Virginia Tech® home

The Book of the Haircutites

Just before the turn of the last century, in 1897, a new tradition at V.P.I. came about, when members of the sophomore class determined that it was time to put the freshmen, the "rats," in their place. The first chapter of "The Acts of the Haircutites" documents this action, as recorded in the 1897 Bugle. The group was dormant (or actions went unrecorded) until the second chapter of "The Acts" was recorded in the 1902 Bugle. The last recorded action of "The Haircutites" was in the 1908 Bugle along with a mention in the class history that indicates why the group may have gone out of (recorded) existence:

On May 11, Field Day exercises were held for the first time in several years and proved a great success.

About this time the "Rats" became unusually "fresh," and something had to be done. So one night about twenty Sophomores, armed with scissors and clippers, went through barracks to give the "Rats" a free haircut. However, the Majors were too easily awakened, and, before the haircutting could be completed, they were upon the campus with their searchlights. So there was nothing left for the "barbers" to do but to make for their "hays." From that time until June, the "Searchlight Brigade" was upon the campus at all hours of the night. On account of this the haircutting was never resumed, much to the regret (?) of the "Rats," who had escaped the first time.
(1908 Bugle, pg. 67)

Here, then, are "The Acts of the Haircutites" in verbatim translations of their works.


  1. Now it came to pass on the evening before the morning of the twenty-second day of the month called Feb that certain of the tribe Yclept Jessejamesgang did arise and smite upon their breasts, saying;
  2. Letsgetamoveon. Behold, are not the rhats equal everyone unto an oldbhoy. Do they not talk big and with great assurance so that strangers think they are oldbhoys with little sense?
  3. Therefore let us humble them before all the people, even the prophets which call themselves Fackelty.
  4. Then arose a certain Jounyour named Polemaniah, which is Jessejames, saying: Throughligaritobacelamisalicorwrapholaxicalicoandgotoell, which means, I have it.
  5. And all his followers shouted unto him, saying: Verily, thou hast it. Speak the thing that thou hast that we may go and do it.
  6. And Polemaniah said: Let us cut off all their hair with the instrument of iron called clippers, that they may be even as bald headed as Dok Ter Oop, which is called Ring Tail.
  7. And the others answered: Verily thou art hot tomalies. We will do thy thing.
  8. So they sent servants unto the children called rhats, bidding them unto the tent of one Camel, the Haircutite.
  9. And many came unto the hair cutting, and when they were shorn of their locks they went away, saying, Itscoldasell.
  10. And a certain rhat which is the Jumboite strengthened his arms against the Jessejamesgang, and when they would prevail against him he walked away with a pine door hanging round about him.
  11. But Polemaniah and Kingariah and their followers pursued the Jumboite even unto his tent, and there they prevailed against him and all his forces.
  12. And when seven men had sat upon his legs and seven upon his arms and seven upon his body they did cut the hair close to his head, and he became weak even like unto a suckling baby, and did cry. Selah!
  13. And all the children of Poly Tek laughed and made merry, but the Jumboite wept many days.
  14. ¶ Now when Prexie the Great heard these things he was very wroth, and he called his servants, the prophets, unto him secretly into Fackeltymeeting, and opened his mouth before them, saying:
  15. Behold, have we not always kept on our right hand the children that are new in the land of Poly Tek, and decreed that not a hair of their heads shall be injured?
  16. Therefore, behold this evil thing that has been done. Verily our laws have been set at naught and our children humbled before us.
  17. Let us therefore visit the oldbhoys with the wrath of our displeasure. Verily let the chief offenders be sent forever into the land of their fathers.
  18. But a certain prophet which is Prich Hard the Electrolite did arise before Prexie the Great, saying, O king, live forever.
  19. Verily, in our sight these men are not worthy of the death. This looks to us like hotrocks, for the rhats surely have been freshasell.
  20. Therefore do they deserve to be humbled, that they may know that the oldbhoys are mightier than they.
  21. Then was Prexie the Great very wroth against Prich Hard the Electrolite, and commanded him, saying:
  22. Depart from me, for thou art truly no friend of my children that are called the rhats.
  23. So the Electrolite went out from the council chamber of Prexie the Great, and these things were noised throughout all the land of Poly Tek.
  24. Anel the children of Poly Tek praised the prophet Prich Hard the Electrolite for his wisdom and his courage, saying: Verily, he is hotstuffroxie.
  25. And others of the prophets made merry among themselves, saying: Behold, is not this a fine Jo Ache? Lulapolula.
  26. But the Jessejamesgang was punished by admonishments and by being compelled to wear a tight garment called strictprobation.
  27. And the men punished were these: Kingariah the Cutite, Poehlmauiah the Clipite, Starke the Holdite, Cox the Fetchite, and Her Bert the Trimite.

