Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nose Bubbles
Rado Echoes

In observance of April Fool’s Day, I am sharing photographs of rare novelties from my collection. These are particularly interesting because they are featured prominently in the work of Anton Szandor LaVey.

LaVey found great wisdom where others have found mere amusement, little of interest or, in many cases, nothing at all. This is the true occult. One especially overlooked area of this realm of hidden meaning is that of the prank.

Often perpetrated against innocent friends and acquaintances, pranks are treated differently within Satanism. As LaVey said more than once, it is far more fulfilling to employ unpleasant surprises toward the balancing of egos and as a form of humorous revenge. He also discussed more than one specific gag, including a couple from the old Johnson Smith & Co. Catalogue, which is featured in the Church of Satan’s recommended reading list. LaVey called it his Necronomicon.

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On the dedication page of The Devil’s Notebook, LaVey mentions the inventor(s) of the Sneeze-O-Bubble. In Satan Speaks!, he dedicates an essay to the artful use of a rubber “nose bubble.” I have always deeply enjoyed that essay, and it has seemed to me that its subject is none other than that enigmatic Sneeze-O-Bubble.

I had the good fortune of finding this incredibly rare gag on eBay. It is a set of four bubbles, and they appear to be made of blown glass. Perhaps this is an earlier version of LaVey’s nose bubble. Either way, it is one of my most cherished possessions. I took some time to photograph it for both my own pleasure and this blog.

This is the top of the Sneeze-O-Bubble box. In the background is an open copy of the 1941 Johnson Smith & Co. Catalogue.

Opening the magnificently decorated box, one reveals the faux mucus globules and, nestled beneath them, a pink instruction sheet.

And here are the legendary bubbles themselves. What schnozzes have these delicate baubles graced in eras past? Though crystal-clear, these replicas of inflated snot are among the most mysterious relics in all Americana.

Click for a closer look!

But what good are nose bubbles if you don’t know how to use them? Study this sheet, stick a few Sneeze-O-Bubbles in your jacket pocket, and you’ll be good and ready for that next cocktail party or family gathering. Again, you should also read (or re-read) LaVey’s excellent tips and scenarios for artificial snot in “The Nose Bubble,” from Satan Speaks!

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Another sacred object I have managed to acquire is the Rado Echo Voice-Tester, which LaVey discussed in the documentary Speak of the Devil. This cruel device conceals a particularly nasty surprise. To learn more about it, see the film. It is chock-full of wisdom, including an entire segment about “practical” jokes. That’s where you’ll find an anecdote about this wicked little item.

This is the face of the “voice-tester.” The box is made of cardboard, and the old-fashioned “speaker” is made of cloth.

Here, you can clearly see the tester’s wooden button. Anyone who has seen Speak of the Devil knows what it does. Even if you haven’t, I’m sure that you get the point.

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Enjoy an impish April Fool’s Day, my mischievous readers! And remember: it’s funnier when they deserve it!


  1. Ah, the good ole' days of practical jokery.

    Hail Satan!

  2. Very amusing to be honest. Hahaha.

  3. hahaha- this was supposed to be funny. ~Anton Szandor LaVey

    ~Speak of the Devil.

  4. Proudly i am...