back to article 'Space Monkey' craze: Texan students 'get high' by choking each other

Kids these days don't need drugs or alcohol to have fun, according to a new study. The latest craze sweeping American youth - and thus, no doubt, British youth in due course - is "Space Monkey", aka "The Choking Game", in which thrill-seeking youngsters strangle or suffocate themselves or each other "in order to achieve a high …


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  1. P Saunders

    If this had been the craze

    when G W spent his youth cramming the Devil's Dandruff up his hooter, the world might be a very different place.

  2. Matthew Anderson

    Not really a new craze, does any one else remember doing this at school? We used to do it in teh boys toilets, either mild strangulation or by standing upright against the bog wall and have a fellow school chum press heavily against your chest until one felt giddy.

    This was some 16 years ago, god dammit i'm aging!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was in junior school in the late '70s

      and we were doing the same then. File under "Not News".

      1. Thomas 4


        When I was at secondary in the early 90s, other juvenille misanthropes were engaging in this, although the method involved hyper ventilating and use of a couple of pressure points on the skull.

        1. Seanmon


          Feckin' nutters.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Same here.. was in middle school early '80s and most lunchtimes would see a group of kids holding their breath and passing out. Great fun.

        1. h4rm0ny

          You're all kids!

          Back in ancient India we used to call it Pranayama - a fundamental part of yoga practice. Back in the Indus Valley Civilisation, we used to do it all the time. ;)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You're all kids

            No, you're all idiots.

            Most of the above comments only confirm my belief that most people are idiots. You make the last few years Darwin winners look intelligent, some of them at least showed a certain level of ingenuity.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Imagine how stupid you'd sound having to explain how you died.

              There you are, in the queue at the pearly gates and St. Peter asks, "OK my son, what lead to your unfortunate demise?".

              You reply, "Well, it was like this, it was a dull day so I fixed a jet engine onto my armchair so I could go visit my dear old mum who lives next door. I fired up and got off to a good start but then I think one of those little whirly wheels decided to go in the opposite direction to all the others, got a mind of their bloody own those things have. Anyway, all hell broke loose, everything went tits up and the next thing I know I'm here."

              "Ooo..., we haven't had one of you for quite a while, come on in", says St. Peter who then shouts, "Next, you with the blue face what happened to you"

              "Well, it was like this, it was a dull day so I fixed a plastic bag over my head for laugh, I don't remember much after that".

              St. Peter comments, "Oh God, not another fuckwit, serves you right. Get downstairs.

          2. vic 4

            RE: You're all kids

            back in my day we used to cover each others gills, pass out and float to the surface

    2. Benny

      Yep, think we called it the 'American Dream'

    3. jake Silver badge

      @Matthew Anderson

      16 years ago? Gawd/ess, but you're a youngster.

      I remember kids doing this in the early-mid 1970s (known back then as "Space Cowboy" or "California Dreaming"). My father remembers kids doing this back in the late forties ("Tingling Game"),

      From what I remember, it's an early teen boy thingie. Can't remember why, exactly. No, I never participated, nor did Dad, but we both know folks who did.

      1. Bill Fresher


        I gave it a go once, but I didn't inhale.

    4. Steve Evans


      That sounds alarming like a boys boarding school activity to me!

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Yep, I do

      I recall after a while, it ended up with a cracking bad headache, plus the effect only lasted a few minutes.

      Drugs were a much better option.

      1. CmdrX3

        Done this in the 80's and I'm sure others did it long before that. Every new generation thinks they are the first to do something that most generations before them have already done. E.g Today they sniff aerosols, in my day it was glue, lighter fluid and petrol, in my great grandfathers day it was probably something like ether.

    6. Steven Roper

      I can remember

      when I was in school back in the late 70s, we got high by hyperventilating - the kids in my school called it breathbonging. I don't remember choking ourselves though, just the heavy breathing thing.

    7. Lord Lien
      Paris Hilton

      @ Matthew Anderson.

      We used to smoke on a few Jamaican wood binds then do it. :)

      Paris because she smoked, but never inhaled ;)

    8. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      So remind me about the demise of Mr Hutchence of a certain Oz rock band fame?!

