TNB Night Owl – Weird Stuff

Tree, photo by Floyd Wilde

There’s a famous scene from the Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera which involves a stateroom becoming overcrowded.

It’s hardly the only space that’s been filled to capacity with human beings, though. Piling what appears to be too many clowns into a small car is a long-established joke, and cramming people into a phone booth was a teen prank for decades, until phone booths went away.

If putting too many bodies in a tiny space seems strange (if not reminiscent of torture techniques of centuries past), then students at the University of Maine decided to make it stranger still.

In 1961, the Pi Phi Sorority and the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity on the University of Maine campus were having difficulty recruiting new members. While they could have resorted to the ubiquitous phone booths or even cars or rooms, they instead decided to use a resource very common in Maine: a tree.

The tree chosen was immense, rising dozens of feet into the air and having a circumference of about six feet. It had also been damaged in the past, likely in a storm, with a huge vertical gash resulting. The split was about three feet wide in the bottom, tapering slowly as it rose.

The girls managed to cram 13 of the sorority sisters into the empty space. Not to be outdone, the boys managed to fit 15 college students into the tree.

The answers to many questions raised by the event were not recorded: Did anyone get splinters? How drunk were the participants? Did this actually manage to recruit any new members? If so, why?

What is recorded is that neither the sorority nor the fraternity attempted to duplicate their feat, which gives many hints as to just how unpleasant the experience was.

Question of the night: What’s your favorite stuffed food?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.