(1897 Bugle, pp. 182-83)

Chapter II.*

  1. An lo, during the night of the eighteenth day of the second month, of the year nineteen hundred and two, there again arose in the peaceful land of the Polytechs, the mighty band of Haircutites. †
  2. Arose did they, as do the locusts, and they smote upon their breasts and cried out in voices loud and in great tumult, saying:
  3. "Are not the Rhats again growing as Freshasell, as did they in the time of our forefathers?"
  4. And forsooth with one accord they did make answer, "Ellyes," which is, "Truly, they wax as thou sayest."
  5. Straightway after these marvelous words had been uttered, a council was called, and the Cutites went nigh unto their temple to worship, which is hard by the Cave of Death.
  6. So it came to pass that the secret council was held, the owl did screech, the bones of the dead arose, the earth trembled, but the Elders, Mateo, Drakeus, Stepheus, and Musius slept, for they knew not what was to be, and Adolphus the Magnus turned upon his couch and yawned.
  7. And in the castle of the great ruler the watch dog barked, but the moon did shine bright.
  8. Now while these sages slept, the gigantic host of the worshippers of the scissors were active.
  9. Yea, active were they as are the fires of the lower regions.
  10. From tent to tent went they, and did visit the dammrhats, which is the new students, which had waxed fresh, into the soul of the old bhoys.
  11. For it was said in the cave that the hair was to be cut from the heads of the Rhats, and truly was this stunt done.
  12. The Cutites went unto the tents, and entered therein, and awoke the Rhat and spake unto him, so that his bones did tremble.
  13. But truly he had been bad and fresh, and now had his time come, and he did yell and yelllikehell, that the pledge of the Rhooters might be fulfilled.
  14. Thus as the Rhat did yell, the worshippers of the scissors came upon him and took from his head thrice three score and twenty hairs.
  15. And as he lay prostrated before the Cutites a wee small voice spake unto him, saying words of wisdom.
  16. Such as, "Let calmness upon you come or Hellsfirewewillcutyourearsoff," which is, "I will comfort you."
  17. Thus spake the Knights of the Clippers unto the Rhats, and verily did they come to rest.
  18. And verily did it come to pass that the hair was cut and the old boys did rejoice.
  19. And as a sacrifice to the goddess Sissorea, did they heap upon the parade ground the sandals of the Rhats.
  20. When the humbled children saw these things they did call on the prophet Mateo, but he was asleep, and heard not their cry and came not.
  21. Neither came the Corpulus of the Guard, as he was chained, and the Sergeant of the guard was sick, nigh unto death, and came not.
  22. So were the unwise Rhats made humble—humbled were they as age maketh man's hair to fall out, and he doth proceed among his fellows baldheaded.
  23. And about this time the moon hid her face and darkness settled upon the land.
  24. So passed the eventful night and with it did vanish the Haircutites.
  25. And the morning of the next day did dawn, the sun arose in his glory and yea verily was the land in uproar.
  26. And upon the parade ground, the Rhats did scrap with each other in order to find their sandals.
  27. But according to the law, all strife was laid aside, because unto the temple of Polytech or the chapel they wore marched, and there they did worship.
  28. Now it came to pass that Prexie and his elders knew not what had taken place, and when his new children came before him and his men they were amazed, and among themselves did they grow sad.
  29. Prexie wept.
  30. But as they were in the temple naught was said, so after the ceremony each and every man did leave the synagogue and did return unto his tent.
  31. Now about this hour, which was the steenth or the 9th hour, Mateo, Drakeus and others of the watch did wake.
  32. And when they saw that which had during the night happened they grew afraid and bad, and sad did they feel.
  33. For verily they were like unto stringed instruments that had been played upon at night.