      You lot literally choking your chickens to get high, I must have missed this I was most likely up the science block during breaks doing something more useful with myself than trying to pass out for shits'n'giggles!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "every bit as dangerous as - if not more so than - traditional student pastimes such as ... a puff on a jazz cigarette"

    To my knowledge, Jazz Cigarettes have yet to cause a death by suffocation from use. Ancillary deaths I grant you some le-way on, but even donning socks is a dangerous pastime.

    Someone should tell them [the parents] about autoeroticasphyxiation, cue Christians calling for strangulation being outlawed.... oh wait....

    1. Stephen Sherry
      Thumb Up


      I was waiting for someone to bring that up, how did it take so long? :P

      1. AdamWill

        it's not half so much fun... plain old erotic asphyxiation, though. everything's better with a friend!

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Erotic Asyphyxiation

    Without the erotic? what a waste of time, it only takes 1 hand to strangle yourself!

  6. Armando 123

    Older than that

    I've heard that autoeroticasphyxiation was going on in the Fatty Arbuckle case about 90 years ago.

  7. amanfromearth


    "16 percent of students reported having played the game"

    should be

    16 percent of students reported having survived the game

  8. Andrew Moore


    Sounds suspiciously like Jenkem all over again.

    1. Ru


      And lets be honest, is this really more dangerous than Cake?

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Only if it messess with your shatners basson.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon


        You're right Ru, there are dealers up and down the country openly selling this stuff in bakeries, shops, even newsagents ffs.

        Dangers of Cake

        1. Danny 14


          One little girl cried all the water out of her body. Its a fucking disgrace.

      3. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

        Worst of all, Cake is a made up drug.

        One teenager on Cake cried himself inside-out.

        There is no evidence at all for this, but it is a scientific FACT!

        1. Andrew Moore

          One girl threw up her own pelvis bone.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Massive water retention

        If anything it will surely reduce the chance of contracting czech neck?

        1. cyborg

          I only strangle once a month

          And then it's only on a purely recreational basis.

          If you're not as middle class as me - a black or builder for example - my adivce is leave well alone.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon


            Missing link

            cake is dangerous

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is not new.

    In my day it was 'The Chair Game'. Which was considered safe to do alone. Idea was that if you passed out it removed the choke and broke your fall. I wonder if the moral outrage will drown out the real thing the kids should to learn; the difference between safe and unsafe.. and how to choose the right friends.

  10. Nev
    Thumb Up


    Isn't natural selection great!?

    1. Jimbo 6
      Thumb Up

      This is definitely a SOLUTION, not a PROBLEM.

  11. Sporkinum

    Some call me the Space Monkey, some call me the Gangster of Love.

  12. SpaMster

    How is this a new craze? people were doing this in my secondary school in 1997. Granted it wasnt straight strangling, people just breathed in and out heavily for a minute and somebody just pushed on your chest until you blacked out

    1. bitten

      In the seventies: predictable instant black out with crouched breathing followed by an Antaeus grip. And yes we had 'complications'.

  13. lee harvey osmond

    I remember that Tory MP

    I remember that Tory MP.

    When his body was found, he was found wearing women's underwear.

    But what was most unusual was that the Tory candidate at the ensuing by-election was a man. Normally after a sex scandal, Tory selection committees choose a woman, it's almost a reflex. Presumably on that occasion they asked all the prospective candidates if they'd ever worn women's underwear, and disqualified all those who said they had.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My old management team were in the 'bistro' by that MPs house having 'lunch'.

      Police sealed the area off and wouldn't let them leave, much to their delight.

  14. SoaG
    IT Angle

    Latest craze?

    I recall students being warned against this when I was in elementary school in the late '70s.

  15. Gusty O'Windflap

    take a listen

    George Carlin did a wonderful skit

  16. Syed

    Rope, Plastic Bag, Weights?...

    Nah, forget that crap - death by bulgarian airbags! If you're gonna do something, do it right.

    Also re: the ones that departed this life - good - evolution wins again!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Amen to that!

