Welcome back to my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction riffing on the Popular Mechanics article “Safe Fun For Halloween”. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link, as I finish posting it over the month. And you can read all the MiSTings that I’ve posted here at this link.
In Part 1 the author suggested a fun thing for your Halloween party is have your guests submit their fingerprints. But it’s not just the fun of a simulated arrest: the ink pad’s to be rigged up to give electric shocks! The author swears this is “surprising but not harmful”. If that isn’t fun enough for you, just read on …
> To offset suspicion, it is a good idea to place
> the left-hand electrode under a tablecloth.
TOM: Plus, the tablecloth helps you cover up the fried corpse.
> Direct contact with
> the metal is not necessary.
CROW: Just ramp it up to 186,000 volts there, Tesla.
> A long strip of metal along the
> edge of the table is better than a small plate
MIKE: As it’s a much easier cudgel to wave about.
> as any one seated
> at the table naturally rests the left hand somewhere along the
TOM: [ In a nerdy voice, as the Victim ] “Do you electrocutify *all* your friends?” [ Whimper ]
> Another shocking episode, which may take place right on the
> “welcome” mat,
MIKE: [ Making air quotes ] “Welcome” mat.
TOM: No solicitors or emergency medical technicians. Thank you.
> is shaking hands with the “ghost host” who is
> a head taller than anyone in the party. See Figure 11.
CROW: Figures 2 through 10 omitted for the giddy fun of it.
> stands near the entrance and extends his hand to the guest who
TOM: … who foolishly came to the party not expecting to struggle for his life.
> takes hold of a cloth glove having four wiggly coil-spring
MIKE: Ah, the Six Dollar And Thirty-Nine Cent Man.
CROW: Hey, in the Depression that was a lot of money.
> These and a metal door mat are the electrodes, and are
> connected to a vibrating coil or a toy shocking machine operated
> by someone behind the ghost.
TOM: I just think it indecent this is how they killed Bruno Hauptmann.
> The ghost has pearly eyes, which
> look as if they were suspended in void space of an empty hood.
CROW: [ As the Victim ] “I’m haunted by Muppets!”
> The next job to get the records straight is mugging.
MIKE: First, fashion your brass knuckles and find a stick as in Figure 24.
> This is
> done in a semidarkened room with a cardboard camera as in Figure
CROW: A cardboard camera?
TOM: Yeah, my kid made it in second-grade art class. You get a Polaroid from it by drawing with magic markers.
> The startling effect comes when the light is suddenly
> flashed and a cap pistol is fired at the same instant.
MIKE: Ha ha! Now you’ve shot your friend in the face!
> this, everything tried on the newcomer will be looked upon with
> great suspicion
CROW: [ As the Victim ] “Well, the mugging and the electrocution may have been accidents but *now* I suspect something’s up.”
> but he may be convinced to observe Mars without
> a shock or a scare.
TOM: Yeah, heck, why not?
MIKE: In the 30s you could not lose money asking people to observe Mars.
> He will actually see something through the
> enchanted telescope, pictured in Figure 3.
CROW: Now we’re on Figure 3?
MIKE: The “enchanted telescope”.
TOM: [ As the Victim ] “Are we entering your magic fantasy land?”
> When the star gazer
> first puts it to his eye he sees nothing, and is told to revolve
> it until he does.
MIKE: Ooh hoo.
TOM: I smell the bubbling-over of wacky.
> The eyepiece has a felt rim dipped in
> lampblack, which leaves an interesting ring around the eye.
MIKE: Yeah, you know, so you don’t have those pesky “bright” lights.
> However, the victim has his reward for with one complete
> revolution of the telescope,
TOM: I have the sad feeling this isn’t just gonna be a ring around the eyeball.
CROW: I’m stuck on ‘lampblack’ still.
MIKE: It’s for offensive minstrel show light bulbs. Move on.
> a swinging switch lever makes
TOM: Well, of *course* it does.
> and a small light inside reveals a witch or comic
MIKE: And a 75,000-volt discharge right into the corneas!
> To make the telescope, use a mailing tube about 14
> inches long and 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
CROW: Like the dozens you have around your house already.
> Cardboard partitions
> hold the lamp bulb and the revolving switch, which are joined by
> a copper strip.
MIKE: Won’t they notice the little witch figure hanging off the front of the telescope?
> The switch must work freely. By making the
> tube in two parts, the assembly is easy.
TOM: Would it be even easier if I made it in four parts?
CROW: No! That way lies madness!
> Paper wrapped around
> it completes the joint. Four bands of black paper are wrapped
> around the telescope to make the sooty eyepiece less
MIKE: The lampblack doesn’t seem to be an important part of this.
[ To continue … ]