Face-in-hole boards are a Great British seaside tradition – but where did they actually originate? Surely they started in English Victorian times during the great bathing hut and donkey ride epoch? Not so fast.
Our brains seem to be hard-wired to find it funny when a disembodied head becomes part of a fictional scene. The first time a cave dweller put their face through a hole in an animal skin to amuse the children, the first face-in-hole was born. Sadly there weren’t any cameras then, and cave paintings mostly depict hunting rather than heartwarming domestic scenes.
What more can we say? Well, some seem to think they might have an extraterrestrial origin.
We need to look to more recent times, and preferably here on Earth, to find any documented evidence.
Some theorise that the whole ‘disembodied head’ thing is linked to the French Revolution and the horrified response it got from across the Channel in the cartoons of James Gilray.
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