  17. envmod

    i got well done for this at school innit

    many moons ago when i was a new boy at a new school, i introduced a fainting craze from my previous school that earned me several cool points and likely put an end to the daily abuse....

    it involved somebody purposely hyperventiating for a couple of minutes, then talking a deep breath, standing up against a wall with your arms crossed over your chest and having your mate push onto your chest as hard as he could until you fainted.

    you woke up rolling around on the floor after a few seconds feeling "high". the kids loved it.

    so the point is - i invented this and want some bloody recognition.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ... if you don't have one you missed out, I believe the US system would accept one if you put an application in. Then you can sue people to your hearts content, although I'd avoid sueing those that didn't 'win' the game, might cause some bad publicity ;-)

    2. h4rm0ny

      "so the point is - i invented this and want some bloody recognition"

      *Points and screeches* Copyright supporter! Burn her! Burn her! She turned me into Newt Gingrich!

  18. Paul Bristow


    Isn't this "problem" likely to solve itself through darwinian selection if we just leave it alone?

    1. Oninoshiko

      Clearly not

      As reports on this vary forum date the practice to at least the 70's.

  19. Bgfreeman

    Evolution in Action.

  20. Mike Hopkins
    IT Angle

    Nothing new here....

    This used to be the normal lunch time game at school that we used to play, when we weren't finding inventive ways to terrorise our alcoholic teachers.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Several reported deaths

    Some years ago, there was a rash of people dying in odd auto-erotic asphyxiation incidents, all of whom (strangely) had somehow managed to annoy the British secret intelligence services. One of them, I seem to remember, died while hanging by the neck in his septic tank, suspended from the handle of a garden roller.

    Beat that, as you might say

  22. SW

    Another way for the 'merkans' to speed up the complete demise of the human race (or most likely the western hemisphere).

    As per El Reg standards I think I'll go on with the tried and tested way of deleting brain cells by way of good old alcohol, at least that way I guess I'm helping the economy through my purchase and taxation of it.

  23. Alan 6

    Ai no korîda

    It's a major plot element of this film

    Michael Hutchence was a big fan as well...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      why is that 'i' wearing a hat? is it raining?

      Don't forget John Carradine. He won the game too.

      1. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

        David Carradine?


      2. Alan 6


        No idea if it's raining.

        The film is Japanese, but was made by a French company, and there's several spellings of the title, it is sometimes referred to by the closest English translation "In The Realm Of The Senses".

        It's probably the strongest non-pron film ever made, although Shortbus probably comes close...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a teenager...

    ...I quite frequently used to make myself feel good by "choking it".

  25. Identity

    A few fewer Texans

    Not necessarily a bad thing!

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. g e

    Yet again

    Darwin intervenes where health systems artificially preserve life which without intervention Nature would otherwise have left stillborn...

    Balance shall be restored!

  28. Big Al

    Criminal Minds

    Teens playing a strangulation game involving nooses to achieve a legal high formed the basis of 'Risky Business', Episode 5.13 of the series Criminal Minds -

  29. Conrad Longmore

    You owe me a new keyboard..

    ..for "generally as part of a cheery group event with pals rather than as a solo Tory-MP-style experience."

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One can only hope they die

    Obviously this is an effective means to cleanse the gene pool.

  31. It'sa Mea... Mario

    As many have pointed out...

    ...this is not new... by several decades, not that it is something I've ever fancied trying.

    If only there was a harmless, natural, plant like sustance that could provide a high with minimal or even no risk* and has a recorded history of being used for millenia.. oh hang on, I think... ahh shoot.. nevermind somebody put a bloody ridiculous law in the way of that one.

    *no risk if vaporized or eaten

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously now, a few 'Jazz Cigarettes' and who's going to care about doing this?

    If a teenage child of mine was sent home for doing this I'd kick them straight back out again - to Brixton High Street to get the proper stuff, then there would be a lesson in how we do things *in this house*

  33. Ralph B

    What goes around ... brought us The Social Network (2010). Perhaps Flatliners (1990) will bring us (Already registered and delivering the oddly appropriate message: "Partir, c'est toujours un peu mourir".)

  34. Framitz

    New? What?