  34. And when they were fully awake and did find that they bad been played upon did they hold a council.
  35. And the chief of the watchers spake to his followers, saying, "I know them all, a clue have I," which is, "verily the Haircutites have worked upon us a trick, but we must punish them."
  36. Then they held a secret meeting and they did think of many clues, and Musius, who was wise, looked unto Stepheus and he unto Drakeus and he unto Mateo, but they could find naught.
  37. Then disheartened, they went unto the tent of the great Militarius Scribus, and they did find him seated before his desk, and he, too, was red with anger.
  38. Then did Adolphus assemble unto him his assistants, and they were at sea, as unto them the trick of the night appeared asslickashell.
  39. And when he heard that his Sergeant of the Guard was sick and the Corpulus chained, he did to himself call them, and did say, "Imustgetevenwithsomeone for this," and then did he humble these just ones.
  40. So it came to pass that Sallius and Lionus were humbled, and from them was cut their insigna, which was of gold.
  41. After this was done did Adolphus again speak unto his "Majors and Minors" in a voice full of compassion, for he pitied them, for 'twas seen that the worshippers of the Clippius had outwitted them.
  42. And after gaining what knowledge he could from these, which was nigh unto naught, he then arose and went unto the King Prexie.
  43. And when Prexie saw him, he commanded his servant to approach; he became calm, and together did they reason.
  44. And Adolphus did bring many clues unto Prexie as gifts, and upon these clues were the names of many old boys.
  45. But our king was a just man and he thought naught of the clues, as he knew that his watchers had slept during the night and knew nothing.
  46. So he caused himself to be alone. Then did he call unto him his servant, a "barrack orderly," and had him to go forth and summon unto him the different rulers of the different classes of the land.
  47. And when these Presidents did appear before him he did speak unto them, telling them to have meetings, and to investigate those men to know if among them were Cutites.
  48. And the study of Academic was put aside and all did look for Cutites, but they found none in their midst.
  49. Then were the guards, Mateo and all, questioned, but theywerelayingin the night before, and were dumb.
  50. So after all these things were done, and many other such affairs, were there four large committees appointed, representing the four tribes that inhabit the land of Polytechs.
  51. And unto Prexie did they send messages assuring him that not again during this year would the hair be cut.
  52. Then when the Faculty and all heard these things they did rejoice, and the old bhoys did make merry and cry Selah.
  53. And so it came to pass that the god and goddess Clippi became satisfied, as well had they feasted upon the hair of the Damrhat, and they went again for a season to rest.
  54. So was freshness again put away in the kingdom of Polytech, and so were the unwise rhats punished and humbled, and again peace did reign.
  55. And many of the old bhoys did cry, Selah, "verilywillwecutitnextyear," which is, "the will of Clippi and Scissors shall be done."
  56. And among all there was rejoicing, because of the success of the reign of the mighty Cutites.
  57. So endeth the second lesson.

*NOTE: Chapter I. of the Acts of the Haircutites did appear in the '97 issue of the BUGLE, and here we may remark en passant that other chapters will appear in the future issues, but no authentic date can be given, as the worshippers of the god Clippi or Scissera scorn the Gregorian and Julian calendars, their feasts being celebrated according to the Plutonian scale or calendar delivered unto them by the prophet Selah.

† A secret order of scribes, the meeting place being in Skeleton Cave.

(1902 Bugle, pp. 131-33)

The class histories in the 1902 Bugle for the freshmen and seniors both noted the activity on that February night.

