Swallowing Goldfish Alive: The Ivy League University Challenge Of The 1930s

Because it sounds like such a normal thing to do.

They are internally screaming "Don't take me to Harvard!" Image ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Nowadays, we have things like the Ice Bucket challenge, where people try to raise awareness of rare diseases. But there was a time when weirder things happened, and not exactly to raise money.

We are talking about eating live fish. For real. And it was done is one of the most prestigious places in the world, Harvard.

Absolutely disgusting Image Bettmann

It all started in the late 1930s, and everywhere in the prestigious university, students were encouraged to eat the goldfish, alive and kicking. You wanted to be class president? Eat the fish. You were trying to be part of the football team? Eat the fish. You were bored on a Friday night with your friends? Eat the fish!

People are stupid Image Bettmann

Forget about filming viral videos of your mate jumping into a swimming pool from a window, these poor goldfish were the thing to be seen swallowing alive.

One of the freshmen of 1939, Lothrop Withington, was observed by a crowd of new students as he grabbed three victims from a fishbowl and then swallowed them whole. Just your average Tuesday.

Lothrop swallowing a goldfish in front of his friends Image Life Magazine Archives

It became the biggest fad, with students trying to outdo each other, betting on who could eat the most in one sitting. Other universities joined in. At one point, a student from Clark University ate 89 goldfish.

So next time we see some stupid kid trying to put his head inside a condom for an online challenge, at least we know that is not the most moronic thing that has ever been done.

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