A History of Girl Stuff: Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board
"Light as a feather, stiff as a board" is a slumber party staple and an age-old rite of passage for teenage girls. If you haven't at least attempted to summon the powers of levitation, you're doing your sleepovers wrong. To begin, one girl lays flat on the floor while the other girls surround her, placing one or two fingers underneath her. Then all the girls chant "light as a feather, stiff as a board" over and over, as they try to lift the middle girl off the floor. Eventually, she'll be as "light as a feather" and will be easier to lift, even rising a bit on her own. It's totally real guys. But how exactly did this whole thing start?
The practice of LAAFSAAB (whoa, long abbreviation) was actually prevalent among young girls during the Great Plague of London
. A naval administrator named Samuel Pepys
saw four young girls lift a young boy who was lying straight on his back, claiming him dead. Pepys was so struck by it (aka creeped the fuck out, amirite?) that he wrote about it in his diary
Photo by Georgina Mascolo
1862: In the book The Magician's Own Book, or the Whole Art of Conjuring by Arnold George and Frank Cahill, a game of LAAFSAAB is described as having been played successfully at a large party in Venice using the heaviest man at the party. No confirmation on whether or not this was a rad slumber party.
1940: Boarding school girls were keeping the magical LAAFSAAB alive during the '40s. An English boarding school teacher who saw the game being played was recorded as saying, "Whether by self hypnosis or not I do not know...it was more like real magic than anything I have ever seen." Dude, get with the program. It IS real magic! Duh! *insert major eyeroll here*
1996: This moment in history saw the creation of the best on-screen portrayal of LAAFSAAB in the movie The Craft. The movie, which tells the story of four teenage girls who discover the powers of dark magic and witchcraft, shows how this game should really be done. Levitation rules!
Today: Girls are still playing this game at slumber parties and the like. It's crazy that girls have been playing this game since the 1600s but then again, it doesn't seem that crazy, considering how all teen girls are attracted to magic and mystery and witchcraft to begin with.