Freshman History

Another date long to be remembered is February 18th. It was on that night, while all were resting peacefully in the arms of "Morpheus," there appeared to each of us a terrible nightmare, culminating in a surprising reality. It was that of a body of men, not armed with flaming swords and terrible banners, but with a woman's weapon, the scissors. This was the little instrument that proved in this case to be mightier than either the pen or the sword. Thus was the foundation laid for what might be known as the second story of the ''Rape of the Lock."

Senior History

After the intermediates it was noticed that the rats had grown exceeding "fresh," and on the night of February 18th they were relieved of such superfluous locks as they possessed. Strange to say, the faculty did not fully appreciate the kind intentions of the upper classes, and were greatly grieved, and demanded that the Senior class investigate the charges against certain of their number. However, all were triumphantly acquitted from lack of charge or evidence, and peace reigned once more.

Last Chapter of the Haircutites

  1. And lo, it came to pass that in the thirteenth year of the reign of Prexie the Great, in the land of the Poly Teks, that the Rhats waxed freshasell.
  2. Then it was that the mighty ones among the Sophites, who were the descendants of the ancient band of Haircutites, assembled, and in solemn conclave, it was decided that the time was ripe for the Rhats to be shorn of their locks, as had been done in the days of our forefathers.
  3. So it came to pass that on the night of the eighteenth day of the fifth month of the year nineteen hundred and six, that the Haircutites did gather together, fully armed with the weapons sacred to the god and goddess, Clippi and Scissora.
  4. And all who assembled were arrayed in such raiments as had never been seen before in the land of the Poly Teks.
  5. The mighty Chief of the Haircutites did then divide his band into Cutites, Holdites and Watchites.
  6. The Cutites were to relieve the Rhats of the mass of filaments which grew upon the uppermost part of their heads. The Holdites were to quiet the Rhats and speak words of wisdom unto them. The Watchites were to be on guard so as to warn the Cutites and Holdites of the approach of the Watchdogs: Mateo, Stepheus, Chuckius and Adolphus.
  7. Then did the Cutites and Holdites enter into a camp of the Rhats which was nigh unto Acad Emic No. I., and the Watchites did watch before the tents of Adolphus, Stepheus, Chuckius and Mateo.
  8. And the Cutites and Holdites did enter into the tent of every Rhat and spake unto them saying: "Keepdarn still or we will knokthehelloutofyou," which is, "Calm thyself."
  9. And the Rhats were sore afraid and their bones did tremble, and their hair did rise on end. But the Holdites did seize them and the Cutites did remove the hair from their heads, and they were dumb like unto sheep before the shearer.
  10. But when the mighty ones did enter into the camp which was hard by the Scien Cehall, there was a great noise like unto the falling of a great tree.
  11. And straightway did appear the Darnbigfour: Adolphus, Stepheus, Chuckius and Mateo, with great torches and armed with terrible weapons, known as Strictprobation, Shipment, and Demeritus.
  12. So, then did the Haircutites gather in battle array, but the Bigfour dare not approach, for they were sore afraid.
  13. Then the Haircutites did hold a council of war, for they were madasell (i. e., vexed) and they did say in loud voices: "Let the Darnfreaks come nigh unto us and we will cut their Darnearsoff and beatthedickens out of them."
  14. But they came not unto the Haircutites but entered into the camp of the Oldboys.
  15. Then were the Haircutites forced to depart for their tents, and when the Majors and Minors did come into their tents, they were sleeping peacefully, like unto new-born babes.
  16. And thus were the Darnrhats made humble before the Oldboys and meek like unto sheep.
  17. And the next day was there a great tumult in the land of the Poly Teks, for the Oldboys did praise the Haircutites, but the Fackelty did raisethedevil.
  18. For seven days and seven nights did the Bigfour watch the tents of the Oldboys, and hunted around with their searchlites, but not a Cutite, nor Holdite, nor Watchite did they find, for were not the Haircutites slickasell?
  19. But a mighty war called Exam Inashuns was night at hand, and the Sophites had to bonelikethemischief, for if they were victorious in this war, they would then be Jounyours and no longer Sophites.
  20. From this time until Vake Achion were no more Haircutites seen, and peace reigned in the land of the Poly Teks.

(1908 Bugle, pp. 70-71)