The Elephant Walk

So this is an initiation ascribed to no fraternity in particular retold by a informant who neither experienced it as a pledge nor heard it from a direct participant.

“Everyone gets in a circle

And then you have to put your thumb up the guy in front of you’s ass. And it’s like…brotherhood.

I heard this from a friend. He was like, ‘Don’t do a frat man, they’ll make you do the elephant walk.’ ”

Although my informant maintained that this story “had been well documented” I suggest that even if it is true its indiscriminate spread is more than anything an attempted deterrent for joining fraternities.  Despite the fact that they are supposed to be secret, many stories circulate about initiations and other greek system rituals. Some of these contribute to a greater sense of mystery and lore that attracts many people to the system. There are also definitely dedicated to warning about ever joining. Stories of initiation such as this one are great at revealing what people may have to endure during hazing, whether or not it is true. However, the most important reason for telling it is not a truthful depiction but voicing a disapproval of joining to others.