    Nothing at all new here.

    Most of us saw or did this in grade school and out grew it long ago.

    Folks behind the survey must have been raised in a closet or something, causing them to have the intelligence of a fungus.

  35. Glenn Amspaugh

    Whatever happened to...

    ...huffing fermenting sewage? Now those kids were hardcore.

  36. Argh

    Am I the only one who thinks that this sounds like a story from Brasseye, especially with the name "Space Monkey"?

    All those kids out there, taking cake....

    1. wayne 8

      Fight Club? Project Mayhem?

      space monkeys

  37. thechevron

    what sub-heading of tech news does this story come under? What is this, the Daily Mail?

  38. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    The real news story is:

    Texan teenagers think they're oh-so-clever having discovered a cheap and accessible way to induce a different state of (un)consciousness...

    Plano student, Spanky Cowpoke: "Urrr, yah, it's a cool game which, yes, yes, which I invented. Thank you, thank you."

    Later: A special report from Vatican City where rumours abound that the Pope has adopted Catholicism as his preferred faith.

    Breaking news: We go over to our reporter in the field, live on the scene as a bear is seen shitting in the woods.

    Solvent abuse is so passé.

    Apnea: the drug of a new generation. "Who needs oxygen?"

  39. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge



    a) I just have to say, Texas is the most redneck-filled, screwed up state in the country. And anything you read about Texas (fried butter, almost everyone carrying guns at all times, etc.) does not represent the rest of the US.

    b) I've never heard of this... At my high school, if people wanted to get high they just smoked some weed (disclaimer, I am a giant nerd and did not partake). We even had a rastafarian teacher there. They did have to go out to the parking lot, but other than that the teachers and administration looked the other way. It actually worked well, the students that otherwise would have skipped classes, and maybe over time some would have drifted to harder drugs, would instead have their toke and go to class... our school did very well academically, even the stoners.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Women's Underwear

    "But what was most unusual was that the Tory candidate at the ensuing by-election was a man. Normally after a sex scandal, Tory selection committees choose a woman, it's almost a reflex. Presumably on that occasion they asked all the prospective candidates if they'd ever worn women's underwear, and disqualified all those who said they had."

    So y'all elect only women who don't wear underwear (e.g., "going commando")? Or, do you also elect women who wear men's underwear?

    Da...err, no, wait, I'm not putting my name on this one!

    P.S. Mine's the one with the underwear in the pocket.

  41. toadwarrior

    They should read up on David Carradine to find out how the choking game can end.

  42. sisk


    This was a huge craze when I was in middle school 20 years ago, and I don't think I've gone more than a year since then without hearing about the 'new' craze of the choking game. Surely after sweeping the country for the last 20 years it's not new anymore.

  43. Mage

    People did this to other people

    The one that fell on floor and got kicking didn't see the thrill value. The ones doing the kicking got the thrill.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Just wait

    till the Daily Fail gets hold of this, or. better yet, The Sun and immediatly calls for a ban on oxygen...

  45. John P

    May I suggest we leave them to get on with it. Seems to me that the gene pool would be better off without any polluting contributions from these fecking idiots!

  46. Graham Wilson

    Perhaps it's an exercise by sociologists to raise the average IQ level.

    Those who've room-temperature IQs and snuff it will leave the average population IQ somewhat higher.

    Perhaps the gene pool's better off without them!

    Corollary: Is this what happens after 50, 60 or 70 years of mainstream sociology? Perhaps it's the sociologists who ought to be first up against the wall.

    (In my next life I hope to hell I'm not reincarnated as a native English speaker. In this culture it seems the degenerates are almost fully in control now.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pendant alert

      You can't raise the average population IQ, because by definition the average is 100.

      You can raise the average intelligence, but the average person (who would now be more intelligent that a prior average peoson) will still have an IQ of 100.

      Ironically, this game will technically lower the IQ of all non-participants. If the average moves up, but you personally don't change, you will decrease relative to the average.

      1. cordwainer 1


        So, if I understand correctly, the individual's IQ is affixed to a chain in such a way it can be moved up and down as an ornamental representation of current intelligence?

