usual macho semi-sexual harrassment.
Of course that was all before women were permitted to join the crews.
Maybe they now join in the fun. I wonder if any of it happens to the
females - I wouldn't think so.
men are notorious for their rugged life style and in a coastal town
I did manage to get a couple of the local crew to show me over the Boathouse.
There they had a rescue sling, a sort of canvas and bamboo cradle used
for swinging an injured seaman from one ship to another. I persuaded
them to strap me into it. It had wrist, knee and ankle straps plus head
stabiliser straps ... but it was possible to get out of it (it wasn't
designed to keep people in by force). However, after I'd disappointed
them I suggested that whoever they usually transported in these cradles
would be wearing heavy seagoing oilskins and boots or fully waterproof
Immersion Suit. As an Escape Challenge exercise I suggested that in
full gear, strapped into the stretcher it would be impossible to work
free. They decided this was a wonderful idea (and I wasn't going to
disagree) so we all got togged up in their working suits and then they
strapped me into the stretcher and went back to the pub, leaving me
to stew. I guess I enjoyed that more than most of the challenges. I
was only disappointed they didn't wait and take me out in the boat the
next time they had a call out.
As you can see from
these notes I long ago discovered my particular attraction for Houdini
exploits was not for lock picking or magician's tricks ... but for the
struggling and trying to outwit somebody who knows his own equipment
and doesn't like to lose a challenge. I also learned that the most enjoyable
times for me were those spent unable to escape and waiting for other
people to decide when (and occasionally at what price) I should be freed.
Hope the preceding
comments haven't freaked you as a "Serious Collector" and
card-carrying member of the Brotherhood of Magicians. I still am an
avid collector of cuffs and Houdini memorabilia ... and I don't want
to debase the memory of HH. The legend he created is based on the fact
that he seems always to have Escaped!