    2. wayne 8

      Degenerates speak languages other than English, ya know.

      What a dweeb.

  47. Local Group

    I almost died from choking myself.

    It was when swallowing goldfish came back in the '60s. I got one that was too big and its dorsal fin caught on my pharynx.

    I saw the white light.

  48. Wombling_Free
    Thumb Up

    Can an entire country win a Darwin Award?

    Because the entire state of Texas just nominated itself.

    Well done Texas! Keep up the good work!

    Remember - these kiddies are going to meet GOD much earlier, and thats a great thing for EVERYONE.

    Like Mies Van Der Rohe said: Less is More - this is especially true of Texans.

  49. Peter X

    "parents are warned to keep an eye out for telltale signs that their kids might be indulging in it."

    What like turning blue? Or is that too late?

  50. bag o' spanners
    Paris Hilton

    a couple of inner forearms gently pressed into the neck arteries of a sweet young thang is a much better hit for all concerned.. Breathplay tends to turn into deathplay as soon as it goes solo.

    Asphy is the reduction of bloodflow to the noggin.

    Easily confused by idiots.

    Paris: cos I'd help her with the teethproof poly bag and fifteen laccy bands

  51. MrDamage Silver badge


    If you forcibly strangle someone who was to scared to play the game, does that mean you were choking the chicken?

    ...I'll get my coat.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dammnit Kids

    Damnit you kids, just smoke dope, that stuff wont kill you!

  53. Chris 228

    It's all good, really

    We have tremendous over-population so if a few people want to off themselves to help out, it's fine by me. A report last week showed that pedestrians with headphones on that are killed walking in front of cars has increased by 300% so that's another help, but the headphones of course are lost as a result.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe there is a market for second hand headphones. Slightly scratched, minor stain.

  54. Magnus_Pym

    Two seperate threads

    There appear to be two completely separate threads here. One set says 'yeah, yeah, we all did this as kids years decades ago' and the other says ' kids nowadays huh! They're all so dumb. Not like when we were kids'

    1. wayne 8


      There is a gap because kids in the 80s and 90s were really lame. Might have had something to do with the introduction of soccer as a mainstream activity. And not keeping score.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    old news again new news

    My older bother and his cohorts were doing this way back in 1961. A guy would blow all of his air out and a helper guy would grab the first guy around the chest and lift him off the ground until the first guy blacked out. Hmmm, he is bipolar now.

  56. Winkypop Silver badge

    What's wrong with the old school methods?

    Scotch + Weed + Pink Floyd album

    The kids today, eh?

  57. Slabfondler

    One of the early ones..

    was Vaughn Bodé - the artist who penned the fascinating (to young men such as me at the time) Cheech Wizard comic which appeared in National Lampoon. He told his son he saw god, then tried again and died.

    Fail, 'cause there is no undo button if you do it wrong.

  58. Martin Maloney

    OK, OK, so it's an old one

    Stu and Artie are loitering outside their local A&P. To break the boredom, Stu challenges his friend -- "I'll give you a dollar to choke the next three blokes who come by."

    Artie puts the first guy into a choke hold, snaps his windpipe, and the guy falls to the ground, dead. The same with the next two.

    An outraged citizen calls the cops, who arrest the assailant.

    The headline in the next morning's paper read, "Artie chokes three for a dollar at A&P."

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in my day

    In my day we just good old fashioned heroin and weed, sometime a little acid or ketamine. I don't know the youth of today .. its sad they are missing out on all the fun thing we used to do. Cant even get qualudes any more. I think kids need to go back to the old glory days and take drugs and have group sex with hairy women.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spanking the Monkey was much more popular

    ... in my time at school, back in the 60s. If you were lucky, you could get together as a group and give each other a hand....

    Much nicer, safer, and interesting then this strangulation malarkey, I think.

  61. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Damn lazy kids

    I've never needed asphyxiation or intoxicants to feel euphoric. I just breath my own heady air of insufferable moral superiority.

  62. Eugene Goodrich

    Why do this? "Because it makes your orgasms feel super awesome."

    Don't forget the BatMan costume.

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